Climate change policy was the biggest challenge Ralph Goodale faced in his 26 years as a member of Parliament.
In an interview with Global News’ Colton Praill, Goodale said it was difficult to balance both the development of the resource economy and the fight against climate change.
“Climate change is very important to an agriculture province like Saskatchewan. We don’t need more expensive droughts and floods to complicate the lives of farmers and others,” Goodale said. “And at the same time, we have to figure out how we as a resource economy — that’s very dependent on exports — can participate in the climate change solutions that keep our economy viable and successful.”
Finding the right balance between the two will be a challenge the province will continue to face, said Goodale.
Goodale lost his Regina-Wascana seat in the last election to Conservative Michael Kram during a campaign that stood out.
“There was an overtaking of the whole campaign with feelings of anger, fear and love, and hatred underneath the surface,” Goodale said.
“It was a tremendously emotional campaign, and whatever policy issue or platform commitment you wanted to make, it just would not penetrate that very ingrained feeling, and it had its consequences obviously.”
However, the former MP who served as a cabinet minister under three Canadian prime ministers still has Saskatchewan’s best interest in mind.
He said the Liberal government needs to do a lot of intensive listening, needs to make sure the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion is completed in the shortest possible time and that farmers are taken care of while not compromising the fight against climate change.
“There are critical Western priorities that the government of Canada will have to respond to in a sensitive and sympathetic way,” Goodale said.
One of those things was the extra costs some farmers had to bear from imposing the carbon tax on a difficult harvest year.
“The government of Canada needs to show sensitivity, and flexibility, and support to help farmers bear those costs and get through that particular problem.”
He would like to see the Liberals implement stronger business risk management programs for farmers when there are harvest disasters and trade disruptions. Additionally, he wants to see the fiscal stabilization program updated.
“Canada is a very challenging country. It’s big, it difficult to govern, it’s diverse, it takes a lot of work to achieve cohesion and inclusion amidst this diversity,” Goodale said. “But, this nation is a remarkable success story and historically that is because we have been willing to reach out, build something better than ourselves together, to create something larger and more successful.”
Since losing his seat, Goodale has had conversations with people in business, in law, in the academic community as well as government and international affairs.
Although he hasn’t made a decision on what he wants to do next, he does know he wants to continue to add value.
“I’d like to make whatever valuable contribution I can make to the future of the province and the country,” Goodale said.
“I have no specific plans at the moment but I’m thinking through the options and the opportunities and I’ll make a decision sometime in the new year.”