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NDP leadership hopeful Anjali Appadurai promises free transit, freeze on fossil fuel extraction

Anjali Appadurai is now in the running to become the next leader of the BC NDP. Global News

BC NDP leadership hopeful Anjali Appadurai is promising a sweeping climate action plan including free transit in urban centres, an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel extraction permits and a new oil and gas excess profits tax.

Appadurai’s application to run in the BC NDP leadership is still being reviewed by the party.

The party is expected to make a decision by Wednesday about whether Appadurai will be able to challenge David Eby to replace Premier John Horgan.

Appadurai, a climate activist and campaigner, developed the Healthy Climate plan with dozens of climate policy experts, ecologists, economists, Indigenous leaders, and grassroots activists.

Click to play video: 'Focus BC: BC NDP leadership race'
Focus BC: BC NDP leadership race

“It’s hard to imagine the world we are leaving for future generations if we do not act with urgency to tackle the definitive struggle of our time: the climate emergency,” Appadurai said.

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“Getting here was a series of policy choices — and now we can make different choices that are bolder, more ambitious, and driven by a need for collective, emergency-level action.”

The plan includes a green job guarantee program to ensure a unionized job to anyone who needs one.

Click to play video: 'Anjali Appadurai announces plan to tackle health care system'
Anjali Appadurai announces plan to tackle health care system

Am Appadurai-led government would introduce legislation to amend policy to include a zero-carbon building code for all new buildings by 2026, a ban on gas connections to new buildings by 2024, and a new Crown corporation that will mobilize workers to retrofit all existing buildings across the province.

The plan also includes free, universal transit in urban centres.

“If we come together and move swiftly and boldly, we can prevent the climate crisis from getting worse while keeping our communities safe from future extreme weather disasters,” Appadurai said.

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“This plan represents a significant, generational investment, but the costs of inaction are immeasurably higher.”

Click to play video: 'Questions about Anjali Appadurai’s campaign'
Questions about Anjali Appadurai’s campaign

The plan is estimated to cost two per cent of B.C.’s GDP, working out to about $6 billion per year.

Appadurai is also proposing an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel extraction permits including fracking wells, oil, gas and coal projects, LNG facilities, and fossil fuel-derived hydrogen production.

The provincial government would also cancel all remaining subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies if Appadurai is elected leader.

There would be a legislative requirement for companies to clean up abandoned wells, toxic waste and decaying infrastructure, and the introduction of a new oil and gas excess profits tax.

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“The crises we face are intersecting, and our solutions must be as well,” Appadurai said.

“In the face of intensifying crises, we are told that our government can only make incremental benefits in people’s lives. We are told that it’s not possible to deliver transformative change. But the truth is that it’s not only possible, but imperative for the government to meet this moment with real, large-scale solutions that firmly place people before profit.”

The plan also includes a policy to protect old growth forests by immediately pausing logging in all 2.6 million hectares of the most at-risk old growth as identified by the B.C. government’s Old Growth Strategic Review panel.

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