Candidate Questions

Questions for the All-Candidates Forum on the Environment

6 October 2021

Note from the organizerI’ve lived in Canmore since 1989.  As a former member of Town Council, and someone with a lifelong interest in environmental sustainability, I feel it important to ensure that candidates for municipal office have the chance to share their thoughts on the many dimensions of environment, as laid out below.   It is my hope and belief that many Canmore voters will also read these questions; and each candidate attending the forum will be randomly assigned one of these questions, and asked to answer it.

Worth noting too that we’ll give the audience lots of time to ask questions of candidates – so I hope to see you at the event!  I have been asked by the event sponsors (Yellowstone to Yukon, Bow Valley Engage, and Bow Valley Climate Action) to facilitate the Forum, which will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 6 October, 7-9 PM – mark your calendars, and head over to to register and get your Zoom link!

Gareth Thomson – 

Wildlife and Ecosystem Integrity

  1. What would you do to improve the effectiveness of our wildlife corridors and reduce incidents of human-wildlife conflict in and around Town?
  2. The conservation of wildlife and habitat is often pitted against affordability and equal opportunity, suggesting that two of Canmore’s most significant political concerns exist in a zero-sum contest. How would you address social inequality in Canmore without compromising conservation goals?
  3. By and large the most pressing wildlife and environmental issues are beyond the scope of the Town of Canmore to address alone – yet interjurisdictional cooperation continues to be a challenge in the Bow Valley. What would you do to change this? Which environmental issues would you focus on? 
  4. What steps would you take to improve the Town of Canmore’s relationship with the Alberta Government, to address issues such as the design and management of wildlife corridors – not to mention issues such as affordable housing and undermining liability?
  5. The Bow Valley has an international reputation as a leader when it comes to wildlife co-existence – but our growing human population is a threat to this. What will you do to ensure Canmore and the Bow Valley remain places where people and wildlife can safely co-exist?      
  6. Canmore clearly has a passion for wildlife – but sometimes our passions are out of sync with our actions. For example, some folk who claim to love wildlife still recreate in wildlife corridors, often with their dog off-leash. What would you do to create a culture where our actions line up better with our values?       
  7. Our neighbours include Indigenous peoples whose traditional territories encompass Canmore and who have constitutionally-protected Aboriginal and Treaty rights regarding species that are hunted, trapped, or gathered.  How would you engage Indigenous Peoples around environmental issues?      
  8. Do you believe there is any room to expand Canmore’s Urban Growth Boundary?  Please explain your answer.


  1. What would you do to encourage a greater shift to public transit, cycling, and walking for residents and visitors?
  2. As more people come to Canmore, there seems to be more people idling their vehicles. How would you improve and enforce the anti-idling by-law?
  3. We need a comprehensive and integrated transportation plan for our entire region –  Kananaskis through to Banff National Park – that recognizes the climate emergency and the social and ecological limits of our mountain landscape.  What would you do to create such a plan, and what initiatives would you like to see in it?

Climate Action

  1. The Town of Canmore’s Climate Action Plan commits to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in our community to 30% below 2015 levels by 2030.  What GHG emissions goals would you commit to leading the Town to reach four years from now, and how would we get there?  Please note this question is about community-wide emissions, not just those emissions generated by municipal operations.
  2. To meet our Climate Action Plan targets, we need a change in the culture of how Town staff approach decision making – making all decisions through a climate lens. What would you do to promote this culture change? 
  3. The accounting firm KPMG reports that 70% of Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle in the next 5 years propose to purchase an electric vehicle (EV).  How will you ensure that we can meet increased EV charging demands in town?
  4. This summer Canmore experienced very poor air quality due to wildfire smoke – in fact, for a few days it was the worst place to breathe in Canada, exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for particulate PM2.5 by 25 times. What would you do to help protect residents from the negative health effects associated with poor air quality? 

Sustainable Food production

  1. Gardening – which includes gardens, greenhouses, and growing spaces, in community-school-residential-commercial araeas – as well as Farmers’ markets allows us access to healthy food, local food production, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transporting food.  What would you do to support this?

Sustainability and Interjurisdictional Leadership

  1. ​​ What would you do to shift toward a sustainable steady-state economy and away from a growth-based business-as-usual approach, so that this municipality can address community social needs and address the challenge of maintaining and restoring ecosystem integrity in the Bow Valley?
  2. Given the many proposals for developments and tourism infrastructure in the Bow Valley such as train stations, gondolas, and residential/ tourism resorts that affect municipal, provincial and federal jurisdictions – would you support asking for a Regional Environmental Assessment for the Bow Valley, as recognized in the Canadian Impact Assessment Act?      
  3. Residents and local scientists have long been calling for a cumulative impact assessment that will show the environmental impact of ALL human uses in the Bow Valley. Do you see this as a useful tool? How would you use this tool to assist with your land use planning and decision-making?
  4. Do you believe there is any room to expand Canmore’s Urban Growth Boundary?  Please explain your answer.

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