A plume of fragrant hamburger smoke led the way to Larry Bagnell’s campaign headquarters.
Throughout Sunday afternoon, a large crowd funneled through the makeshift office, feasting on hotdogs, burgers and the occasional homemade cookie.
“This is a huge turnout, we had to go out and get more groceries,” said Bagnell.
It was the official launch of Liberal MP Larry Bagnell’s re-election campaign.
In the first week of the campaign, the eight-year MP said he has visited 12 Yukon communities.
“I’m the only candidate that usually gets to all the communities,” he said.
Bagnell has campaigned successfully three times before, but this year, with a greener platform and a leader whose dog is named Kyoto, it comes with an added twist.
“I spend most of my life on the road, and for me, that’s a good thing … but travel means emissions,” he said in a mid-afternoon speech.
To balance all the driving and flights, the Bagnell campaign has purchased five tonnes worth of carbon offsets from carbonzero.ca, a Toronto-based company that promises to provide “real, and permanent, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Bagnell campaign may indeed have committed itself to smog reduction, but it emitted hefty amounts of smug.
“Mr. Harper has refused to purchase offsets for his own campaign,” said Bagnell.
“So, in the spirit of being a friendly Yukoner, I’m happy to let our Conservative counterpart know that we’ve bought five tonnes in offsets for him too,” he said.
Carbonzero.ca is essentially a company that grants funding to projects that it deems represent “high offset quality.” Any eligible green project can apply to carbonzero.ca for funding.
In a 2007 interview with the Globe and Mail, owner Howey Chong acknowledged that the company absorbs as much as 25 per cent to pay expenses and generate a profit.
Currently, carbonzero.ca only has one listing on its “emission-reduction project” roster — the Cowley Wind Farm in southern Alberta.
In operation since 1993 and owned by Canadian Hydro Developers, the farm supplies electricity to ENMAX, Alberta’s provincial power grid.
For a surcharge, ENMAX customers can acquire Greenmax certification — ensuring their power comes partially or exclusively from sources such as Cowley Ridge.
“It doesn’t eliminate the problem, but it is a demonstration of our commitment,” said Bagnell.