Candidates on Environment and Sustainability

This issue gets the attention of all levels of Government – no doubt because voters are concerned.  I asked all candidates in the upcoming Provincial election: What are your policies on the Environment and Sustainability? and they all responded. They all agreed that action is needed and most have specific ideas although general policies get some attention too.

This is the third question in the series of four – the next question is: How will you ensure Seniors get good Long Term Care? This is scheduled for publication on May 23.

Meanwhile advanced voting has started – you can get details from the voting information card you should already have received from Elections Ontario or from the Cobourg Internet Information site in Resources below.

The sequence of responses this time is alphabetical by party name.

Lisa Francis – Green Party

Lisa Francis
Lisa Francis

We need real climate action and we need it now. The Ontario Green Party has a practical plan to achieve real change, and the leadership to make it happen, while making Ontario a global leader in the new climate economy. Our communities were not built to withstand the extreme weather events that are becoming more common, and intensifying each year.

We will support municipalities in the transition to cleaner, greener infrastructure.

Ontario Greens’ will create hundreds of thousands of jobs retrofitting our buildings, manufacturing EVs, and creating low-carbon products and technologies.

We will protect at least 25% of lands and water in Ontario by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

Ontario Greens will protect and restore natural areas that sequester carbon and protect biodiversity, including grasslands and peatlands, old growth forests, and ecological corridors between protected areas.

We stand for strong environmental justice and will strengthen environmental oversight and public consultation. We will achieve this by restoring the Office of the Environmental Commissioner, establishing and enforcing industry sector standards for air and water pollution to protect health, and restoring a robust environmental assessment process.

Jeff Kawzenuk – Liberal

Jeff Kawzenuk
Jeff Kawzenuk
  • Slash transit fares to $1 until 2024, taking 400,000 daily car trips off the road;
  • Cut pollution in half by 2030;
  • Strengthening the requirements of the Conservative’s existing industrial Emissions Performance Standards to ensure the biggest polluters do their part to meet our 50% reduction target;
  • Expand the Greenbelt and designating 30% of Ontario land as protected areas, up from 10%;
  • Stop Highway 413 and responsibly maintain crucial highways;
  • Provide a 30% rebate of up to $500 on e-bikes;
  • Provide up to $9,500 in rebates on non-luxury electric vehicles and vehicle charging equipment;
  • Provide grants of up to $3,000 each year for people and businesses who want to make eco-friendly renos like new windows, insulation, heat pumps, and flood protection; 
  • Create 25,000 new green-jobs and a new Green Jobs Fund to invest in made-in-Ontario clean technology innovations; and
  • Increase funding for separated bike lanes and cycling trails, bike-sharing and rental services, and secure bike parking.
  • Cut carbon and methane pollution by more than 50% by 2030.

Joshua Chalhoub – New Blue Party

Joshua Chalhoub
Joshua Chalhoub

How we go about protecting our environment and creating a sustainable future cannot be achieved without first creating policies and designing effective and achievable long-term plans that bring all stakeholders to the table. Attempting to develop environmental policies in a vacuum to simply address the problem superficially results in band-aid solutions with very few targets met. We have seen numerous policies and projects fail because of the short sightedness of previous governments. Policies and targets must also include socioeconomic impact, possible risks to the environment, natural habitant, and adverse inequities. While wind turbines seemed like a feasible alternative, they have unfortunately driven up electricity costs while costing taxpayers billions.

I would like to see more of our Greenbelt protected and ensure that more green space is created in all future development of land (private and crown projects) and infrastructure projects have reasonable goals without creating undue financial hardship at consumption levels. Human activities have an impact on natural environment – let’s focus on the issues that create the biggest negative impact and less on limited or no effect initiatives. Increase reuse and recycle programs, advance socially responsible projects in communities while ensuring that federal, provincial, municipal levels of government and the private sector all work together to meet those challenges of the future.

Environmental sustainability can only be conceived and achieved when we seek to address the issues by measuring the success against the overall cost and the benefits gained towards the future.

Kim McArthur-Jackson – New Democratic Party

Kim McArthur-Jackson
Kim McArthur-Jackson

Under leadership of Andrea Horwath, NDP has laid out the boldest, most effective and achievable climate plan Ontario’s ever had.

Our plan is based on values of equity, affordability, and reconciliation.

We’ll implement a climate stress test on all provincial infrastructure, existing and planned, making repairs and upgrades where needed.

Working with groups like the Insurance Bureau of Canada, our plan will invest in flood defences, support people moving off floodplains, make sure Ontarians have access to affordable flood insurance, and mandate flood risk disclosure in real estate listings.

We’ll work with all municipalities to make the Green New Democratic Deal a reality:

Strong greenhouse gas reduction targets — in line with the most ambitious commitments in the Paris Climate Accords, aimed at limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius

  • A mandate for all newly built public, residential and commercial buildings to be net-zero emissions by 2030, alongside a world-leading building retrofit program
  • Electrifying all municipal transit by 2040
  • Giving $600 to households to install electric vehicle charging stations at home, and requiring new homes to have vehicle charging capacity
  • Establishing Ontario’s first Youth Climate Corps
  • Restoring powers of the Environment Commissioner
  • Planting one billion trees by 2030

We’re looking at all our policies and plans through our Green New Democratic Deal lens – from our commitment to stop the GTA West highway from slicing through the Greenbelt and paving over critical farmland, to how we’ll build long-term care homes and schools.

Vanessa Head
Vanessa Head

Vanessa Head – Ontario Party

An Ontario Party government will:

Adopt a simple Canada-first policy that prioritizes national sovereignty, energy independence and good environmental stewardship. We are natural resource rich and we will implement strategies to manage the resources we have been blessed with.

David Piccini – PC Party

Our PC Party’s plan focuses on clean, green, growth for generations to come.

We are taking concrete action on climate change by partnering with industry, phasing out coal in big industry through the electrification of the arc furnace at Algoma and Dofasco (equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the road), making Ontario a world leader in clean steel production; and, positioning Ontario as a world leader in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.

David Piccini
David Piccini

I firmly believe that incentives for the wealthiest to purchase EVs made outside Canada is not the way. We are creating a domestic market through a $5 billion investment in electric vehicles, partnering with the Federal Government so that we can secure Ontario’s first ever EV battery plant that will mean 2,500 jobs and a supply of Made-in-Ontario zero emission cars for the North American market.

As a Government we’ve also passed new emissions standards for large emitters to reduce their carbon emissions; increased fines to hold polluters accountable; and, launched a comprehensive Sulphur Dioxide regulation that will finally mean cleaner air in the Sarnia region.

To protect Ontario’s land: we’ve restored and added over 1,200 hectares of wetland; protected the largest area of Boreal wild lands in Canada’s history; and, have protected more lands than any Government since the Living Legacy that includes the first new provincial park in over 20 years.


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21 May 2022 9:30 am

I have been hearing about politicians rescuing the Climate for more than 15 yrs now
every election its the hot topic But what has actually been done to create results .
MORE TAXES that’s what Gas tax , Carbon Tax , Environmental Tax when you purchase or return Car tires , Batteries etc etc They have just found a soft spot of concern
and TAXED us !

Lemon Cake
21 May 2022 8:14 am

The Liberal buck a ride public transit approach is nuts. How on earth is slashing the cost of using transit even an option when there’s nothing budgeted for service expansion or improvement. There are not enough transit vehicles to accommodate existing users in a timely and convenient manner, especially in the GTA.

The PC platform is… fine. But their new highway plan is a complete dog of a policy and I think it will cost them at the polls.

Nothing in here about nuclear energy which, like it or not, is the cleanest and greenest option – it’s also where a lot of investment is going. Companies like Westinghouse and GE are now developing and piloting portable nuclear generators that can power entire towns. This is the future – as opposed to these policy suggestions which would have been really innovative and cool in, say, 2009.

Wally Keeler
20 May 2022 1:23 pm

Just as I expected; not a single word about the benefits of nuclear energy. Lotta talk about EVs and charging stations, but where will the electricity come from to power this mass increase in electrical demands? No answers from this crew of wannabe politicians.

Nuclear energy produces emission-free energy. Nuclear energy produces energy 24/7/365+++, not just when the sun shines or the wind blows. Nuclear energy produces power on a small footprint, unlike wind turbines scattered over the landscape or the wide spread occupation of fertile ground by solar farms.

Furthermore, EVs do not pay any fuel tax, which pays for all the infrastructure required for vehicles. EVs are getting a free ride with their wear and tear on our roads.

Last edited 6 months ago by Wally Keeler
Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 May 2022 7:48 am

Our own MPP announced the Low-carbon Hydrogen facility plans for Niagara last month. It is conspicuous that this very expensive, low-carbon strategy goes unmentioned by all of the candidates…..

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dunkirk
21 May 2022 10:57 am

An experiment worth exploring, but an experiment nonetheless. Nuclear is proven.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 May 2022 8:26 am

Wally, there is an easy solution. All these large single family homes being built will have roofs. Just put solar panels on the roofs which will not take up any extra land. The solar panels can charge the cars at night. In the morning parents could drive their kids to school on the way to yoga or zumba class to get some exercise. What could go wrong?

With technology the way it is we could easily track exactly which roads the EV’s use and tax them accordingly. If we build smaller houses in communities integrated with schools, stores, work places then people could walk, bike, etc. But the demand for new roads and cars would decrease. Road builders and car makers would have to find other work. I really don’t think many of us want this type of community.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Kevin
21 May 2022 10:46 am

Just put solar panels on the roofs which will not take up any extra land. The solar panels can charge the cars at night.”

When the sun don’t shine? This will make those “large single family homes” more affordable. One will need to add a slew of expensive batteries to your house to service your two EVs. There have been cloudy days lasting for a week or more. Will home batteries retain a week’s worth of energy? Especially for “large single family homes” that go hand in hand with two EVs, a plethora of electric lawn mowers, electric hedge trimmers, electric leaf blowers. electric heating, electric air conditioning, electric stove, electric fridge, all kinds of electric hand devices. all coming from 24/7/365 reliable solar panels that produce top power every day AND NIGHT, according to you. Batteries wear out and will require changing — how often, how much, and where do old batteries go to rest?

It is foolhardy to put all of one’s eggs in one solar basket. Modular nuclear provides SECURITY of power with maximum efficiency.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
21 May 2022 12:57 pm

As one for whom absurdity and sarcasm are part of your stock and trade, I’m surprised that you took Kevin’s bait. Solar panels producing power at night….perhaps from moonlight.

I suggest you read Kevin’s last sentence “… I really don’t think many of us want this type of community….”

Reply to  Wally Keeler
22 May 2022 8:12 am

Yes, having batteries attached to your house would be a benefit. The batteries in the EV’s could work as a power source during power outages. Solar panels can provide some energy but, as Wally pointed out, they have limitations and can only be part of the solution. Reducing the amount of energy we use is the most cost effective way to reduce fossil fuel use. Nuclear energy might be an important part of the solution as well.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Kevin
21 May 2022 10:50 am

With technology the way it is we could easily track exactly which roads the EV’s use and tax them accordingly.”

Of course, but what party is putting this notion forth? And Canadians will cherish the idea of being tracked by the state all their lives. Upping their social credit accounts a la Black Mirror. Orwell predicted it in 1984.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
22 May 2022 8:22 am

Canadians with cell phones are being tracked now. How many people use Siri, Alexa, Google? They listen to everything that happens in our homes. The state may not have a place in the bedrooms of the nation but big business has already moved in.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Kevin
5 June 2022 9:42 am

You don’t know about digizdat jamming?