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Ontario Votes 2003

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Election Day: Oct. 2, 2003   

Party Platforms: Environment
by Paddy Moore

Here are the highlights of the environment platforms from the Liberal, New Democratic and Progressive Conservative parties:

Environment Platform                                 [top]
Implement every recommendation of the Walkerton Inquiry reports.
Build a network of water monitoring stations across the province and make the reports available on-line.
Pass a law to protect water sources.
Stop issuing water-taking permits to exporters while reviewing groundwater supplies.
Make companies pay for right to bottle water or use it in industrial slurry.
Establish Environmental Youth Corps, creating summer jobs for students to, among other things, test water or conduct home energy audits.
Prosecute and fine polluters.
Make regulations governing hazardous waste disposal the toughest on the continent.
Divert 60 per cent of waste from landfills over five years.
Phase in a ban on organic waste in landfills.
Increase support for waste diversion programs
Work to develop "brownfields," or vacant, toxic, urban industrial sites.
Change Land Transfer Tax Rebate program to encourage intensification and discourage urban sprawl.
Establish Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.
Give two cents per litre of provincial tax to municipalities for public transit.
Invest in public transit, with a focus on tackling Toronto's gridlock.
Phase out coal-burning generating plants by 2007, and replace with cleaner energy sources. Liberals say the 6,100 MW from coal plants can be replaced by 18,002 MW using clean energy sources by 2007.
Require all electricity suppliers to get five per cent of their power from renewable sources by 2007, and 10 per cent by 2010.
"Reward" those who reduce their energy consumption, and charge more to those who consume more than an average household.
Promote "smart meters," which track what time of day the energy is used, and charge accordingly. To be in place by 2006 when the rate cap is lifted.
Create program to help consumers cut consumption by five per cent by 2007.
Create incentives for production of renewable energy sources.
Reduce red tape for clean-energy projects.
Work with businesses, commercial and institutional customers to reduce electricity consumption.

New Democratic Party
Environment Platform         [top]
Implement all the recommendations from Justice O'Connor's two Walkerton Reports.
Re-open public water-testing labs.
Implement Safe Drinking Water Fund to provide money for upgrading water systems.
Pass Ontario Drinking water Source Protection Act, which would establish Watershed Planning Boards charged with creating plans to prevent contamination by large hog farms, large water-taking operations, and human activity.
Ban "mega-landfill" projects, such as Adams Mine.
Restore ban on municipal waste incineration.
Expand municipal recycling programs and composting of wet waste.
Expand bottle-return system to LCBO.
Develop take-back programs for such products as electronics.
Restore 260-hectare limit on clearcuts.
Support farmers moving to organic, non-genetically modified methods.
Create tough rules to protect species at risk and their habitat.
Ban disposal of untreated hazardous waste.
Create toughest guidelines on the continent for the handling of hazardous waste.
Increase fines for polluters and hire more monitoring staff.
Develop pollution reduction plans with industry.
Ban new toxic-waste incinerators and phase out existing incinerators.
Develop plan to phase out incineration of bio-medical waste.
Make all government ministries subject to the Environmental Bill of Rights.
Resume publication of the annual Offences Against the Environment report.
Support municipalities to phase out use of cosmetic pesticides.
Create Children's Health and Environment Branch in the Environment Ministry.
Phase out coal plants, converting some to gas, by 2007.
Create "Efficiency Ontario" office to set standards for retrofits, certify energy efficiency contractors, ascertain best practices, and educate about conservation.
Create mechanism for gas and electricity utilities to lend money for retrofits that reduce consumption. The loan would be paid off through the consumption savings, keeping the bill at the same amount as before the upgrade.
Set renewable energy source target of 10 per cent by 2010, and 20 per cent by 2020.
Create Transportation Trust Fund to reduce gridlock by dedicating three cents of provincial gas tax from every litre sold in Ontario, with 60 per cent for transit, 25 per cent for roads and highways, and 15 per cent for GO Transit.
Create Green Planning Act to fight urban sprawl and preserve important natural areas.
Create Dynamic Downtown Fund to, among other things, clean up toxic urban industrial lands.

Progressive Conservative Party
Environment Platform                                               [top]
Implement all the recommendations from Justice O'Connor's two Walkerton Reports.
Make clean-water standards the toughest in the world.
Introduce legislation to protect water sources.
Invest $200 million for municipalities to meet new water standards, and $31 million for provincial parks to do so.
Invest $245 million for upgrades to municipal water systems.
Create a Clean Water Legacy Trust, $50 million.
Implement Provincial Groundwater Monitoring Network, with municipalities and conservation authorities, $6 million.
"Simplify" environmental assessment process, so projects such as a "dry cleaning shop or a highway widening would only require detailed notice to the Environment Ministry."
Open up environmental assessment process to allow more public input.
Create Great Lakes Heritage Coast.
Provide $200 million for Toronto transit systems.
Provide $430 million for GO Transit, adding service to Barrie.
Phase out coal-burning generating plants by 2015.
Cut emissions from fossil-fuel power plants by 45 per cent by 2010. Establish guidelines for electricity bills that are easy to understand.
Create Green Power Bonds to finance construction of green energy sources at below-market rates.
Require provincial and municipal governments to purchase 50 per cent from clean power sources within five years.
Speed up approval for "low-risk" green power generating projects
Create some kind of tax incentive to encourage clean, renewable and alternative energy supplies, such as wind and solar power.
Invest $20 million for creation of a centre to co-ordinate research for and commercialization of clean energy projects.
Expand ENERGY STAR � rebate on PST to include light bulbs, furnaces and air conditioners.
Launch "aggressive" education campaign for energy conservation


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