ONTARIO VOTES 2007

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Going green in the Ontario election

September 14, 2007 | 05:20 PM

Ontario's campaign trail might be greener this election as the leaders hit the road in low-emission vehicles and buy carbon offsets to counteract the greenhouse gases they emit, but green issues were oddly out of the spotlight throughout the first week of the election.

All the parties have unveiled environmental policies. The Liberals have pledged $200 million in new environmental spending by 2012.The Conservatives have promised $140 million over the same period, which includes the purchase of scrubbers for coal-fired power plants.

The NDP's policy is still being unveiled, while the Greens would like to see $260 million in new environmental spending over a four-year period, culminating in an additional $700 million over 10 years.

Watch the CBC's Carey Marsden on the parties' green policies. (Aired Sept. 13, runs 2:17).

Do you think the environment is getting adequate attention in this election? Are the parties doing enough to combat climate change? Tell us your views.

« Should Ontario fund faith-based schools? | Main | Are the parties fielding enough female candidates for the upcoming election? »

This entry is now Closed. View the comments.

Comments: (6)

Dave Bertrand (Port_Elgin) wrote:

STUDENT VOTE PROGRAM SHOWS PROMISE FOR ENVIRONMENT
No... the environment is NOT getting its due. When you think about it, why would scientists from all around the globe repeatedly report that we are putting ourselves and future generations in danger by our current environmental mismanagement? We are living in a state of comfortable mass denial. We focus on artificial measures of our standard of living with no regard for the things our lives actually depend on.... clean air, water, sustainable food production. Fortunately, our youth appear bright enough to make the connection. In the student vote program, 24.2 % of students across Ontario voted Green, electing 18 candidates... placing them second to the Liberals. Perhaps, in the next 10 years, some of these youth can help elect enough Green Party members to keep environmental responsibility in the forefront in the Legislature.

Posted October 10, 2007 10:18 PM

Phil Lenoir (Cambridge) wrote:

Despite early green noises from all parties the environment seems to be getting short shrift.

The Liberals have had some successes in protection of the Oak Ridges Moraine and The Greenbelt Act but they are failing to protect the more significant moraines in the Grand River Watershed (The Grand is the largest river in Southern Ontario). It is also proposing to violate its own Greenbelt with avoidable road building which will only create sprawl.

Posted September 25, 2007 05:54 PM

Scott Cosby (Sudbury) wrote:

First, I have to say: A combination of carbon tax and mandatory efficiency standards will help. More (or even just better) roads will only encourage more driving, perpetuate urban sprawl, and will keep us locked into this spiral of a worsening problem.

Second: No, there is not enough coverage/discussion. I think most people - even those who are concerned about global warming (and other issues of the environment) - don't really see how bad things are looking. For example, we see the occasional report that scientists are surprised yet again by how fast the climate is changing - how fast the arctic and the glaciers are melting - how soon we might begin to see uncontrollable runaway methane release from permafrost. If that happens we'll inevitably and rapidly (as if it's not fast enough now) warm up quite a bit. Pretty bad news - but apparantly not bad enough. The same reports of the rapid melting in the Arctic also speak of the opportunity this will provide to access vast reserves of Arctic oil and gas! Is 5 degrees of global warming (I think that's 4 or so more than we are seeing already) just not enough? Should we extract and burn even more oil and gas? If the promise of rather extreme (some say catestrophic) climate change associated with 5 degrees of warming is not enough to make us change our ways, how much will it take? How much can life on Earth take? We need to think hard about this, but not too long.

Posted September 19, 2007 05:00 PM

Marc Kobayashi (Markham_ON) wrote:

No, I don't think the environment is getting enough attention, nor do I think any of the three major parties are doing enough to combat climate change.

A 2 cent carbon tax at the gas pumps would go virtually unnoticed with the way current prices fluctuate, but would be a huge resource for the government to reward consumers to purchase echo-friendly products.

I also very concerned that Ontario is still heading towards power shortages in the coming years. A Nuclear power station takes 15 years to build, and I have yet to hear of a safe & economical way of disposing of nuclear waste. I'm also concern about the potential outcome of joining the GNEP, which may have Ontario accepting, storing and refining used nuclear fuel from other countries. Note that it takes only 8 years to build a Geothermal power station, and less than a year to build any type of solar power solution. Solar technology has come a long way in recent years, and can now harness infra-red light (still power on a cloudy day). Windmill technology has come a long way with new turbine designs that run quietly compared to the common three blade format.

How about some legislation that requires all home builders to build a percentage of homes/communities with eco-friendly features (solar, geothermal, wind), with the percentage increasing accordingly?

How about building solar panels on the unused spaces beside some of our major highways like they have already done in Europe? The 407 would be perfect, as it has plenty of unused buffer space, and runs perfectly parallel to a main Hydro Line.

How about having the courage to defy the automotive union, and legislate higher fuel efficiency standards, which could ironically save the North American auto industry (conditionally subsidized with previously mentioned carbon tax).

That's my 2 cents.
;-)

Posted September 18, 2007 03:56 PM

Jean-Marc C. (Ottawa_ON) wrote:

I must admit, so far I am disappointed that the environment has not been a major topic. Obviously the Green Party brings it up every day, but the 3 major parties are still stuck on this Faith Based School funding topic.

I think opening up the environment topic will be a bomb once people get on board. Question is, who will be the first to jump in?

As much as it makes sense, consommation taxes on fuel is not popular and won't garnish any votes.

Having a plan to develop, implement and fund and even sell new, cleaner technologies is what the typical voter would like to hear... As it is, you can probably skip over the development phase even, there are tonnes of technologies out there to reduce emissions.

Posted September 18, 2007 02:46 PM

Glenn F Treml (Thunder_Bay) wrote:

Yes there should be a focus on the environment, but it must be done in a constructive way that will bennefit everyone. I am opposed to any kind of carbon/environmental tax, as fuel and energy prices are out of control, and a tax is not a constructive way to solve the problem.

Better roads, reducing congestion is one of the best ways to both improve the lives for people and to reduce fuel consumption and smog.

Clean coal technology will both reduce pollution and extend the life of our very important coal generation plants.

There should be a program to promote the use of solar pannels on the roofs of all our buildings. These open expanses catch alot of sun, and could reduce the peak power demands especially in summer. It's being done in other countries, so why not do it here as well.

In the forestry sector we need to start looking at our forests for what they are; Forests not tree farms. Our forests are suffering and stressed from forestry practices that focus on money and wood fiber. We should start looking at forests for what they are, a living ecosystem.

Posted September 18, 2007 11:28 AM

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