Parties missing link between environment and economy, survey shows

TORONTO, June 9, 2014 /CNW/ - The health of our environment underlies many of the concerns being debated in the Ontario provincial election, from future job growth to health care throughout our province. 

But no major party has fully embraced the connection between a healthy environment, a healthy economy and healthy people, according to a survey of party positions undertaken by 20 of Ontario's leading environmental non-profit organizations.

"There are big issues at play in this election – from the alarming decline in pollinators to the uncoordinated rush to develop numerous mines and other resource projects in one of our last great wilderness areas," says Tim Gray of Environmental Defence.

"We need a clear plan to build a healthy and prosperous province and a strong green economy. That's the challenge of our time and we want to give voters the information they need to understand where the parties stand on that question," says Anna Baggio of CPAWS Wildlands League.

The Ontario Environmental Priorities Initiative sent each of the four major parties a questionnaire on environmental issues covering everything from transit funding and urban planning to endangered species and biodiversity protection.

The questionnaire also covered energy conservation and party views on shutting down the aging Pickering nuclear station; putting a price on carbon to address climate change and encouraging the development of green infrastructure like green roofs and urban forests to make our communities more climate resilient; and how to ensure more than temporary boom-and-bust development in the Ring of Fire in Ontario's Far North.

It also asked the parties if they would force companies to disclose potentially cancer causing ingredients in consumer products and ban the use of neocontinoid pesticides that have been strongly linked to an alarming decline in pollinators such as bees.

The questionnaire and the party platform documents were used to assess whether the party's policies would meet the objectives of the eight environmental priorities jointly developed by the 20 organizations involved in the Ontario's Environmental Priorities Initiative. This assessment can be found at www.greenprosperity.ca.

The groups issuing this release are: Canadian Physicians for the Environment, Citizens Environment Alliance, Canadian Environmental Law Association, CPAWS Wildlands League, David Suzuki Foundation, Earthroots, Ecojustice, Environment North, Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature, Greenpeace, LEAF, Local Food Plus, Ontario Clean Air Alliance, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, Pembina Institute, Sierra Club Ontario, Toronto Environmental Alliance, Sustain Ontario, Wildlife Preservation Canada.

SOURCE: Green Prosperity

For further information: For more information, or media requests, please contact: Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca

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