TORONTO, Sept. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - The Green Prosperity Initiative, a
combined effort of 20 Ontario environmental organizations, today
released an assessment of the environmental platforms of the four major
provincial parties. The joint assessment can be found at
"Overall, three parties - the Liberals, NDP and Greens - have provided
us with important insights into how they will protect Ontario's
environment and build a green economy. The Progressive Conservatives,
unfortunately, chose not to respond to our specific questions," says
Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence.
While the three other parties provided detailed responses to the Green
Prosperity election questionnaire and have included major environmental
planks in their platform, the Progressive Conservatives opted not to
provide any further detail on their plans to end the Green Energy Act's
Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program, build new nuclear units or repeal
legislation designed to protect the ecology of Ontario's vast wild Far
Northern boreal region among other policies.
For the other parties, one of the new distinctions in responses came in
their approach to energy issues. The Liberals are fully committed to
carrying on with the feed-in tariff program, which offers a guaranteed
long-term price for energy generated by clean renewable power systems.
The NDP, on the other hand, would restrict FIT participation to smaller
and community-owned systems, while the Greens want to increase local
involvement in approving renewable energy installations.
The NDP and the Greens also do not agree with the Liberal plan to build
new nuclear reactors. Both parties say the province has better
lower-cost options and would expand the use of conservation, renewable
energy, combined heat and power and hydro imports from Quebec instead
of building new reactors. The Liberals say they will not rebuild the
aging Pickering nuclear station, but will replace two-thirds of its
capacity with new nuclear units "at another location." Progressive
Conservative leader Tim Hudak is on record as favouring new nuclear
units, although this is not addressed in the party's platform.
Protecting the sensitive ecosystems and climate change control benefits
of Ontario's Far North was another issue where the parties differed.
The Liberals say they will move ahead with comprehensive land-use
planning for this ecologically intact region before approving major
developments, as called for under the Far North Act. The Conservatives
and NDP, however, are both promising to repeal the act, while the
Greens want to see it revised.
On protecting the four Great Lakes that Ontario borders, the Liberals,
NDP and Greens all say they are favour of strengthening legislative
protection and increasing efforts to clean up beaches and toxic hot
spots. The Conservatives are not promising any greater protection for
the lakes in their platform.
"Concern about the economy may be what gets people out to the ballot box
this election, but once there, I think many will think about what the
future holds for their kids in Ontario - including whether they will
have the clean air, clean water, and stable climate that past
generations have enjoyed," says Derek Coronado, executive director of
Citizens Environment Alliance.
"Our assessment can help voters see where the parties stand on linking
this province's future to the exploding worldwide demand for green
products and services, including green energy, sustainably harvested
resources, and innovative climate solutions, while ensuring that
Ontario remains a great place to live, work and play," says Janet
Sumner, executive director of CPAWS Wildlands League.
SOURCE Environmental Defence
For further information:
Green Living Communications