Today I am reviewing the Green Party platform. You can view the PC Party platform here and the NDP platform here.
I interviewed 3 candidates from the Green Party. Steve Dyck from the Guelph riding, Rob Strang from the Dufferin-Caledon riding and Josh Rachlis from the Eglinton-Lawrence riding. Their answers are below and offer further explanation of the Green Party platform.
* Increase extraction taxes on water used for industrial purposes (ie: bottled water)
* Raise royalties on aggregate extraction to 50 cents/tonne (current 11.5)
*** Revenue from both will be used to fund conservation and stewardship programs
* Require full environmental assessment for all mega-quarries
What incentives do you propose for individuals choosing the more sustainable products or services?
Steve outlines that the Green Party platform focuses on having families and small business investing in energy efficiency/conservation upgrades that will reduce the amount of energy they consume and therefore their costs.
* Oppose all future nuclear plant construction and phase out coal power by 2014
* Provide grid access to local and community power projects
* Provide $1.6 billion over 4 years in refundable tax credits for energy efficient retrofits
* $10/tonne price on carbon placed on carbon based fossil fuels (will fund income tax cuts)
* Eliminate subsidies that reward wasteful use of energy
* Require green energy projects to have local ownership component
* Revise the Ontario Building Code with new energy efficiency standards
* Work with banks to develop 'Energy Saver' mortgages
Can you outline the proposed carbon tax that is outlined in the Green Jobs Plan?
Rob explains that the tax amounts to 2.4 cents/L of gas and is modeled after BC's carbon tax, which has resulted in the lowest income tax in the country. This also also led to a decline in gas consumption in BC.
Steve adds that the tax will tax income less and move the tax to 'waste'. The more resources you use, the more it will cost. Ontario needs to move away from a carbon based economy and the hope is that this will push for more energy efficient transit and an increase in carpooling.
* $200 million over 4 years for a healthy school food program
* Expand the Good Food Box program to target priority populations and children
* Set a standard of 40% local food content for public institutions
* Work with farmers and municipalities to open more farmers markets
* Increase enforcement of the Foodland Ontario label
* Reward farmers for their stewardship activities (ALUS program)
* $435 million in tax credits over 4 years for farmers
Do you think that your plans to help support local farmers will make it easier for Ontario to buy local?
Josh explains that by preserving green space and protecting our environment it will be easier for Ontario consumers to have access to local food. An added benefit is the increase in healthy options available and the reduction in environmental impact from the transportation of foods from other countries.
Rob notes that the Green Party wants to end one-size fits all regulations and work to keep the small family run processors open. He adds that by improving income stabilization programs for farmers they can cover more crops and make them more accessible for family farms.
Steve explains that right now there is no economic incentive to preserve farmland and that the Green Party's Environment Asset of Farming program will do that. This program will recognize the clean water and air that farms provide to Ontario and work to preserve them.
* Revise the Planning Act to support efficient communities with safe streets for bikes
* Establish more HOV lanes and maintain funding for public transportation systems
* Offer $238 million over 4 years for electric/hybrid vehicle tax credits
* Raise tailpipe emission standards steadily to encourage market for fuel efficient vehicles
What improvements in transportation systems can Ontario expect from the Green party?
Rob says that the Green Party plans for balanced communities so that people can work and live in the same place, minimizes the need for transportation and encourages healthy lifestyles. They will invest $400 million in tax credits over four years for affordable commuter benefits to support ride sharing and carpooling, flexible ways of getting to work, and a refundable provincial tax credit for transit users.
Josh notes that the Green Party strongly supports maintaining and extending public transit infrastructure in keeping with our goal of promoting efficient, healthy, liveable communities with local shopping, a revitalized street life, safety for pedestrians, and better air quality.
* Provide $200 million over 4 years in tax credit for child and adult recreation programs
* Invest $1.6 billion over 4 years on local clinics
* Immediate evaluation of the LHIN's to determine their future
What programs can we expect to support new mom's?
Steve thinks that providing birthing centers as an option to pregnant women is an important move. They are a community based solution that will allow a wide range of practitioners to work to the full extent of their license. The birthing centers could be extended to also allow for lactation consultation for new mom's.
Josh feels it is important for Ontario to invest in more community care clinics that will have improved access to health care and allows mothers more options to make the best decision for them and their children.
* Economic plan balances the budget in 2015 without raising taxes or cutting services
* Lower personal income tax by increasing personal tax exemption by $2000
*** Both of these tax cuts will be offset by revenue from waste, pollution and emissions
* Freeze tuition for the 2012-13 school year
What do you think of the Green Party Platform? Have you read their 5 plans? What are your thoughts?