7 Green Party Platform

Today I am reviewing the Green Party platform. You can view the PC Party platform here and the NDP platform here.

The Green Party platform is focused on 5 areas: Jobs, Energy, Food, Health and Good Government.

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.

Health Care
     * 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.

Additional Commitments
     * 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?

You can follow Steve, Rob and Josh on their Twitter accounts.


  1. I asked Steve what his top 2 priorities were if elected. Here is his response: #1Transparency in government. Having governments that respond to people and technology that provides greater access of information in how government functions, where money flows. Allow opportunities for people to engage in the process using webinars, town hall meetings (telephone) to talk about challenges (economy).

    #2 Updating tax system – one that really works for people. Values work more and taxes it less. Puts more value on our natural resources.

  2. I asked Rob what his top 2 priorities were if elected. Here is his response:

    #1 I would eliminate corporate and union donations to political parties and municipal and provincial political campaigns so that politicians can represent the views of their constituents. This can be done by taking the federal law that makes them illegal and applying it to the province of Ontario.

    #2 Stopping the mega-quarry and similar quarries by changing the Aggregate Resources Act to protect the environment and communities, changing the policy statements that give aggregate extraction and development priority over prime farmland and changing Ontario’s growth plans to balance growth across the province rather than focus it in our region to benefit Toronto based developers.

  3. I asked Josh what his top 2 priorities were if elected. Here is his response:

    The environment is a personal passion of mine, because cleaning it up will allow us all to live longer, healthier lives. And really, what’s more important than that? I’d also want to support the creation of beautiful, walkable communities. I was in Elora last weekend and loved all the small, local businesses, the pretty, walkable streets, the gorgeous trees. Why does that have to be something that people have to drive out of the city to enjoy?

  4. I really like the 'polluter pays' tax system that also reduces our income taxes. We work hard to reduce our impact on the environment and I hate that we pay the same taxes and costs for things as people who have hummers and put out 8 million bags of garbage each week.

    I think the health care plan could have gone into more detail about supporting additional health practitioners but I am glad that I asked the candidates this question and got more information.

    I like their plans for better designed communities but am not sure what the impact will be on already existing communities.

    My favourite part is relating to farms. There is great access here to local farmers and I want that to stay.

  5. Do they talk about getting rid of the HST? Do they specifically say that they support birthing centers?

  6. There is no mention of the HST which to me means that they don't plan to get rid of it. Their tax plans are more focused on switching to a polluter pays principle that reduces our tax on our income but increase our taxes on pollution related items (ie: gas). If you use less gas then you will have more money in your pocket.

    They don't specifically call out birthing centers in their plan but they do address that they support community based health care and this is what birthing centers are modeled after.

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