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Candidates Q and A: Environmental protection legislation

Candidates from the four major parties were asked to respond to questions about key issues in the upcoming provincial election
Village Media file photo

GuelphToday asked the candidates running for the four major parties in Guelph a series of questions about the upcoming election. Responses were limited to 250 words. 

Tonight's question: 'Would you support further environmental protection legislation and what types of legislation you would support to ensure we can mitigate the detrimental impact on our environment as we move toward a zero carbon and sustainable future?'

Raechelle Devereaux, Liberal: 

The climate emergency is happening now, and Guelph needs a Liberal MPP at Queen’s Park to reverse Doug Ford’s environmental disasters.

Our previous Liberal government managed monumental actions such as closing all coal-fired generators, introducing cap and trade, and offered incentives toward electric vehicles, home and school retrofits, and created solar, wind and hydro renewable energy. Unfortunately, much of that work has been undone in the last four years.

An Ontario Liberal government will commit to continuing to protect and expand the Greenbelt – designating 30 per cent of land as protected areas by 2030, up 10 per cent. We would plant 800 million new trees, and cancel Highway 413, using those funds instead to build 200 new schools and repair 4,500 schools. And, with keeping municipal and provincially-funded public transportation affordable at $1/ride, we anticipate removing 400,000 cars from the roads every day. 

An Ontario Liberal government will transition to a fully clean electricity supply, ban new natural gas plants and phase out our reliance on it. We will support Indigenous and Northern clean energy projects. We will also pursue green hydrogen generation, transportation and storage, and support business by replacing carbon-emitting fuels with hydrogen. 

The Ontario Liberal plan will tackle today’s climate emergency, cleaning our air, changing how we move, and create jobs through climate action. 

James Parr, NDP:

There is no Planet B. I am a millennial and our generation has been defined by existential climate crisis and sometimes it feels like that as a society, we are not acting with the urgency that is required and continue to prioritize big business and their profit over actually trying to preserve our planet. 

I absolutely pledge to support further environmental protection legislation, particularly those that hold corporations responsible for their disproportionate impact on climate change. 

I also support municipal and government initiatives to electrify public transit and eliminate single use plastics.

I also want to ensure that as Canadians, Ontarians and Guelphites, we don’t repeat our mistakes as settlers and colonizers on this land, and actually listen to the First Nation stewards of this land we occupy.

Mike Schreiner, Green Party:

As I promised, I was a strong voice for Guelph at Queen’s Park fighting for our planet and our children’s futures, pushing back on Ford’s dismantling of environmental protections. I successfully advocated for the closure of the Dolime Quarry to protect Guelph’s drinking water. I passed the first Green bill in Ontario’s history, the Reserved Parking for Electric Vehicle Charging Act. I tabled and forced the Ford government to debate my bill, the Carbon Budget Accountability Act which would make Ontario net-zero by 2045.

I was also proud that my bill, the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act, which would have further protected Guelph’s drinking water, passed second reading with all party support. The pressure led to the previous government suggesting multiple times they intended to expand the Greenbelt to include the Paris Galt Moraine.

I also successfully led the charge against the building of an Amazon warehouse over wetlands and got community gardens reopened during the lockdowns. Over the last four years I also pushed the Ford government to

● declare a climate emergency

● create a climate change plan

● freeze urban boundaries to protect our farmland

● expand the Greenbelt to include a Bluebelt to protect Ontario’s vital water sources

● declare an immediate moratorium on new gravel mining permits. The biggest threat facing us right now is the climate crisis. Ontario Greens have the strongest evidence based climate plan which cuts Ontario’s climate pollution in half by 2030 and to net-zero by 2045. I promise to continue to hold the government to account

Peter McSherry, Progressive Conservative:

No response.