Provincial election – Party platform assessment

This assessment is based on responses received to the Green Prosperity election questionnaire and further information from party platform materials. The Progressive Conservatives chose not to fill out our questionnaire. We have therefore used material from their platform and other official party statements to represent their positions. For the three parties that did respond to the questionnaire, you can see their full answers by clicking on the Yes, No or Partial rating.

You can also view our follow-up video Q&As with the parties by selecting from the list below. The Progressive Conservatives declined to participate in a follow-up interview.

Liberals – John Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment

NDP – Peter Tabuns, Environment and Energy Critic

Greens – Mike Schreiner, Leader

Press release – Will Ontario move forward on the environment at the ballot box?



Progressive Conservative

New Democrats

Green Party

1. Will your party keep the Green Energy Act and feed-in tariff system in place? Yes No Partial Partial
Rating explanation Fully committed to Green Energy Act and Feed-in Tariffs
(Video response)
“We will end the feed-in tariff program” – Changebook Will only retain Feed-in Tariffs for “small and community based projects”
(Video response)
Will “require” that FIT eligible projects have “local ownership, local decision making and local benefits”
(Video response)
2. Will your party allow the Pickering nuclear station to be replaced by a portfolio of clean energy options when it closes in 2020 instead of new reactors (as currently planned) if cost effective? No No Yes Yes
Rating explanation Supports the development of 2,000 MW of new nuclear generation (two-thirds of Pickering capacity) “at another location”
(Video response)
Supports faster decision making and approval of new nuclear projects “Will direct the Ministry of Energy to prepare a new plan looking at more cost effective options, including increased conservation, increased renewable energy, expanded combined heat and power and hydro imports from Quebec.” Will create a plan that increases “energy efficiency and conservation, invests in affordable technology such as combined heat and power, and expands generation targets for safe, clean renewable energy”
3. Will your party commit to reforming the way new or expanded air pollution emissions are allowed in Ontario in order to ensure that where there are existing high levels of air pollution, these existing sources are reduced before those new or expanded sources are considered? Yes No response / no statements on record addressing this issue Yes Yes
Rating explanation Will expand the Oakville-Clarkson “air zone” pilot program across Ontario Not addressed Will require information on industrial activities and air emissions be posted on the Ontario Environmental Registry
(Video response)
“Cumulative and aggregate emissions must be reduced before approval of new sources of air emissions.”
4. Will your party make reducing climate-damaging emissions a priority by implementing a cap-and-dividend carbon trading system that will help all Ontarians by making pollution reduction profitable? Yes No Yes Yes
Rating explanation “We are working closely with our partners in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) to develop a cap-and-trade system”
(Video response)
“we will work with other provincial governments, the federal government, and our international partners to ensure Ontario is doing its part to combat climate change.” – Changebook “we will join the Western Climate Initiative so Ontario firms can trade into a continental cap and trade plan”
(Video response)
“The Green Party will prioritize a simple, straight forward price on carbon, modelled after the popular British Columbia system”
(Video response)
5. Will your party implement measures to reduce smog-spewing traffic congestion by reducing single occupant vehicle trips, improving infrastructure for electric vehicles and fully supporting Metrolinx’s Big Move transit plan? Yes No Partial Yes
Rating explanation Support Big Move transit plan; providing electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure support; increasing HOV lanes on highways
(Video response)
“We will stop the war on the car”; “We will respect the unique priorities of individual cities and towns, and give them the ability to choose between roads, bridges, and transit. – Changebook Will freeze transit fares by taking on half the operating cost of transit systems. Will make sure that major new developments are accessible by transit and other active transportation. Will remove the HST from gasoline.
(Video response)
Supports Big Move “in general”; will invest $400 million in tax credits over four years for affordable commuter benefits to support ride sharing and carpooling
(Video response)
6. Will your party expand the boundaries of the Greenbelt in cooperation with willing neighbouring municipalities? Yes No Yes Partial
Rating explanation “Ontario Liberals have established a policy for expanding the Greenbelt in cooperation with willing neighbouring municipalities.”
(Video response)
“[The Greenbelt” was based on
political science and not on environmental science . . . We will look at the legislation again”
Tim Hudak to the Clarington Board of Trade, Jan. 31, 2011.
Will work with willing municipalities to expand Greenbelt and protect citizens from developer “SLAPP” lawsuits designed to silence opposition to new developments
(Video response)
“We will coordinate and consult with farmers, municipalities, and other stakeholders on ways to expand the Greenbelt. The Green Party believes that expansion of the Greenbelt must be done in ways that ensure the financial viability of family farms.”
7. Will your party support increased institutional and government sustainable local food procurement and local food processing? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rating explanation “We are investing $6 million through our Broader Public Sector Investment Fund to help increase the amount of . . . local foods in our municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities and day care centres; We will help secure new markets for Ontario food and create new local food manufacturing opportunities.” “We will have a Buy Ontario food policy. We will lead by example at provincial institutions such as hospitals and schools.” – Changebook “We will introduce legislation requiring Ontario’s government to spend more of taxpayers’ money on local produce.” “We will set a procurement standard for purchasing 40% Ontario food, including sustainable and organically grown food, for all public institutions, with increases over time; We will create a level playing field for all food producers by introducing smart regulations that take the size and scale of businesses into account.”
(Video response)
8. Will your party pass a Great Lakes Protection Act to provide the resources and coordination needed to ensure safe drinking water, clean beaches, protection against invasive species and toxic area clean up in Ontario’s four Great Lakes? Yes No Yes Yes
Rating explanation “We’ll defend Ontario’s precious water resources for future generations
with a Great Lakes Protection Act and launch a fund that will reduce water pollution and make our beaches cleaner.” – Platform, page 44
Platform addresses local river protection, but not the Great Lakes “We will designate a Minister responsible for the protection of the Great Lakes and establish clear objectives and legislation to ensure that decisions by all Ministries protect the quantity and quality of the Lakes.” Support “a Great Lakes Act, implementing the Great Lakes Charter Annex, working to strengthen the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and developing agreements with neighbouring jurisdictions to prevent invasive species.”
9. Will your party retain the Far North Act and ensure that there is comprehensive land-use planning led by First Nations before development in the northern boreal region, including in the Ring of Fire? Yes No No Partial
Rating explanation “We will retain the Far North Act, and its commitment to a First Nations-led land use planning process that is currently engaging nearly 90 per cent of communities in the Far North. And as we move forward with plans to develop the Ring of Fire, we will ensure world-leading environmental standards are in place as part of the planning for this area.”
(Video response)
“A Tim Hudak government will repeal Bill 191, the Far North Act” – Changebook “We will repeal the Far North Act” – Respect for the North; “we must ensure a sustainable future for the North with a planning process that includes open consultation and full land-use planning. We will support sustainable forest management practices in ways that protect jobs and the environment by making sure all parties – workers, First Nations, and municipalities – are at the table.”
(Video response)
“The Green Party has called for revisions to the Far North Act to maximize economic value for Northern communities and to ensure there is a sustainable resource industry today and tomorrow.”
(Video response)
10. Does your party support the Endangered Species Act, including mandatory habitat protection, adequate funding for species recovery, and the integration of innovative approaches to help landowners help species, such as a “Safe Harbour” program? Yes No Partial Partial
Rating explanation Since 2007, the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund has provided $18 million for more than 400 protection and recovery projects. Our government has also provided $2.4 million to the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program; We will also continue to fund species recovery efforts . . . under which we work collaboratively with landowners to promote habitat stewardship through Safe Harbour and other mechanisms.
(Video response)
“we will work with companies to minimize the costs of species protection, and to protect jobs by using the full range of measures under the ESA including screening tools, offsetting of incremental cost, other incentives and selective exemptions. We will also make it easier for farmers to protect their land, water and biodiversity by expand[ing] incentive programs to pay farmers who set aside and protect land (e.g. Alternative Land Use Services).
(Video response)
“The Green Party believes society should share the cost burden of habitat and species protection so that we don’t regulate farmers out of business. The Green Party strongly supports innovative approaches to species protection, such as “Safe Harbour” programs.”
(Video response)