No cuts to social programing or eduction or health care or environmental protection including flood control are needed in order to balance the budget. The Green approach to budgeting raises the revenue needed to efficiently provide for human and environmental needs at reasonable cost.
The Green approach
to budgeting uses the fiscal planning process to help the human community
live healthily and happily within the limits of its ecological carrying
This approach asks what nature and human health need us to be doing. It asks who should be paying for this work. It
sets things up so that (1) we don’t do damage that will cost us later and (2) it
is profitable for the private sector to do the work.
provincial government is slashing social programs, privatising health care and
not collecting available revenue. The
previous provincial government also ignored collectable revenue and did not
address root causes, and so costs escalated. Neither of these approaches to fiscal
management makes sense.
The health care
system is a major provincial expense. Yet privatised health care increases
illness by making health care inaccessible. The Green approach focuses on the
root causes of ill-health which are poverty, inadequate housing, and the high
cost of illness-preventing health services such as mental health services,
dental care and medications.
To reduce the
demand on hospitals and policing, we propose using the most efficient income
support and illness prevention strategies, such as Housing First, the Basic
Income Guarantee, covering mental health and dental services through OHIP+, and
using the power of collective purchasing to make necessary drugs available,
that is, Pharmacare.
As was shown in
the budget we published in early May 2018, this would require an initial investment
of 16.73 billion over 4 years to make the adjustment from the current expensive
way of doing things. Eventually health care and policing costs would go down
and we would be able to reallocate the resources, and even reduce taxes. The projected savings from preventing illness
are 4 to 8 billion per year, returning this initial investment within about 8
years (since we don’t know exactly how long it takes for the prevention effect
to kick in). The burden of the initial
investment would be borne by raising revenue from seven sources:
Reinstating half of the previous
governments’ 3% Tax reduction on large corporations: 6.77 billion
Gradual increase on natural resource
royalties: 3.09 billion
Housing speculation tax: 2.18 billion
Collect evaded taxes by following Drummond
Report recommendations: 2.0 billion
Income tax increase on top 1% of earners:
Tobacco tax: 0.96 billion
Portion of the savings from not
implementing the Unfair Hydro Act: 0.18 billion
several cases, these sources also help reduce the problem that we are
addressing. For instance, by taxing
housing speculation, we make it more profitable to get housing back on the
market sooner, reducing the housing crunch. We also make it profitable for
housing speculators to pay for whatever repairs and energy retrofits are needed
to get the houses onto the market, providing local jobs. Taxing tobacco reduces
the amount of ill-health from tobacco smoking. Raising the royalty price of
natural resources encourages producers to reduce waste and stimulates
innovation which often employs more skilled people. Ontario has the lowest royalty levels in
Canada. Instead of giving away the store, we can gradually raise the level to
the same level Saskatchewan has.
course, the Green budget also provides for a major investment in electrified
public transportation which would have knock-on effects of making private
electric cars more affordable as manufacturing capacity improved due to this
market stimulation. In addition to
slowing climate change, this also takes illness-causing pollution out of the
air, further reducing the overall cost of health care in the provincial budget. This major investment is also covered by new
revenue measures which make using fossil fuels and using private transportation
more expensive. This makes the electric and public transportation alternatives
more attractive and profitable. And this approach to transportation employs 5
times more people for the investment than the fossil fuel approach does. Balance the budget, provide improved public
health and transport, increase employment, and save the planet. Jobs, People, Planet.
Now, imagine if we applied this thinking
to building homes and hockey arenas!
We could focuss
provincial economic development support on conserving energy and clean energy
generation. We could require housing and
building programs to meet the net zero standard. That is, buildings generate as much energy as
they use. Hydro bills are very low for such buildings! With this kind of market stimulation, net
zero retrofits will become much more affordable, and more and more people will
be able to get that low hydro bill.
could be the first to figure out how to build an arena that generates its own
energy to freeze the ice and warm the people.
Then all those cities and towns across the USA whose arenas are getting
worn down or expensive to operate would compete to hire Ontario expertise!
sticking with fossil fuel investment, we are missing out on a 7 trillion dollar
a year market for energy conservation and clean energy investment.
Where “development” and “environment” meet: enacting conservation plans. Modeled on the Oakridges Moraine Conservation Act, which protects the water in the Peterborough-Kawartha region, including neighboring ridings, and was passed by a previous Conservative government in 2001, the Green Party’s Bill 71 protects the Paris Galt Moraine. We have video of Mike Schreiner’s introduction of the bill, links and excerpts to the actual text, and links and excerpts of the Oakridges Moraine Conservation 2017 Plan to give you a concrete idea of what this all means.
It’s great to see Mike launching this bill in one of the public conference rooms at the legislature. Here are some of the main points he makes:
— The environmental commissioner of Ontario reported the staggering loss of Ontario’s wetland: 72% in Southern Ontario alone. Also, that raw sewage was dumped into waterways 1327 times.
— The City of Guelph’s water conservation strategies have succeeded in uncoupling population growth from water use. That is, the city’s population can grow without further straining the local fresh water supply. (Wow! It is possible to grow while conserving!) Nevertheless, the city often has to restrict outdoor watering.
— Protecting water is also about protecting agricultural land.
— 200,000 people currently depend on the Paris-Galt Moraine, which doesn’t charge any fee for filtering all the water they drink! If the moraine is contaminated, the cost of human-built water treatment will be prohibitive.
This is the Explanatory Note at the beginning, which tells what the Bill proposes, and will do if passed:
The Bill enacts the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act, 2019 and makes related amendments to several other Acts. The major elements of the Bill are described below.
The Bill allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to establish a Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Plan. The objectives of the Plan are listed in section 4 and broadly deal with ecological concerns for the Paris Galt Moraine Area. The Act sets out requirements for amending the Plan.
The Plan prevails in the case of conflict between the Plan and an official plan, a zoning by-law or a policy statement issued under the Planning Act. Certain municipalities and municipal planning authorities are required to adopt official plan amendments and prepare and pass zoning by-law amendments to comply with the Plan after it has been filed.
The Lieutenant Governor in Council and the Minister are given regulation-making powers with respect to the Plan. The Act prevails in the event of conflict between its provisions and any other general or special Act.
Transitional provisions related to the Act and the Plan are provided. Related amendments are made to several other Acts.
After reading the bill, I still felt that I couldn’t envision what would happen on the land, so I looked up the Oakridges Moraine 2017 Conservation Plan and found out that it maps out areas where certain kinds of development or uses are allowed or restricted or prohibited. The categories are listed below. I feel that our friends on the Guelph side of Toronto deserve the same water and farmland protection that we enjoy. We need to support them by getting signatures on their petition and by communicating with our MPP. Please contact me if you would like to help out. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Land Use Designations of the Oakridges Moraine Conservation Plan 2017
The Plan divides the Moraine into four land use designations: Natural Core Areas (38% of the Moraine), Natural Linkage Areas (24% of the Moraine), Countryside Areas (30% of the Moraine) and Settlement Areas (8% of the Moraine).
Natural Core Areas protect those lands with the
greatest concentrations of key natural heritage features which are
critical to maintaining the integrity of the Moraine as a whole. Only
existing uses, agricultural uses and very restricted new resource
management, low intensity recreational, home businesses, and
infrastructure uses are allowed in these areas.
Natural Linkage Areas protect critical natural
and open space linkages between the Natural Core Areas and along rivers
and streams. The only uses that are allowed are those allowed in Natural
Core Areas, plus some aggregate resource operations.
Countryside Areas provide an agricultural and
rural transition and buffer between the Natural Core Areas and Natural
Linkage Areas and the urbanized Settlement Areas. Prime agricultural
areas as identified in the Agricultural System referred to in the Growth
Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Greenbelt Plan, as well
as natural features are protected. Uses typically allowed in
agricultural and other rural areas are allowed here to support
agriculture and the rural economy. Existing public service facilities in
Countryside Areas should be maintained and adapted to meet the needs of
the community, where feasible.
Within the Countryside Areas, the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Use
Designation Map also identifies and delineates Rural Settlements. These
are existing hamlets or similar small, generally long established
communities that are identified in official plans.
Policies on creating and developing new lots in Natural Core
Areas, Natural Linkage Areas and Countryside Areas are very restrictive.
Exceptions are permitted in the Moraine’s Rural Settlements, the
Palgrave Estates Community, and for limited residential development in
Countryside Areas in the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough and
Northumberland Counties once the municipality has an approved growth
management study and a rural economic development strategy, as well as a
water budget and water conservation plan.
Settlement Areas reflect a range of existing
communities planned by municipalities to reflect community needs and
values. Urban uses and development as set out in municipal official
plans are allowed.
Are you as alarmed about the moves towards privatization as we are? There is so much evidence that public health care is the only efficient way. That’s why the Green Party of Ontario’s platform strengthens it, and puts the emphasis on prevention. And we come close to balancing the provincial budget! Mike Schreiner has launched a campaign to defend public health care. We need to stop starving public health care and embrace Dr. Danielle Martin’s 6 big ideas to improve health care for all Canadians. It is great to see how her ideas match up with Green Party policy.
Big Idea 1: THE RETURN TO RELATIONSHIPS: Ensure relationship-based primary health care for every Canadian
Big Idea 2: A NATION WITH A DRUG PROBLEM: Bring prescription drugs under Medicare
Big Idea 3: DON’T JUST DO SOMETHING, STAND THERE: Reduce unnecessary tests and interventions
Big Idea 4: DOING MORE WITH LESS: Reorganize health care delivery to reduce wait times and improve quality
Big Idea 5: BASIC INCOME FOR BASIC HEALTH: Implement a basic income guarantee
Big Idea 6: THE ANATOMY OF CHANGE: Scale up successful solutions across the country.
On November 6 Gianne Broughton joined Peter Morgan, Tricia Clarkson and Guy Hanchet as a panelist on Trent Radio’s show Pints and Politics.
The panelists explored the most important physical actions our community could take to convert to a low-carbon way of life in response to the looming risk of catastrophic climate. If Peterborough’s new council asked citizens what actions the City should take, what would we suggest?