Our vision is about making choices that generate and sustain us in a way that benefits everyone. We can take advantage of the opportunities around us to transition our economy to one that is efficient and sustainable, based on principles of fairness and resilience, with respect for people, communities and the climate.
The economy is not a stand alone system. We depend on the world around us to create the wealth, goods and services that provide us with our standard of living. We must take into consideration not only what we create, but what we leave behind.
Our Green vision for Ontario points us in the direction of a sustainable, renewable and equitable Ontario economy.
Build and Support a Strong Green Workforce
Ontario desperately needs a bold plan to create jobs for the 21st century. We need to replace the 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade.
Ontario must embrace the clean tech and low carbon economy to create the next generation of green middle class jobs – just as so many industrialized countries, states and provinces are already doing. Already in Canada more people work in renewable energy than in the oilsands. In fact, 274,000 Canadians have cleantech jobs with an average salary of $92,000 per year.
Investing in the clean economy is essential to remain competitive and to create a vibrant green middle class.
We can kick start these industries by building on our robust system of skills development and apprenticeships, and by supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs and makers from all parts of society who will power the new green economy.
Support for a Green Building Program to create jobs while helping homeowners, renters and businesses save money by reducing their energy use.
Implement the most efficient and effective carbon pricing mechanism to create market incentives for low carbon products, services and businesses.
Provide incentives for businesses investing in energy efficient and low carbon equipment, buildings and vehicle fleets.
Implement incentives for businesses that participate in training and certification programs in job growth areas such as green building, biomedical technology, renewable energy and sustainable transportation.
Redirect existing business support programs to target the scale up of cleantech companies and innovation. Change criteria of business development programs to eliminate supports for proposals that contribute to an increase in Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution.
Invest in the most cost effective, flexible, modern renewable energy sources.
Review government regulations to ensure the regulatory environment does not create barriers to the adoption of green technologies, practices and businesses.
Establish government procurement rules with criteria to purchase low carbon products and services.
Support businesses focusing on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profits) by amending the Ontario Business Corporations Act to add provisions authorizing incorporation of benefit corporations.
Modernize the Co-operative Corporations Act to reflect current business conditions and to help co-op businesses thrive.
Set up a social enterprise foundation to foster the development of triple bottom line businesses. The fund will provide grants and loans for young people in post-secondary education settings and in the workforce to develop their innovative ideas and bring socially impactful products and services to market.
Create a non-profit sector workforce development strategy and modernized, stable funding model for the non-profit sector to make operations more efficient.
Help new businesses scale up and sustain their growth by supporting the development of new programs that help foster ‘intra-preneurial’ skills encouraging and developing new ideas from within, in a low-risk/high-reward environment.
Support small business development opportunities for ‘senior-preneurs’ both online and through existing Regional Innovation Centres across the province.
Provide an option for employers to receive up-front subsidies when hiring co-op students as an alternative to the Co-operative Education Tax Credits.
Modernize the apprenticeship application process by leveraging the Ontario College Application Service to provide candidates with an electronic, single-entry access to the apprenticeship application and registration process.
Expand and invest in apprenticeship and training programs, including incentives for businesses to participate in apprenticeship, mentoring and co-op programs.
Reduce the ratio of journey people to apprentices to one to one in order to open more jobs and training opportunities for our youth and workers seeking new career options.
Establish a progressive fee schedule based on the earnings opportunities for each trade.
Require Community Benefits Agreements for major infrastructure projects to ensure that public investment brings extensive social and economic benefits, including fair wage jobs, to local communities and businesses.
Conduct a census of vulnerable jobs and economic sectors in the transition to a low carbon, clean economy in order to develop strategies to help those workers and businesses successfully transition to the new economy.
Develop a strategy to ensure that the transition to a low carbon, clean economy benefits workers through retraining, living wages, benefits plans and career opportunities.
Implement border adjustments for carbon pricing to create an even playing field for energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries and their workers.
Establish an Ontario Youth Green Corps to provide summer job experience and foster a culture of stewardship and enterprise in the next generation of young Ontarians, helping young people learn job skills, introducing them to rewarding careers in trades, and fostering leadership.
Offer meaningful incentives for businesses involved with green retrofit, reforestation, and other forms of green economic activity to provide Ontario youth with valuable job experience.
Provide support for young entrepreneurs to start green businesses through online entrepreneurial courses, business modelling workshops and start up capital.
Before I tell you about myself and why I offered to stand for nomination, we need to acknowledge our relationship to this land and its Indigenous Peoples.
We are meeting on the land that has been cared for by many generations of Mitchi Saugig Anishnaabe and their neighbours the Haudenosaune. This land was opened for settlement as a result of the Williams treaty. Every time the land or the water or the air is polluted, that is a violation of the spirit of that treaty. As people who engage in the government of this province, we especially must act so as to honour the treaties and the Indigenous Peoples, and support them in their on-going care of the land.
Part of the reason I moved to Peterborough was that I saw so much care for the environment here. Transition Town, Environmental Science at Trent, Green-Up, such active protest against the Jackson Parkway, such support for local food and local enterprise.
My goal for this campaign is to convince many of those environmentalists that this is the year that voting for the Green Party can really boost their environmental concern in Ontario’s political arena. Maybe they don’t want to change their political affiliation permanently, but they don’t have to. Because having a stronger Green presence in the arena means that all the parties have to get greener. And this year there are several things that make a vote for the Green Party more powerful than before.
1) Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have serious credibility issues.
2) The Green Party leader, Mike Schreiner, has a strong base in Guelph, and has a credible chance of getting elected. He is a very capable organizer, strategizer and speaker, having made a serious impact in the arena without even having a seat in the legislature.
3) Partly as a result of his work on political transparency and fairness, political funding equalization legislation has come in. Big money is barred, and each vote will bring a $2.26 subsidy to the party voted for. This means that each vote for the Green Party this year will help the party build its financial foundation for the next 4 years. The subsidy comes to the local constituency association as well as to central office, and it pays for much more than campaigning. It pays for skill building and research to strengthen the environmentalist voice.
Though it would be quite a surprise if the Green Party won Peterborough and the Kawarthas, I can confidently say that I would be able to represent this community well. I have a master’s degree in Rural Planning and Development from the University of Guelph. Policy analysis and labour market analysis and cost benefit analysis and environmental impact analysis are not strangers to me. I have also built organizations from scratch before. I know how to put a functioning office together and keep a staff working at their best. I can facilitate a strategic planning team and manage the follow-through. I can put together a short, clear speech!
The Green Party of Ontario is committed to being honest about the problems we face and always acting with integrity. We will work to make decisions based on evidence, science and best practises.
Priorities are: 1) Jobs: strengthening local business serving local needs and doing it cleanly. Not giving away our water and mineral resources for peanuts, but supporting locally accountable enterprises;
(2) Housing: mandating one new affordable unit for every 5 new houses or condos, along with other innovative responses. If Medicine Hat in Alberta can eliminate homelessness, then every town in the country can, and there are provincial policies that can help it happen.
(3) Stop poisoning the planet: Reduce climate changing pollution while putting money in your pocket with a carbon dividend. While cap-and-trade is in place, end the free pollution permits for the biggest polluters.
I was a student here at Trent in the 1980s. In Native Studies 101, we read about Grassy Narrows. The mercury poisoning of the water was a crime then, and it is still a crime now. In November, I was shocked to discover that mercury buried in those days is still polluting the Wabigoon River and blighting the lives of the Indigenous People living there. No long-term, consistent monitoring plan for mercury was ever put in place.
This is gross disrespect of the real power of natural systems: mercury is what it is and ignoring it doesn’t make it disappear. It is gross disrespect of the Indigenous People. And this is only one of many examples of gross negligence. There is no excuse for this provincial policy of freedom to pollute. How many generations have to suffer before we learn that lesson? Pointless question. If this generation doesn’t fix this, there won’t be any more generations! The other parties have had generations to get serious about ending pollution. It’s time to try a new crew.
And this year a vote for the Green Party will really count!