Voters should not give the Ford government a free pass on the environment – Reuters

Voters should not give the Ford government a free pass on the environment – Reuters

What happened to climate change? The rise in gasoline prices occurred, yes.

Alternatively, how do you explain why the issue that the United Nations says poses a threat to human life on the planet has fallen under Ontario’s voter concern list?

Recently in September, voters told voters that the environment was their main concern. But in the current state elections, the same voters are putting health care, the cost of living, housing and the economy over their minds. Environment and climate change are far behind, with only 8 percent keeping them at the top.

Certainly disappointing, but not a big surprise. When the economy is doing well, people are ready to think about long-term challenges like climate. But as the economy recovers, and especially when energy prices rise, urgent wallet issues come to the fore.

It is human nature to be concerned first about direct threats to your family’s economic security. Who cares about the weather when a gas tank costs $ 100 or more? But this kind of short-term allows politicians who are not fully committed to the fight against climate change from hook.

That is what is happening in Ontario right now, but it should not be so. Ford’s government record on environmental issues is bad, and it should be front and center with voters deciding who to trust when they go to the polls on June 2.

It may be hard to remember after the last two years of this tragedy, but the first decision by the Conservatives of Development when they took office in 2018 was to reverse the Liberal government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions through a barrier to trade. They then fought with federal authorities in court over the issue, spending millions and eventually losing in the Supreme Court.

As environmentalist Mark Winfield wrote in the Star last week, that was just an attraction. The government also canceled about 758 renewable energy contracts, canceled the office of the regional environmental commissioner, abolished extinction laws, reduced funding for conservation efforts, rewritten planning laws to favor developers and undermined pollution regulations. of industrial water.

Oops, and is moving forward at full speed with plans to build 413 Highway north of GTA, clearing hundreds of acres of farmland and a green belt along the way. It also pushes other major road projects.

It is not just environmental activists and columnists who have looked at all of this with due concern. The Ontario Auditor General warned in 2020 that the government was not taking sufficient steps to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He followed this up the following year by discovering that the government was failing to meet the requirements of consulting with the public on major environmental decisions.

It is a sad record, and with current trends, it is likely to be even worse. As Marco Chown Oved and Jacob Lorinc recently reported to the Star, greenhouse gas emissions from the Ontario energy system are expected to increase by more than 400% over the next two decades as a direct result of the cancellation of these renewable energy contracts. That is according to an official prediction from the Ontario Crown, Ontario, the world’s largest power system operator.

The reason is that Ontario must shut down its nuclear power plant at Pickering, which captures 16 percent of the state’s electricity consumption by 2025. With renewable energy is no longer available, the state will have to increase its natural gas production. plants give a difference. This will significantly increase GHG emissions and undermine Canada’s commitment to reduce emissions at the same time.

As Jack Gibbons, president of the Ontario Air Force, told Star, “We are heading in the wrong direction.

All opposition parties come up with credible plans to turn the tide and take serious environmental / climate issues seriously.

The Green Party, as its name implies, is the most ambitious, with a comprehensive $ 65 billion plan to build a greener and more sustainable economy. The new Democrats and Liberals will be moving towards zero air supply, with different combinations of alternative energy, conservation measures, building public transport and supporting electric vehicles. They would all cancel the 413 Road project.

But the two main opposition parties know which way the wind is blowing. They know that voters are focused on wallet issues, especially rising prices. They can see through the Ford government’s explicit attempt to bribe voters by cutting license fees at a cost of $ 1 billion, but they can’t offer to condemn the deal.

Ultimately, it depends on the voters themselves. If they set aside environmental priorities whenever the economic outlook weakens, they can expect politicians, at least most of them, to do the same. An alternative is to have a long-term view and realize that saving a few dollars now at a future cost is a gamble that will not pay off.

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