This morning I had the pleasure of helping Environmental Defence and their Come Clean project. With the federal election behind us, the focus in Ontario is now on the provincial election coming up in October. There's no time like the present to get both our newly elected federal officials and the provincial candidates to Come Clean and provide straight answers on where they stand on environmental issues. How do we get their attention? Air their dirty laundry on the front lawn at Queen's Park (home to Ontario's provincial parliament).
The dirty bed sheet reads, "Bed bugs, bed bugs, everywhere! ... Why, you might ask? Well that's because a year ago our Nanny Premier Dalton McGuinty banned pesticide use across the province." - Conservative MPP Randy Hillier. For those of you who didn't hear, Toronto had a bed bug outbreak in the winter, and Premier McGuinty banned pesticides in 2009. Mr. Hillier thinks the latter is to blame for the former, ignoring three facts: (1) the ban makes exceptions when public health and safety are in jeopardy; (2) several pesticide products are still approved for use; and (3) businesses may only use these products once licensed. Most importantly, our rivers and lakes are being kept clean of cancer-causing toxins. We should thank Premier McGuinty for being a good nanny! As for Mr. Hillier, he's got some laundry to do.
Top: "The information we have acquired will help us and wind developers make better-informed decisions on offshore wind power projects." - then Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield. In 2008, Minister Cansfield announced that the Ontario Liberals were lifting a moratorium on offshore wind farms that was put in place in 2006. Notably, the government was going to establish a partnership with various organizations that strive to protect migratory birds. But then (bottom), Environment Minister John Wilkinson said that "[offshore wind] requires a cautious approach until the science of environmental impact is clear." We heard this earlier this year, when the Liberals reversed the 2008 decision and will again put a halt to wind power development for another two years. They claim that this is about seeking more scientific evidence, but I think we all know what they're really seeking is votes this October!
It's not just the Liberals and Conservatives making no sense, though. Above, NDP MPP Peter Kormos is quoted as saying, "Wind turbines could end up being the biggest financial and corporate scam the province has witnessed since eHealth." Mr. Kormos has also publicly backed complaints from anti-wind groups! Strange, I thought the NDP's official stance was to advocate for an aggressive transition to renewable energy?
And then there was the leader of the Ontario Conservatives, Tim Hudak. Oh, Mr. Hudak. Hoping to be elected Premier this fall, just yesterday he promised that "an Ontario PC government will end the sweetheart Samsung deal ... [and] will end the FIT program." Mr. Hudak wants to kill a deal with Samsung that is set to create tens of thousands of jobs in the wind and solar energy industries. Would that initially save money? Yes. Would that help save struggling economies in places like Windsor that have been devastated by the auto industry crash? No. Mr. Hudak also wants to kill the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program which provides stable prices within long-term contracts to developers of clean energy, effectively stimulating the renewable energy industry while helping Ontario phase out its coal-fired power plants. Last, but certainly not least, Mr. Hudak has stated that "it's not a Greenbelt; it's a 'greenbotch'." He's referring to one of the world's largest areas to be permanently protected from urban development and sprawl: the ecologically sensitive Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. Why anyone would oppose the preservation of such beautiful green space, farmland, forests, wetlands, and watersheds is beyond me. Are we not already taking up enough space? Please Ontario, don't elect this man in October.
To learn more about Come Clean project, check out the project website. Meanwhile, what do you think? Please share your reactions!