Hamilton 350 Committee

Transportation Action

Once known as the Political Action subcommittee, we’ve rebranded this as Transportation Action. We chose to focus on free, frequent and clean public transit during the municipal elections in October 2022, in conjunction with the Hamilton chapter of the Council of Canadians. and we believe this is a goal worth pursuing over the long term. Besides, political action is at the core of everything we do. 

What are the benefits?

For transit riders:

  • More reliably frequent service, aided by efficiency through all-door entry, no fare collection, and elimination of fare disputes.

For car drivers:

  • Fewer cars on the road resulting in less congestion and more parking spaces.
  • Relief from high gas prices.
  • A more viable option to downsize to one car.
  • Less taxiing around of kids and other family members.

For everyone:

  • Reduced greenhouse gases and better air quality.
  • Increased safety for pedestrians and cyclists.


  • $1100+ in savings for students and low income workers.
  • Improved access to medical and employment opportunities.
  • More equitable access to the necessities of life, including green spaces.
  • Elimination of area rating, where suburbs that can afford more pay less.
  • A reduction in the massive subsidies for cars.

How can we pay for it?

While more analysis is needed to produce a working economic model, here are a few possibilities:

  • Use the provincial/federal gas tax revenue for transit, as was intended. Much of Hamilton’s share is currently allocated to road maintenance. This share would also rise as ridership increases.
  • Elimination of fare collection and administration, as well as the 9 per cent cut that goes to Presto.
  • Additional tax revenue from the elimination of area rating.
  • Allocating advertising revenue from the HSR to the HSR.
  • Use of funds diverted from other municipal departments, such as road maintenance, the police budget, and so on.

This is not a new idea. Hamilton would not be breaking new ground in implementing this. As reported in The New York Times, around 100 cities worldwide have already implemented free transit

Here in Canada, the Town of Orangeville launched a two-year fare-free transit pilot project in January 2023 and the City of Ottawa is currently investigating the idea.

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Doug Ford and Other Climate and Conservation Calamities

As we go to the polls in June 2022 to elect another provincial government, consider some of the ways in which Doug Ford has been a disaster for Ontario’s environment:

The Ontario Environmental Commissioner Office (Dr Dianne Saxe) had been in place for 25 years and had issued frequent independent reports to the public and the legislature about the environmental policies and records of the government. Ford’s first step was getting rid of the watchdog so he could trash what he pleased.

The program had been in place for three years and was collecting over $2 billion a year from large carbon emitters with the monies allocated entirely to climate projects. As a result, Ontario became subject to the federal carbon fee and rebate program but provincial monies to cut emissions were lost.

These included solar rooftops on schools, libraries and municipal buildings. Some already-constructed windmills were even torn down! Renewable energy was dealt a huge setback despite being cheaper than fossil sources.

The war-chest for this legal fight to stop climate action was $30 million. It was accompanied by special gas pump stickers ordered installed to “explain” that the piddling carbon fee was the cause of higher gas prices.

Ford plans to ramp up electricity GHG emissions by 40% by 2030, which means that electricity for vehicles and home heat pumps will not be emission free.

This latest scheme to encourage more driving and more auto use is costing the province $1 billion a year (equivalent to hiring 12,000 new registered nurses).

This will reduce the ability of the CAs to protect wetlands, streams, forests and other natural features. It will shift more power to Ford’s cabinet and impose provincial appointees.

Environmental Assessments concluded years ago that these projects are not justified and will make congestion and emissions much worse. But they will “open up” more lands owned by Ford’s developer friends.

A new option for those threatening the survival of species so depleted they have been classified as endangered. Now instead of firm protection, you can just make a payment into a government fund.

As well as cancelling the electric vehicle rebate, Ford removed charging station requirements from the building code, and actually ripped out some already installed charging stations. Ontario had been providing up to $5000 per electric vehicle to encourage their adoption. This was gone as of the first summer of Ford’s administration.

Long standing requirements to evaluate environmental and social impacts of projects were eliminated for most projects.

Major push to force urban boundary expansions—including in Hamilton—to benefit big developers and build onto farmland. Planning rules were-written, density requirements reduced, and municipalities forced to accommodate 30 years of growth immediately.

As of December 2021, repealed the Toxics Reduction Act that was designed to curb the use, creation and release of toxic substances.

Reduced funding to Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, including for emergency forest firefighting.

This at the same time that flooding worsens because of climate change.

CELA assists citizens’ ability to enforce environmental laws.

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This is a non-profit that helps more than three dozen Indigenous communities protect endangered wildlife and natural resources.

This program had planted 27 million trees since 2011. Funding was replaced by the federal government.

Issued over fifty Ministerial Zoning Orders that override all planning rules, including the public’s right to comment on and appeal significant changes. Many MZOs affect wetlands and environmentally significant lands and waters.

When legally challenged, the government retroactively changed the Provincial Policy Statement to exempt MZOs so they don’t even have to follow the standard rules.

Tried to open up the Green Belt to development (eventually withdrawn). Most of the Greenbelt Council resigned in protest over the changes to Conservation Authorities.

Unilaterally slashed Toronto City Council seats in half in the middle of the 2019 municipal election.

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