Hamilton 350 Committee

Election Action

More than just another election issue

2022 gives us the opportunity to make our voices heard provincially (in June) and municipally (in October).

Media polls ask us to prioritize the issues: the economy, healthcare, the environment, immigration, housing, childcare and so on, as though we have a choice when it comes to the survival of the planet as we know it. But climate destabilization underpins everything. It’s true that forest fires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes are not new but the rate and scale at which they’re happening is unprecedented and foreshadows a tipping point that could change the planet forever.

The resulting global depression would make our ability to tweak the economy and underpin our social safety net wishful thinking. This is a huge wake-up call for us, but what are we doing about it? How come our leaders are burying their heads in the sand?

A JUST TRANSITION NOW!

We need a Just Transition to a green society, one that meets the challenge of the climate crisis head on, leaving no one behind. Recent polls in Canada show that a strong majority of people are ready for this shift.

Let’s start flexing our collective muscle at the polling stations and elect leaders who are prepared to take the necessary action. Join the effort to install politicians at Hamilton City Hall and the Ontario Legislature who understand the issue and are committed to taking action!

Watch this space for information on upcoming events, candidate profiles, and more as we approach the 2022 elections.

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.

This is a group of volunteer stakeholders and scientists who report to the public about the state of biodiversity in the province.

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.

This was a youth-led climate lawsuit that is challenging the province for failing to act effectively on climate change.

They claimed they were going to hire a new one but have never done so.