GETTING SERIOUS about tackling greenhouse gases has to start with dramatically cutting emissions from Ontario’s transportation sector, the province’s environmental watchdog warned recently.
In releasing his latest update on efforts to curb climate change-inducing emissions in Ontario, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller told reporters at Queen’s Park the biggest sector emitter of greenhouse gases has witnessed the smallest efforts at reducing GHGs.
“The biggest section is transportation emissions and that’s a section where we have achieved only miniscule changes,” Miller said. “The growth in transportation means our emissions are increasing from the 1990 base.”
Since 1990 — the baseline year (Read more…)
But only a little bit. And only because her campaign is being criticized from within.
As I noted in a recent post, Ontario NDP leader Andrea’s Horwath’s hubris following what almost everyone else would call a failed Ontario election campaign has been both unseemly and wholly unjustified. She initially avowed that she had no regrets about causing the election, terming it a success despite the fact her party lost key Toronto ridings and, more importantly, the balance of power. However, now that she is being publicly taken to task by both Peter Julian and Cheri DiNovo, Horwath seems to (Read more…)
SO MUCH OF THE THINKING around climate change has evolved since 2007 that Ontario’s seven-year-old climate action plan is now “irrelevant” according to Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller.
In releasing Looking for Leadership: The Costs of Climate Inaction this morning, Miller said the province has been a leader in the climate file but has not kept up with the changing social, scientific and economic dynamics of climate change since Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan was released in 2007.
In particular, Miller identified four areas where society and science have moved beyond the baseline assumptions about climate change it held seven years (Read more…)
A $400,000 ASIAN CARP science lab was opened by Public Works Minister Diane Finley Monday as part of $17.5 million committed by Ottawa to fight the spread of this aquatic invasive species.
Captured grass carp at Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans research lab in Burlington, ON (Andrew Reeves)
The new lab in Burlington, Ontario — which is housed in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Canada Centre for Inland Waters — will allow sample testing to be done in Canada rather than relying on genetic testing of water samples to be done in the United States to identify Asian carp DNA (Read more…)
The other day, while watching some reactions to the Ontario Throne Speech, I couldn’t help but note a truculent and smug Andrea Horwath, the leader of an NDP party now diminished by her foolish decision not to support a progressive budget, thereby triggering an election that few wanted. She opined that the now-majority Liberal government will have to make massive cuts in order to balance the budget by 2017-18. Indeed, she called the speech a Trojan Horse plan.
Who knows? She may be right, but the fact that she gambled and lost the leverage her party enjoyed in the legislature (Read more…)
IN ANNOUNCING her new cabinet last week, Premier Kathleen Wynne has charged former Transportation Minister Glen Murray with taking over Ontario’s newly revamped environment ministry.
Murray, the sitting MPP for Toronto Centre and former mayor of Winnipeg, assumed command of the environment ministry from veteran MPP Jim Bradley who is Ontario’s longest-serving environment minister after eight years on the job in two separate stints.
Wynne has also asked Murray to take on a new challenge, perhaps the most pressing issue facing the planet in the 21st century: climate change. No, Murray won’t be tasked with single-handedly solving the world’s shifting (Read more…)
To listen to post-election Ontario Tories and to take them at their word would suggest that the lot of them were simply dupes of Machiavellian forces over which they had no control. Up to and including the day of the election, they all appeared to be solidly behind their leader and his plans. After their abject failure to win the hearts and minds of Ontarians, that narrative quickly changed, most notably in Lisa MacLeod’s disavowal of both her leader and his program.
The latest exercise in what many would describe as arrant hypocrisy was evident in newly-appointed Tory interim leader (Read more…)
A coalition of worried environmental groups is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to refrain from transferring provincially owned land in Scarborough to Ottawa over fears that ecological protections in Bill C-40, the Rouge National Urban Park Act, are substantially weaker than those already in place.
Days after the federal Conservatives called C-40 for second reading debate on June 19, Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Friends of the Rouge Watershed issued a joint release saying the bill from Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq “fails to meet the standards needed for a sustainable national park that respects conservation science.”
The bill (Read more…)
The other day I wrote a commentary on recently re-elected Nepean-Carlton Ontario Progressive Conservative Lisa MacLeod. In a thinly-disguised job application/op-ed piece for the Star, Ms. MacLeod talked about what is needed for revitalized leadership of her party, brought to electoral ruin by the soon-to-be-departed leader Tim Hudak. Perhaps not surprisingly, MacLeod’s prescription for renewal seemed to reflect her ‘skillset.’
It is a self-assessment with which not everyone agrees. In today’s Toronto Star, two letter-writers point out what the party needs, and their prescriptions do not seem to include Ms. MacLeod:
Re: Ontario Tories need fresh leadership, Opinion June (Read more…)
I’ll say right off the top that I am no fan of recently re-elected Ontario Progressive Conservative Lisa MacLeod, and not just because she is a member of what has become an extremist party. Her embrace of the politics of division, her strident hyper-partisanship, and now, post-election, her hypocrisy, rankle.
Tim and Lisa in happier times
Ostensibly a staunch supporter of her leader up to and during the election, now Ms. MacLeod, a rumoured leadership hopeful, has dramatically changed her tune. In an op-ed in today’s Toronto Star, entitled Ontario Tories need fresh leadership, she offers the (Read more…)
We know Kathleen Wynne likes to run, but this spring she was running against 10 years of baggage, a widespread time for a change sentiment, and more scandals than the opposition could fit in a 30-second TV spot. Luckily, she was also running against Tim Hudak.
Given these challenges, the election was Hudak’s for the taking (or Horwath’s – more on that later). Out of the gate, he claimed control of the agenda, dominating the headlines every day. This was a page out of the Harper 2005 Playbook, when he took a break from Gomery to announce his (Read more…)
Is Justin Trudeau finished because Kathleen Wynne just won in Ontario, like the mainstream media’s pundits are telling you? Don’t be too sure! (Say, as one Twitter commenter asked, who is that old man with Mr. Trudeau?) Below: The same guy with NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Weird! Below them: Lawrence Martin and Tim Harper.
It’s certainly true that the Ontario Liberals are going to miss Progressive Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak. He was a gift that kept on giving.
But their federal cousins, and the federal NDP as well, can take comfort. They still have Stephen Harper.
So it’s (Read more…)
Despite being a nonpartisan lefty, during the campaign I wasn’t particularly kind to the NDP. I derided the choice to call an election as a gamble that risked either a fairly horrible outcome (Hudak forming government), or a relatively small loss (slightly less influence within a majority Liberal government) for a relatively small gain (slightly more influence within a minority Liberal government). I wasn’t impressed with their “small” platform. And I wasn’t impressed with their strategy.
However, despite this negativity from me, at the end of the day I can’t really blame the NDP for calling an election, even if (Read more…)
Ontario’s victorious Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne last summer. Below: Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.
Well! That didn’t work out quite as well as we’d hoped, did it? Can we get back to being New Democrats now?
I speak, of course, of the results of last night’s Ontario provincial election – in which it seems to me from my vantage point out here on the Great Plains that there are lessons in the vote for New Democrats in the west and the New Democrats in Ottawa too.
I realize that the great Canadian tradition of (Read more…)
Obviously some of the onus is on voters to research candidates, platforms, and issues, and to think for themselves about who and what they want to cast their ballot for. That being said, the opportunity to engage with a candidate one-on-one can have a tremendous impact on voter intention – it certainly has for me in the past. With that in mind, I wanted to assess the efforts of the candidates in my riding in the 2014 Ontario General Election campaign, omitting the efforts that I have made on my own end to engage and learn about each campaign:
Unfortunately, for those of us who think that some form of Liberal-NDP election deal or coalition would be vastly superior to the PCs forming a government with the largest minority, Kathleen Wynne has said that she won’t form a coalition with the NDP. Unsurprisingly, as this move changes the possible outcomes, it also has an effect on strategic voting.
For most ridings, this has little effect. Either the riding is “safe” with the outcome largely determined. In this situation one can vote for any number of different reasons but doing it explicitly to strategically prevent the PCs from winning need (Read more…)
The NDP has sent several emails to supporters before and during the campaign premised on the idea that the best way to stop the Conservatives is to vote for the NDP. Here is the latest: “This election, there is one simple trick you can use to stop a Conservative majority: vote strategically.
We’ve heard about strategic voting before – casting your ballot to stop a conservative government.
This election, strategic voting is important. Stopping Tim Hudak’s plan to kill 100,000 middle class jobs is critical.
Here in Brampton-Springdale, there’s no doubt: the strategic vote is NDP.
In (Read more…)
I’ve always advocated for strategic voting on this blog where we vote based on promoting certain goals given the constraints of both our local riding and the broader election. This can take many forms; for instance, in “safe” ridings where the outcome is all but determined I often advocate voting for third parties that help to push the relative importance of particular issues. In contrast, in closer, contested ridings, I am often going to stick closer to making sure the better of the two likely winners has the better shot. Or perhaps we have a particularly powerful local candidate who (Read more…)
I don’t know what the optimal corporate tax rate is. I suspect neither does anyone. I believe there is reasonable evidence out there that given the kinds of goals and values we likely share, that a somewhat higher corporate tax rate is preferred, but what exactly that rate is – what the Game Theoretically Optimal or GTO rate is, I don’t know.
Among the Ontario parties, the Liberals want to keep the tax rate fixed at the new 11.5% level they have introduced since being in power. The PCs want a 30% (3.5 percentage points) further reduction. The (Read more…)
My initial (biased) impressions of the debate are:
- As someone who is supporting the OLP, I’d have much preferred if Wynne had started stronger, but the first two topics were always going to be the tough ones, and I’m not sure whether I’d have done much better. I did think she recovered after that and “held the line” as it were. I don’t think she was struck with any fatal blow per se. I know on social media some people were commenting on Premier Wynne’s hand movements, but I’ve always found Ms. Wynne to be a demonstrative person; she (Read more…)
… or so it would appear from the latest polling. Ekos had a 5 pt OLP lead yesterday, while Abacus had a 2 or 7 pt OLP lead (depending on their likely voter or all voter screen), and today Nanos finally enters the polling arena. The Nanos polling company has been promoting their Power Index stuff for awhile, so it takes some time to scroll down and find the actual poll results. but the OLP leads by 6.5% (and at 37.7%) when you do eventually find it.
What does that mean for tonight’s debate? It’s the last chance (Read more…)
By now, most people in Ontario will have gotten their voting cards, or will shortly.
If you live in Ontario, regardless of who you support, I encourage you to go out and vote. There are plenty of people literally dying in the world fighting to have the right to live in a democracy and be able to pick their leaders this way. We should not take our rights for granted.
Fight cynicism, learn the issues and vote for who you think best represents your views, and help keep our democracy healthy.
Black bear. (Flickr photo by Casey Brown)
JUST OVER HALFWAY through the reintroduced six-week spring bear hunt, which runs from May 1 to June 15, the province of Ontario has issued close to 2,300 licenses for black bears.
Unfortunately, the Ministry of Natural Resources has no idea how many of those licences will be used this spring, and how many were requested for use in the fall.
Each license entitles an Ontario resident hunter to kill one black bear in 2014, but would-be hunters are not required to specify whether they intend to tag a bear in spring or during (Read more…)
Environment Minister Jim Bradley and Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti speak with reporters at Queen’s Park. June, 2013. (Photo by Andrew Reeves)
SO WE KEEP WAITING.
Ontario’s environmental community had reason for optimism when Kathleen Wynne assumed leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party in January 2013, knowing the new premier was more progressive than her predecessor Dalton McGuinty and perhaps more inclined to want to beef up the Liberals’ green cred.
But with an election called for June 12, hopes for sweeping new green legislation on everything from protecting the Great Lakes to improving recycling rates have been dashed. (Read more…)