Ontario goes to the polls tomorrow; who should people vote for?
Ontario, Canada is bigger than Texas with a population bigger than Ohio's. The election that's happening on June 12 matters beyond its borders. If you live in Ontario and care about the environment, you have a really tough decision to make.
Not that it is tough to decide whether to vote for the Progressive Conservatives led by Tim Hudak; that's easy. Hudak would close down renewable resources like solar and wind; rip up the greenbelt policies controlling land use; kill surface rail in favor of subways that he won't pay for and pay for highways instead. He gets his advice from American economists like Benjamin Zycher who hates the "environmental left" and Earth Day and writes things like :
As counterintuitive as it may seem, increased reliance on wind and solar power will hurt the environment, not because of such phony issues as endangered cockroaches, used by the environmental left as a tool with which to obstruct the renewable energy projects that they claim to support. Instead, this damage will be real, in the form of greater air pollution.
The real problem is deciding among the alternatives. The Liberal government, formerly led by Dalton Mcguinty (our best of green regional politician back in 2009) was run out of office because of coal and wind, and in our Parliamentary system, Kathleen Wynne was elected by the party as the new Premier and is in her first election as leader of a minority government, kept in power by the New Democratic Party (NDP.) The NDP refused to support her recent progressive, almost NDP budget, and the government fell.
Now a whole lot of NDP supporters (like me) are angry with the party and leader Andrea Horwath, and its populist stances. I particularly dislike reducing cutting taxes on energy, just pandering to peoples wallets when energy costs still don't reflect externalities.
Poor Mike Schreiner of the green party has a tough road ahead. The greens do not have a seat in the House, and in the first-past-the-post system it is unlikely they will win one this time. He is being ignored by the media and squeezed out in the polarizing vote that is coming down to stategic voting, where the anybody-but-Hudak vote could cost the NDP a lot of seats.
Environmental charities and NGOs are not allowed to take political positions in Canada, and the Conservative federal government has been threatening those fighting the tar sands with the loss of charitable status. It is a touchy issue so 20 of them got together to form Green Prosperity, to look at the party platforms and help voters decide. They should have also hired a graphic designer, their format is really dumb but the content is useful. They are kind enough to include the Green Party so I didn't have to splice on the answers like I did with the photo.
They look at issues of transit, biodiversity, energy costs, even the state of Ontario bees. It's a good place to start.
As for me, I am not voting strategically. I don't get to vote for the Premier, just for our local member of Parliament and Jonah Schein has been a terrific MPP. The Liberals say that a vote for the NDP is a vote for Hudak, but Jonah is too good to lose.