Best of Green: Business & Politics

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Best Regional Politician: Dalton McGuinty

The citizens of Ontario, Canada really didn't expect much when they elected Dalton McGuinty in one of those "throw the bums out" elections in 2003. Were they in for a surprise.

Since then, the change has been extraordinary: He invested in the health care system, banned junk food in schools, prohibited smoking just about anywhere (including private cars if children under 15 are in them), removed taxes on bikes, brought in free immunizations, protected boreal forests, instituted wine and liquor bottle deposit returns, changed the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples. On the energy front: He also closed coal fired power plants and promised to eliminate coal from the province by 2014, changed the rules to encourage alternative energy, and is introducing a controversial but important green energy plan. Not only that but he declared a green belt the size of the Province of Prince Edward Island; and recently announced a massive investment in rapid transit for Toronto.

Unlike the "checks and balances" in American government, in Canada if you have a majority government you can pretty much do what you want. Dalton McGuinty has consistently used that power to make this province greener, to control development and to try and fix our energy problems. Some have accused him of turning us into a nanny state; others of not doing nearly enough. However I do think it is fair to say that he has surprised us all with an extraordinary list of accomplishments and more in the works. --Lloyd Alter

photo: Joshua Sherurcji via Wikipedia

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