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FORUM: The Green Party’s platform (Election Special 2018)

May 29th, 2018 · 1 Comment

Focus on innovative measures and renewable energy

By Tim Grant

I have lived all my life in our new riding of University-Rosedale. My involvement as a teenager in the fight against the Spadina Expressway propelled me into a lifetime focus on local and provincial issues. For the past 15 years, I have served on the board of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association, one of the most active residents’ associations in the city, chairing the organization for the last seven years.

In this election, we have a choice. We have two parties that will fund new programs by adding to our debt, one party that will cut social programs, and another option: the Green Party. Here are a few examples of how we Greens approach some of our current challenges.

Rather than taking on debt, let’s look for stable sustainable sources of new revenue to pay for the things we need.

Capture new sources of revenue to help pay for the services we need. As I’ve previously written in the Gleaner, we supported Toronto City Council’s request for road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway. Had the province agreed, tolls would now provide $350 million annually to the Toronto Transit Commission. A $2 per day parking surcharge in commercial lots across the Greater Toronto Area would raise $2 billion a year for transit. If we increase royalties charged for the extraction of groundwater, gravel, and minerals, we can raise billions of dollars to pay for dental care and other new programs. Rather than taking on debt, let’s look for stable sustainable sources of new revenue to pay for the things we need.

Replace aging nuclear generators with clean green energy. Expensive nuclear refurbishments, perpetually over budget, are a major factor in hydro rate increases. The other three parties are willing to borrow now to lower electricity rates, leaving it to the next generation to pay for today’s wasteful consumption. We want hydro bills that don’t hide the real cost of electricity. If we replace nuclear with green energy, our electricity bills are going to be lower. We would close the 47-year-old Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and replace its power with safe low-cost hydro from Quebec, and renewable energy and conservation programs here in Ontario.

Fight poverty with innovative measures. Let’s implement a guaranteed annual income, which would remove the stigma experienced by those on social assistance and provide stability for everyone in a time when jobs are increasingly precarious. Let’s make sure that 20 per cent of all units in new condominiums are affordable. With rich and poor on the same elevator, we’ll have healthier communities. Finally, let’s copy European governments and focus on preventative health care. We would tax junk food to pay for school food programs — reducing child hunger — and ensure that those on social assistance receive a monthly $200 fruit-and-vegetable supplement.

Such measures will improve public health, and the savings in health care costs can be used to fund a wider array of health services.

Merge Catholic and public school boards. It is time to have kids of all faiths (and no faiths) growing up side by side.

Merging the boards would save $1 billion every year for use in reducing class sizes and repairing school buildings.

License local businesses to sell cannabis. With legalization around the corner, our goal should be to ensure public safety and capture revenue to fund health care and other programs.

Licensing only 40 Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) outlets this year and 120 within two years (only nine in Toronto) is not going to eliminate the black market or raise significant revenue. Let’s learn from our experience of supporting craft breweries against the beer monopolies and license local businesses to supplement LCBO sales.

Making significant progress on any of these issues will require a Green Party voice in the legislature. For years, I have worked on long-term solutions to enhance our downtown communities. It would be an honour to continue that work as your MPP.

Tim Grant is the Green Party of Ontario candidate in University-Rosedale.



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Tags: Annex · Opinion

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