On May 25, 2018 our organization sent out the following 10 questions to the leaders of the Green, NDP, Liberal and Conservative Parties. Two of the parties, the New Democrats and the Green Party of Ontario have sent their responses which we will post below. Should the Liberal and Progressive Parties answer our questionnaire before Election Day we will be happy to post their responses as well.
1. Affordable Housing
The federal government has announced a national housing strategy to build affordable housing over the next decade, and it requires provincial participation and funding. Will you continue/not continue the affordable housing initiatives undertaken by the current provincial government?
2. Child Care
The provincial government has proposed to provide free child care for children two and a half years and older. Will you continue or discontinue this program?
3. Property Taxes for Cultural Hubs
The current provincial government agreed to lower property taxes for cultural hubs such as 401 Richmond Street West in Toronto and has shown an interest in further tax reforms to protect retail strips with smaller merchants.Would you reconsider provincial tax policy to allow these programs?
4. School Boards and Taxation Powers
Does your party favour school boards being granted supplementary taxation powers?
The Downtown Relief Line is the key subway priority for Toronto. Would you be willing/not willing to invest in this as a high priority?
6. Cycling Strategy
The provincial government announced a Provincial Cycling Network Plan in 2016 using cap and trade funds. Will you continue or discontinue this program?
7. Protection and Enlargement of the Greenbelt
Do you support the current permanent protection provided by the Greenbelt? Do you support its expansion?
8. OMB Reform
The Ontario government recently implemented the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) as a true appeal body to replace the OMB.
a) Do you agree with this change? Would you alter this tribunal in any way?
b) Do you agree or disagree with the change intended: to restore the role of municipalities in land use planning?
c) Part of the LPAT program is support for communities to prepare for hearings. Currently an office has been set up in Toronto. Would you have this as a central office serving the entire province or will you have regional offices to provide this
9. Environmental Protection
a) Would you strengthen or ease the rules and regulations governing environmental protection in Ontario?
b) Aside from carbon taxes and cap and trade, what other measures does your party advocate to deal with climate change?
c) Does your party advocate any measures for protecting mature trees on private property?
10. Election Reform – Ranked Ballots
In 2016 the provincial government adopted legislation permitting municipalities to adopt ranked balloting for local elections.
a) Do you favour making ranked balloting mandatory at the municipal level?
b) Does your party advocate any other reforms in how municipal elections are conducted?
Green Party of Ontario
We will continue to support the development of Canada’s National Housing Strategy: A Place to Call Home.
We will also take further steps to make housing more affordable. We will require all new developments to have a minimum of 20% affordable units. And we will also invest an additional $200 million over projected increases in the 2018 Provincial Budget in funding for shelters, social, co-op and supportive housing.
We support phasing in funding for a comprehensive program for early childhood education and care to support free daycare for working parents with children under age three, support for stay-at-home parents, and additional ECE supports.
Property taxes for cultural hubs
Yes. We are supportive of tax policies that will allow relief for cultural hubs that are important in creating vibrant local communities.
Yes. We think that the downtown relief line in Toronto is a transit priority. We support increasing funding for public transit infrastructure by $1 to $1.5 billion per year over projections in the 2018 budget and will fund 50% of the operating costs of municipal transit systems.
We support establishing a permanent long-term sustainable funding stream for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure for all Ontario municipalities. We will dedicate 5% of the transportation budget for walking and cycling infrastructure, a total of $2.18 billion over four years.
Protection and enlargement of the Greenbelt
We support the permanent protection of the Greenbelt, as well as a 1.5 million acre expansion to include major river systems and source water regions in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
Over the years, the GPO consistently called for an overhaul or the abolition of the OMB. We are supportive of restoring the role of municipalities in land-use planning decisions, but we are concerned that the reforms have not gone far enough to protect the people and places we love in our communities. We do support more regional offices to help communities prepare for hearings.
We need to strengthen rules to protect our environment to ensure the sustenance of our natural resources and wildlife for future generations.
We support the goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. To do this, we will invest in building retrofits to improve energy conservation efforts, invest in green infrastructure, work to phase out internal combustion engines, rapidly build and electrify public transit, incentivize low-carbon businesses and cleantech, support small community renewable energy projects, and set aggressive GHG targets. We have extensive plans to address climate change and you can read more about them in our Vision for Ontario at www.gpo.ca/vision/planet and our platform at www.gpo.ca/platform.
We support Forest Ontario’s tree planting goals and will expand the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program to reward landowners for planting and protecting trees on their property.
Yes. We support using ranked ballots in municipal elections and proportional representation in provincial elections. We also support extending the right to vote in municipal and provincial elections to permanent residents so that they, too, can have a say in how their tax dollars are spent.
New Democratic Party of Ontario
For 15 years, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals watched the housing affordability crisis grow and did nothing. Too many people can’t afford to live – to rent or buy – in the neighbourhood they grew up in.
The Conservatives and the Liberals downloaded the costs of social housing onto municipalities with no way to pay for it. Now, thousands of affordable and social homes are crumbling and unsafe.
The Ontario NDP recognizes housing as a human right.
We will sign onto the federal National Housing Strategy, and we will restore the government’s necessary role in funding affordable housing. We will prevent the loss of thousands of affordable homes by funding the province’s one-third share of the costs of social housing capital repairs, along with the federal and municipal governments.
We will make the necessary investments in affordable housing to build 65,000 new affordable housing units over 10 years, working with partners such as the federal government and the not-for-profit and co-op housing sectors.
It is important to know that your children have the best, safest care possible. But the cost of child care is priced far out of reach for too many Ontario parents.
That has to change. Quality, affordable child care can make all the difference for working parents, offering peace of mind when they are at work earning a living, or at school gaining new skills and qualifications to help them get ahead.
After 15 years of Liberal government promises, Ontario is Canada’s most expensive province for child care, with Toronto parents paying most of all. And with vows to slash billions from the provincial budget, the Conservatives will only make things worse.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP will make sure every family can access affordable, high- quality, not-for-profit child care, based on three key principles:
- Child care must be affordable for everyone;
- Public child care dollars should go to not-for-profit and public providers — funds shouldn’t pad the profits of private companies; and
- Early childhood educators deserve a fair wage that respects the vital work they do.
For those with a household income under $40,000, they will not have to pay for public, licensed, not-for-profit child care. For those households that earn more, fees will be based on ability to pay — with the average cost coming to $12 per day. We will not reduce existing subsidies.
Affordable, reliable public transit means less stressful trips to work, to school, and around cities and towns. It means fewer cars on the road, less pollution in the air, and more efficient movement of goods. Transit drives economic activity and builds vibrant communities.
New Democrats will fund 50 per cent of net transit and paratransit operating costs across Ontario. That means investing more than $330 million in Toronto and over $800 million across the province.
We will bring two-way all-day GO service between Kitchener–Waterloo and Toronto as well as year-round GO rail service between Niagara and Toronto. In Toronto, we will make it a priority to fund and build the Downtown Toronto Relief Line, and we will build Hamilton’s long-awaited LRT.
Cycling benefits everyone. It takes cars off the road, thinning traffic and letting commerce move. It creates a greener Ontario and gets people where they want to go in an affordable manner – with less stress for everyone.
As Transportation Minister, Kathleen Wynne was responsible for tearing up Toronto’s ambitious Transit City plan. Doug Ford’s Conservatives will be even worse – his $6 billion in cuts across the board will leave cyclists scrambling and infrastructure crumbling.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP will update Ontario’s Cycling Strategy, setting specific goals for the number of trips taken by bicycle. The strategy will set out investment targets to improve cycling infrastructure across Ontario with a particular focus on commuting routes.
We will also pass a Vulnerable Road Users’ Law based on an NDP Private Member’s Bill, specifically designed to protect people such as cyclists and pedestrians. Further, we will require cities and municipalities to develop active transportation plans – strategies for promoting walking, cycling, and other human- propelled transportation – by 2021 that meet the needs and realities of their communities.
Our shared green future requires protecting delicate ecological networks, biodiversity and wildlife.
Over the past decades, Liberals and Conservatives have too often put the interests of big developers ahead of protected areas and our shared green space. Natural spaces have been sold off to the highest bidder, and biodiversity has been put at risk.
New Democrats will restore balance, and make sure that every infrastructure and development decision is ecologically sound and sustainable.
We will increase protection of Ontario parks and expand access and use of green spaces and parks across Ontario while protecting ecosystems and biodiversity. We will protect the Greenbelt and protect our urban river systems while encouraging sustainable, smart growth.
The Ontario NDP has long supported Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) reform that gives local communities, municipal planners and democratically-accountable representatives the authority to set the overall vision for how their neighbourhoods grow and change.
Replacing the OMB with the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) is a step in the right direction. An NDP government will ensure that the LPAT lives up to its mandate to ensure local communities and local planners are respected and supported when they invest time and resources getting support for updated land use plans and policies.
We will reform the unelected board to direct it to apply policy, not make it.
Ontarians know our well-being — economic, social, and physical — relies on the health of our environment.
The NDP has long been a strong voice for both environmental sustainability and fairness. We believe that the transition to a green, low-carbon economy must be a fair one, so we do not leave communities behind and all of us can realize the benefits.
Renewables such as solar, water, and wind will be at the heart of the electricity system, and we will integrate them responsibly as needs grow. We will respect local decision- making and ensure that local communities have a stake in the benefits that come from low-cost, zero-emission renewables.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP believe polluters should pay for the emissions they release, and we will continue with pricing carbon through a fair, effective, and transparent cap-and-trade market. At least 25% of the revenues from cap-and-trade will support communities and individuals who today are carrying more than their fair share of the burden — such as northern, rural, and low-income Ontarians — and assist trade-exposed industries.
We will set clear greenhouse gas reduction targets that we can and will meet. We also will dedicate $50 million in cap-and-trade revenues to seed the creation of a new no- interest/on-bill home efficiency retrofit program, allowing residents to install energy- conserving technologies and improve the energy efficiency of their home. And, we will target the program to communities and individuals facing the greatest financial barriers to lowering their energy use.
New Democrats will protect more of Ontario’s wild spaces by expanding existing parks and creating new ones in consultation with First Nations. We will end the loss of provincially significant wetlands, which are crucial in preventing and limiting floods, and begin to reverse it.
Further, we will set achievable but aggressive targets to reduce air and water pollution across the province. We will move ahead with studies of air pollution and its effects in Sarnia and Hamilton and in other communities as needed.
We will update the Environmental Bill of Rights for the first time since the NDP introduced it more than two decades ago, to restore accountability, transparency, and public participation whenever the environment is affected.
People are feeling cynical about politics right now. We can – and must – restore trust with Ontarians.
We will create an Election Finances Commission to review and provide regular recommendations on updating Ontario’s election finance law – with a primary focus on electoral fairness. The commission will include representation from Elections Ontario, members of civil society, such as academia, law, and civic organizations, and nominees from major political parties.
We will ask the commission to deliver recommendations on improving Ontario democracy and increasing citizen participation and engagement in the political process, during and between elections. We will ask that those recommendations include models of proportional representation.
We will also allow municipal governments to experiment with reforms, such as permanent-resident voting and alternative voting, to encourage greater participation in civic life.
New Democrats recognize that we must repair the provincial government’s relationship with municipal governments. Previous governments have downloaded their responsibility to local governments while interfering in municipal affairs. It’s time for a new partnership – built on respect and mutual support, where every decision is in the best interest of Ontarians. Andrea Horwath and the NDP will work closely with municipalities to forge a strong partnership. Together, we will deliver strong public services while making life more affordable for families. New Democrats are ready to offer change for the better.