Liberal Party Platform

Greenpages contributor Jen McLaughlin interviews party candidates in advance of the Ontario election. Her summary of the Liberal platform is below.

The Liberal Party platform focuses on education, job creation, health care, transportation and energy. It highlights what they have achieved in the last eight years and the programs they will continue to work on in the next term if re-elected. You can find their Platform Costing Plan here, which outlines the costs over the next four years.

I interviewed Ken Schmidt, Liberal Party candidate in the Essex riding. You can see his answers below.

Environment

  • Continue with the Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act
  • Develop clean water technologies in order to create jobs and protect the environment
  • Work with municipalities to expand the Greenbelt and protect land from urban sprawl
  • Create a Stewardship Program to help farmers protect natural resources

Energy

  • Will create 50,000 jobs in the clean energy field
  • Will replace coal plants with clean energy by 2014
  • Clean Energy benefit is saving families 10% on every bill until 2015
  • Work with Federal government to fund green energy projects

What is your plan to support clean energy in the province?

Ken explains that the Liberals have a Long Term Energy Plan to make Ontario a global leader in clean energy. Ontario has attracted over $20 billion of the private sector investment in clean energy, creating over 22,000 jobs. By 2018, Ontario will have 10,700 MW of clean energy online. Coal use was down 90% in the first half of 2011 vs 2003. The Long Term Energy Plan sets the course for a clean energy revolution, ensuring Ontario homes, schools, businesses and hospitals have a clean power supply now and into the future by doubling investments to build new clean energy. By adding more clean renewable sources to the system, shutting down coal, creating jobs and promoting conservation, the Liberal plan will create a brighter, healthier and more prosperous future for future generations.

Food

  • Develop Local Food Act that will support and promote local food
  • Increase amount of local food bought by schools and hospitals
  • Help to secure new markets and create new manufacturing opportunities for Ontario food producers
  • Create a Bio-Economy Fund that will allow farmers in biofuel markets

Do you have plans to help support local farmers so Ontario can continue to buy local?

The Liberals support local food in order to support Ontario farmers, local communities and the environment. The party has invested $4 million to make it easier for people to buy direct from local farmers. The results of this investment include a 69% increase in on-farm markets and the growth of Farmers Market membership from 136 to 150.

Transportation

  • 5% of all new cars will be electric
  • Invest $80 million in charging stations and infrastructure
  • Expand GO service to full day 2-way service on all corridors
  • Money back guarantee for GO customers whose train is 15+ minutes late

Can you explain the rebate program proposed for the purchase of electric cars?

The Liberal party strives to ensure 1 in 20 cars will be electrically powered by 2020. Ontarians will received between $5000 and $8500 for purchasing an electric vehicle, as well as green license plates allowing users to use the HOV lanes.

Health Care

  • Implement the Family Caregiver Leave – 8 weeks paid protected leave
  • Access to an online Personalized Cancer Risk Profile
  • Double Child Activity Tax Credit to $100

What is your stance on supporting birth centers in Ontario and how to do you plan to support midwives?

Ken states that over half of all Canada’s midwives practice in Ontario, proving they are an integral part of the provincial health care team. Since 2003, Liberals have increased midwifery funding by 300% and have increased the number of spaces in degree programs. The Liberals support piloting birth centers in Ontario and working with midwives to expand opportunities for their profession.

Additional Commitments

  • Full day kindergarten fully rolled out by 2014
  • 30% tuition grant for middle class students
  • Increase Child Benefit from $1100 to $1310 by 2013

What do you think of the Liberal platform? Have you read their 2 plans? What are your thoughts?

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