Greenpages contributor Jen McLaughlin interviews party candidates in advance of the Ontario election. Her summary of the NDP platform is below.
The NDP platform is called the Plan for Affordable Change and its focus is jobs and health care, in an attempt to make life affordable. This includes an Affordable Green Choices Plan and a Change that Works for Rural Ontario.
I interviewed two candidates from the NDP Party: Nik Spohr from the Halton riding and Karen Gventer from the Dufferin-Caledon riding. Below are their answers, offering additional explanation of the NDP party platform.
- Ensure the burden of the cost of recycling/disposal is on the manufacturer
- Develop a cap-and-trade plan with revenues going to the reduction of carbon emissions
- Strengthen regulations to reduce over-packaging
What programs/incentives/penalties will be available to corporations to ensure that Ontario resources are kept in Ontario?
The NDP party will ensure that the government is purchasing local products to build Ontario transportation, construction, local food processing, among other services. The party will commit to “Buy Ontario” first, only purchasing out of province if resources can’t be found in Ontario.
- Merge the three agencies to reduce duplication and cost in the power sector
- Fund large-scale, publicly owned green energy projects (10,700 MW by 2018)
- Target 5000 MW of combined heat and power by 2021
- Phase out coal-powered electricity by 2014
- Will not proceed with plans to build any nuclear plants
What incentives does the party propose for individuals choosing the more sustainable products or services?
The NDP party will help people who want to make their homes more energy efficient. The party will offer rebates of up to $5,000 for people who want to retrofit their homes. By ensuring that life is more affordable, the party hopes to make it easier for individuals to live sustainably.
- Require Ontario government to spend more money on local produce
- Assist farmers to market/promote their local food.
- Increase Ontario grape content in ‘cellared in Canada’ wines
- Expand risk management program for meat and honey
Your platform says you will ban junk food advertising aimed at children. Does this include fast food restaurants like McDonalds?
The NDP wants to amend the Consumer Protection Act to prohibit commercial advertising of “unhealthy food and drink” targeting children under the age of 13. The key word here is “targeting”. The party wouldn’t be banning the advertising of unhealthy food and drink outright- only those advertisements aimed at children, who are in an early-developmental state and highly susceptible to the addictive nature of these products. Both Nik and Karen agree that this would indeed include advertising by companies like McDonalds.
- Freeze transit fares at current levels for four years
- Invest in new transit projects
- Create cycling infrastructure (bike lanes, storage and bike tourism)
What improvements in transportation systems can Ontarians expect from the NDP party?
The NDP platform for transportation includes a transit-fare freeze over four years in exchange for a 50-50 budget funding model between municipalities and the province. The party will ensure transit models work for the community and not-for-profits first, and will support a comprehensive strategy focused on making roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. An important party principle includes providing municipalities with more input into decisions. The NDP would work with municipalities to build public transit that makes sense for the individual communities.
- Cut ER wait times in half
- Scrap the LHINs and replace with local decision-making
- Forgive student debt for new doctors who practice in under-serviced communities
- Fund 50 new 24-hour health care clinics by 2015
What programs can we expect to support new moms?
The NDP party will cancel recent cuts to the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, invest in the development of a provincial breast-feeding strategy and pilot four birthing centers run by midwives. By capping executive salaries at $300,000, $80 million could be diverted to programs like these, ensuring the programs will be funded.
Do you plan to support other health professionals? (doulas, midwives, naturopaths, etc.)
On top of the programs outlined above, the NDP plans to support prescribing authority to naturopaths, as it is necessary for them to maintain access to natural or botanical substances.
- Former Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton won’t seek re-election (theglobeandmail.com)
- N.L. poll shows NDP strengthening, though still trailing Conservatives (canada.com)
- NDP could have major say in Ontario’s destiny (fullcomment.nationalpost.com)