By Lucy Sky
Doug Ford failed to answer any questions in a survey of mayoral candidates by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). His score was zero, Olivia Chow’s 83 per cent and John Tory’s 61 per cent.
Executive Director of TEA, Franz Hartmann said climate change is the most important issue. He said that Torontonians got a taste of the effects of climate change with last year’s flood and ice storm that “cost the city and residents more than $1.1 billion,” which he added is the same amount as TTC raises in fares over a year.
Hartmann said a lot of the issues go hand in hand, like climate change and the TTC revamp. A better transit system would urge people to keep their cars at home and improve the environment at the same time.
The candidates were asked 18 questions relating to five main topics (severe weather and climate change preparation, improve air quality, improve the TTC, reduce waste and detox Toronto,) each yes resulting in one point.
Humber Sustainability Alumni, Hansel Menezes, said the survey was very interesting and that climate change is a big topic, but the “percentage is based on just saying yes or no, so there’s really nothing definitive” until you look into their full environmental platforms.
Menezes is now a project co-ordinator at Modern Niagara, a national HVAC firm that focuses on corporate sustainability through mechanical service, building commission, and energy savings. If he were to choose a candidate based solely on these platforms, “it would be Chow, because all of Tory’s answers are ‘wait and see,’ or ‘ I look forward to reading the reports’. Those reports already exist. Case studies, environmental assessments, etc.”
He added that Chow has “drawn her line in the sand with the issues and that Tory has good ideas, but nothing definitive.”
The TEA website states “these priority actions must be taken over the next four years. They are the minimum investments we have to make to build a greener city for all, especially the children who will inherit it.”
Many actions can be taken to reduce the environmental issues and “if council doesn’t proceed or fails on climate change, people will be sitting here in years saying ‘we had the chance to fix this and it didn’t get fixed,’” said Hartmann.
“If we continue with business as regular, things like the flood and ice storm will become a regular occurrence” and people are going to have to start paying for repairs out of pocket, because insurance companies will begin refusing to insure their homes.
If we invest now, Hartmann said we can save money and create more jobs within the green industry. “The Green Action Agenda is the way forward.” He urges Torontonians to look at everything before considering which candidate to pick: the survey will not tell them everything, there’s much more to it.