Ontario Votes 2014

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Several questions posed by Manitoulin citizens at the recent Island all candidates’ meeting pointed to the horror with which many people view the possibility of shale gas extraction––fracking––on Manitoulin or anywhere in Ontario.

The legislators of the province of Quebec have determined that there will be no fracking within its jurisdiction. Ontario has been moving to close down its coal-fired power generation plants, replacing them with “green” power to lesson the carbon footprint.

In light of Quebec’s example, Ontario’s steps to create a green energy model and the pollution and public health hazards that many mid-west and western U.S. jurisdictions are facing following fracking in their regions, will your party, if it forms the government following the upcoming election, move to follow the Quebec model and ban this mining/drilling/oil and natural gas extraction practice in Ontario?

If not, what would be your party’s justification for allowing this form of oil and gas extraction?

Jib Turner, Progressive Conservative

Jib Turner, Progressive Conservative

Every homeowner, every manufacturer, has felt the pocket-and-budget fallout from the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals’ taking us down the ideological path of expensive and unreliable energy experiments.

Heavily subsidized—read “taxpayer” subsidized—wind and solar power has increased our energy bills, driven manufacturers from our province, and had made the average Ontarian literally scared stiff to open the monthly Hydro One bill.

Nothing is more damaging to household budgets and to our economy than Ontario’s soaring energy prices. Under an Ontario PC government, we will get electricity prices under control and reclaim one of Ontario’s traditional economic strengths—affordable energy.

It is so very wrong that Ontario, once the producer of cheap power, now has the highest prices for industrial energy in North America.

No wonder John Deere ran. No wonder Heinz packed it up.

And, worse, over the next five years the Wynne Liberals are telling us it will only keep going up—by some 42 percent—over the next five years, and that there is nothing we can do about it.

Well, there is something we can do. We can vote them out on June 12.

Not only will the Ontario PCs end the expensive feed-in tariff program going to wind and solar power, we will focus on what works, meaning proven energy technologies like hydroelectric power and nuclear generation in future long-term electricity planning.

Unaffordable subsidies to wind and solar have driven up prices in every corner of our province but, in energy-intensive northern industries and households, they have been particularly burdensome.

We will take advantage of new development opportunities presented by the game-changing new abundance of natural gas across the continent, particularly right next door to Ontario in New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

As these mammoth deposits of natural gas become available, the high price of natural gas throughout most of the last part of the 20th century will go markedly down.

That is the true value to Ontario of newly found natural gas deposits—not developing the limited amounts that we have here, but taking advantages of this low priced energy to lower our energy prices.

Meanwhile, we must repair the damage done by Liberal self-interest politics—the gas-plant scandal being just one of many—by getting rid of the subsidies to wind and solar, and go with what has a proven track record.

Only then will we will make affordable energy our strength again


Richard-Hadidian

Richard Hadidian, Libertarian

No. Our party will not ban fracking. First of all, so far there has been no scientific proof that the process of fracking pollutes nearby groundwater. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US conducted several studies which resulted in no links between fracking and polluted groundwater. Most people may have heard about links between water contamination and fracking from videos showing residents in the US near the fracking operations where they were able to light their tap water on fire. But all these allegations and phenomenon were disproved. I wish I could go into details, but I can cite the sources of what I say if requested. For anyone who is interested in digging further on the subject I would recommend visiting the EPA’s website.

Saying this, our party is committed to the protection of the environment by enforcing property rights. This means that if the company who exploits the natural gas in the area starts polluting sources of water that the residents of the Island use (and that can be scientifically proven in court), then the company shall compensate everyone who is affected and they must re-establish the original condition of the environment in the area.

One of the reasons Ontario’s hydro costs have increased substantially (and will continue to do so) is precisely due to closing down the coal-fired generation plants (which currently are the cheapest available), the introduction of the FIT and Micro-FIT programs and the Green Energy Act. Curious enough, CO2 emissions in the US are down nearly 20 percent in the past decade due to fracking. Natural gas is a much cleaner energy than coal fire based generation plants and it is replacing some of the energy that comes from coal. The problem is that even when the US reduced its CO2 emissions by 20 percent, CO2 levels went up 30 percent globally! This is due to the massive increases of CO2 emissions by developing countries. We as a party want to take care of the environment against real pollution of our waters, air and land, but we can’t allow the obstruction of economic progress and make our lives more costly due to conclusions of science that has not been proven.

We want to make life more affordable by allowing private enterprises to compete to generate and distribute energy (electricity, gas, etc), the economic benefits in the area could be very beneficial as long as it is done in a responsible way, and that’s why we have human talent right here in Northern Ontario (engineers, environmental engineers/scientists, etc) to ensure that we enjoy the economic benefits of the extraction of the natural gas and the protection of the environment at the same time.

 


Craig Hughson, Liberal

Craig Hughson, Liberal

Strong leadership means investing in clean, healthy, sustainable communities.

Islanders know that it is more important than ever to protect our vital resources like clean water, clean air, farmland and green spaces. We need to grow in ways that sustain healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment.

Our communities are at risk. Tim Hudak and Jib Turner would fire 100,000 public sector workers, including water inspectors, meat inspectors and others who protect our communities. Mr. Hudak has consistently voted against important laws to protect our environment, including the Great Lakes Protection Act. Our NDP MPP has shown no interest in preventing fracking on Manitoulin, he has had three years and he’s taken no action at all. Meanwhile, Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives have gutted Canada’s environmental safety net, and have failed to take climate change seriously. I commit to introducing legislation, similar to the Quebec legislation, to protect Algoma-Manitoulin from fracking within my first 100 days of being an MPP. It should have been done already and it is time to elect someone who will get results for Algoma-Manitoulin.

A Liberal government will protect our precious Great Lakes and other waters, and continue to show leadership in tackling climate change. We will make smart investments to ensure that agriculture and aquaculture remains a leading contributor to the economic health of Manitoulin and is a viable career choice for young people. Fracking, of course, would threaten the viability of our Manitoulin agriculture and aquaculture. I see far more potential in building these industries up to create opportunity, jobs and a secure future for Manitoulin.

As an Islander, as an avid angler and hunter, as a fan of being outdoors, I will fight to make sure my children are able to love and enjoy Manitoulin the way I have been able to long after I’m gone.

 


Mike Mantha, New Democratic Party

Mike Mantha, New Democratic Party

I share grave concerns about the questions that remain around the environmental impacts from fracking and shale gas exploration, especially on drinking water. These include massive water extractions, potential contamination of drinking water and watersheds, and significant greenhouse gas emissions. Such concerns have also been raised by respected individuals such as Dr. David Suzuki and Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller. New Democrats believe that fracking should not proceed in Ontario until these outstanding environmental concerns have been addressed.

New Democrats have been clear that we need to focus on affordable and reliable power in this province. Ontario businesses and household consumers are paying power bills that can be nearly two times higher than their neighbours in Manitoba and Quebec. Energy costs in this province are out of control. The liberals put HST on hydro bills the same day as they cut corporate income taxes.

New Democrats are working hard to make life more affordable for families trying to make ends meet. We will remove the HST from home hydro bills and put the money back in your pocket. We will eliminate hydro waste by amalgamating the four hydro agencies, capping CEO salaries and ending the billion dollar subsidy for exported power. New Democrats will eliminate the debt retirement charge.

Under the Liberals we have seen energy companies and CEO’s profit on the backs Ontarian families.

As your MPP, I have listened to your concerns and I will continue to stand up for Northern families and ensure our community’s concerns are being heard.

 

 

 

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