June 10, 2014

Where do the parties stand?

Which of the four major parties in the Ontario election has the best plan to build an energy system that reduces our climate impact and air pollution, increases our economic competitiveness through improved efficiency, and helps keep power affordable?
 
The Ontario Environmental Priorities Initiative brought together 20 of Ontario’s top environmental organizations, including the OCAA, to develop an environmental election scorecard.
 
On energy, we asked if the parties support the province’s new Conservation First framework to help homeowners and businesses save money by improving energy efficiency. The Liberals, NDP and Greens said yes while the PCs did not answer our question.
 
We also asked if the parties would shut down the aging and high-cost Pickering Nuclear Station by 2015. The Greens said they would shut Pickering by 2015. The Liberals and NDP both left the door open to shutting Pickering before 2020, but did not commit to a date. And the PCs once again did not answer our question.
 
The Pickering A Nuclear Power Plant is the highest cost nuclear plant in North America while Pickering B is the fifth highest. And now Ontario Power Generation wants to continue to operate Pickering beyond its “best before” date by exceeding the design life of its major reactor components. This is despite the fact that Pickering is surrounded by more people in its immediate vicinity than any other nuclear plant in North America.
 
As columnist Jeffrey Simpson pointed out in Friday’s Globe and Mail, Ontario now has a significant opportunity to reduce costs by importing water power from Quebec. Replacing Pickering with Quebec water power, for example, would save Ontario $650 million per year.

There are important differences between the positions of the parties on a number of key environmental issues in this election. So get informed and get out to vote this Thursday, June 12!