Climate change puts Aurora candidates in hot seat in first meeting

Climate change is a burning issue for many voters and every party seeking to form Ontario’s next government was put on the spot for answers last week at Aurora’s first all-candidates meeting.

Organized online by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Chamber President and CEO Sandra Ferri on May 11, attendees included Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill candidates Catherine Dellerba (Part of the Ontario), Marjan Kasirlou (Liberal) and Michael Parsa (Progressive Conservative), and Newmarket-Aurora candidates Denis Heng (NDP) Carolina Rodriguez (Green) and, Dr. Sylvain Roy (Liberal).

“Much has been written about the climate emergency facing the world,” Ms Ferri said. “What are your party’s priorities on climate change and reducing carbon emissions, and how will your party support companies that want to make changes to their operations to mitigate the associated costs?”

The candidates, grouped by constituency, responded as follows:



“It’s something we talked about very early on and I remember discussing it in the last election, I said we could do so much – each of us has a responsibility as individuals , families and businesses, government – ​​each of us has a responsibility to do our part. One of the things we can do is… stimulate the economy, invest in our businesses, create well-paying jobs and protect the environment. Look at the investments in Dofasco lately. It was a $500 million investment that will not only create well-paying jobs, but also protect the environment. By the time this operation is complete…they will be moving from coal-fired furnaces to electric options where that single move is the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off our roads. These are the kinds of investments we should be making to protect the environment, but we are also creating well-paying jobs in Ontario. It shouldn’t be one or the other as it has been in the past and this is something our government is considering. If you look at the investments that are being made in the auto sector right now, we’re going to be the leaders in green cars, making electric cars here in Ontario.


“As we know, climate control, emissions and the environment is, of course, another hot topic and something on the minds of many Ontarians. When it comes to environmental issues, we need to focus on actions that actually work to ensure that we have both cleaner air, healthier soil and fresh water available to all, which is not not currently the case. An example of this could be stopping the billions of liters of raw, untreated sewage being pumped into our rivers and lakes. How would we do that? The Ontario Party would provide funds to municipalities to help them deal with storm surges, for example, by extending the availability of fresh water to all. Moreover, we need plans that go beyond tax without results; we need to end the random taxes that are only imposed on Ontarians who are already at a time when so many of our constituents are suffering from rising inflation, high energy costs – it doesn’t help that on top of the rising gas prices, there is an 11 cent carbon tax per lite which seems to do very little. We need to support companies that come up with creative ideas to help the environment as well as find ways to make Canada and especially Ontario more energy independent which in turn will create jobs and care of the environment so that we’ don’t ignore one without taking care of the other.


“We’ll halve carbon emissions by 2030 and… we’ll actually bring back the electric vehicle rebate, which had been cut by the Ford government. We will give a $9,500 rebate for EVs so people can easily afford non-luxury EVs. We will also ensure that 60% of new passenger vehicles sold by 2030 are zero emissions and 100% by 2035. We will also create an incredible battery alliance in North America that will create many jobs and we will lead in the field of batteries. [production] for electric vehicles in North America and will also export extensively overseas.



“I grew up in northern Ontario…it seemed to me [forest fires] increased in intensity and duration, the fears associated with the evacuation of entire communities and which are only worsening today. We need to become much more aggressive when it comes to climate change and environmental protection. Here in the region, the idea of ​​protecting the greenbelt and so much more in terms of protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine, for example, because that plays a vital role in our water supply and so on. I’m really proud of our party’s platform. We are going to focus on much more than the idea of ​​climate change. Planting trees, for example, taking more than 400,000 cars off the road because of the public transport announcement… the investment that we are going to make, the idea of ​​creating up to 25,000 green jobs, for example… these are things I’m really proud of and we need to do more for the environment and climate change.


“Buildings produce about 24% of our climate pollution in Ontario, and energy production is the biggest producer of climate pollution. The Green Party aims to tackle these issues first. We will move away from (gas) power plants and rely more on renewables, increasing our reliance on renewables is of the utmost importance to us. For buildings that are specifically for business, we will address this issue by retrofitting existing buildings to ensure that they are independent of gas use and only electricity use, which would significantly reduce the cost of operation and we would also ensure that new buildings are constructed. low carbon from the start. Businesses will end up saving money, families will save money, and these would be funded through some form of grants, interest-free loans, and tax credits as well. The most important thing is to phase out fossil fuels. It would drastically reduce the cost at the pump, it would reduce the cost of living in general, and we would also depend on more bike lanes, more public transit, and low-cost public transit. We would be much more dependent on a new form of life within our community, but the important thing is that we have to start fresh now.


“I think the biggest thing with climate change and emissions is the idea that Ontario needs to do its part to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and…that’s something we’ve ignored in the past. We have not made the progress necessary to achieve the future we want for our generation, for our next generations. We need to look at the actions of previous governments and say, “Is this going to get us where we need to go or do we need to do more?” I believe government has a proactive role to play in making the environmental choice the easy choice. I think that is something that is correct. i agree with michael [Parsa that this] idea that this should not come at the expense of jobs or affordable living for ordinary Ontarians. The idea here is that we have to start making the environmental choice the easy choice, which means that from a provincial perspective we have to have the political action to change the building codes, to make sure that these codes are capable of building businesses, housing, affordable housing that we believe should be invested in to get us to net zero emissions. There are a lot of things that we would invest in that other parties have suggested here that we wholeheartedly agree with. I think the big thing right now is what previous governments have done [are] half measures, so we would go further.

Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Auroran