Chief among Olivia Chow’s environmental commitments is a promise to restore Toronto’s tree canopy, which was devastated by last year’s ice storm and floods. She proposes to pay for a 50-per-cent increase in the City’s contribution to tree planting with a hike in treatment fees paid by polluting businesses.
Chow would fight the proposal to expand Billy Bishop airport to accommodate jets. She is also opposed to the Enbridge Line 9 reversal, which would see oil from the Alberta tar sands flowing through Toronto on its way to Montreal for export.
Doug Ford has made no public statements on the environment (although he supports the proposed expansion of Billy Bishop airport), and didn’t respond to the Toronto Environmental Alliance’s candidate questionnaire, thereby earning himself a rating of zero. On the earlier TEA report card (which is based on how councillors voted in 31 key votes pertaining to environmental issues), Doug Ford rates an F. “Very disappointing,” his report reads. “A sad way to end your career on Council.” Ford also skipped a TEA-sponsored mayoral debate.
John Tory devotes a substantial amount of web space to his environmental plan, and earns a creditable 61 per cent (second only to Olivia Chow) in the Toronto Environmental Alliance’s candidate survey. Like Chow, Tory wants to restore the tree cover shredded by beetles and inclement weather. He says he would increase funding of the City’s current five-year tree-planting plan to $15 million from $7 million, and work with other groups to get 3.8 million trees in the ground over the next decade.
Tory promises a Sustainable City Advisory Board, which would provide advice on innovative solutions to energy efficiency and climate change. He would appoint an Environment Advocate to co-ordinate environmental policies and strategies across City departments.
Tory wants to introduce a plan to collect data on energy used by all public buildings in Toronto, and an energy-benchmarking program that would allow private-sector property owners to compare notes on energy-saving strategies and find ways to reduce their energy usage.
A Tory mayoralty would encourage the implementation of Smart Energy Networks (defined as “the strategy of more than one building sharing thermal energy systems”).
Tory has said that he hasn’t made up his mind on the proposed expansion of Billy Bishop airport, but will await further study.