Putting Climate at the Centre: Our Climate Plan for Ottawa Centre
We are in a climate crisis, and Ottawa Centre residents know that it’s time for bold climate action, both at home and at Queen’s Park.
Scientists are clear: the scale and urgency of the climate crisis mean we must act now to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. On Earth Day, Ottawa Centre NDP Candidate Joel Harden announced his local priorities for the environment. Opening with a bold vision to integrate Ontario and Quebec’s electricity grids and finally phase out Ontario’s controversial gas plants, Joel’s list of priorities provides Ottawa-based solutions to Ontario’s climate obligations.
Drawing from the Ontario NDP’s plan for bold climate action, Joel Harden unveiled the following local climate priorities for Ottawa Centre:
- Integrating Ontario and Quebec’s electricity grids to tap an existing clean energy source
- Investing more in public transit – and keeping these systems accountable to the public
- Supporting active transportation like biking and walking
- Saving the trees at the Experimental Farm – instead of building a parking garage
- Reducing emissions by retrofitting public and private buildings
- Investing in our local food ecosystem – helping our community eat more local food
Here is why climate activists are behind these priorities:
Integrating Ontario and Quebec’s electricity grids
- The Ontario NDP is proposing integrating Ontario and Quebec’s electricity grids, to bring an existing, affordable low emission source of energy from QC to Ontario.
- Quebec hydro power is a giant battery right at our doorstep, and it’s time for us to use it. We know that Ottawa residents want to play our part in addressing the climate crisis. As the city bordering Quebec, this is a local solution to greening the energy source for the province.
- Addressing the climate crisis with urgency will require standing up to energy sector lobbyists, to put the climate before corporate profits.
Investing in public transit – and keeping these systems accountable to the public
- For too many people, public transit isn’t available when or where they need it, and service is unreliable. An Ontario NDP government will invest in making public transit convenient, green, and affordable. This will include inter-city transit options.
- We’ll restore provincial funding for municipal public transit and paratransit systems. We’ll fund municipal transit systems to 50 per cent of their net operating costs and enable immediate service improvements, more transit routes, and increased ridership.
- Joel helped secure a judicial enquiry to Ottawa’s LRT boondoggle to ensure what happened with our LRT will never happen again. We must build accountability measures into our public transit investments.
Supporting active transportation
- An Ontario NDP government will make active transportation, like biking and walking, more safe and convenient.
- This will require safe biking infrastructure–to ensure no more cyclists die from preventable cycling deaths. Everyone who has cycled in Ottawa’s downtown, on streets like Elgin and Laurier, knows how crucially important this is.
Protecting green space in Ottawa Centre
- When Joel heard that the old-growth trees at the experimental farm were in danger, he spoke up. Now, Joel wants to make sure that no more green spaces will be in danger, both in Ottawa Centre and beyond. In the words of Joni Mitchell, let’s not pave paradise to put up a parking lot.
- A New Democrat Government will increase protection of Ontario parks and expand access to green spaces and parks across Ontario, while protecting ecosystems and biodiversity. This will benefit us in Ottawa, and across Ontario.
Retrofitting both public and private buildings
- The Ontario NDP will reduce emissions from buildings through retrofitting both public and private buildings, and addressing the building code to make new builds with net zero emissions.
- By retrofitting buildings to improve their energy efficiency, we can reduce emissions and create significant cost savings for Ontarians. It is estimated that every $1 invested in energy conservation generates $4 in economic activity.
- It is estimated that the Green New Democratic Deal will create 100,000 jobs over eight years as part of the retrofit program alone, and as many as a million over the life of the plan. It will help Ontarians save as much as $40 billion a year in costs associated with climate-generated disasters like floods and fires.
Investing in local food infrastructure
- Growing food in our local area, instead of importing produce from across the globe, is a crucial part of reducing our emissions.
- Ottawa residents are looking for healthy, locally grown food. We have a growing local food ecosystem, which will flourish even more under the right conditions.
- Food insecurity is a major issue in Ottawa Centre. We know that the elimination of poverty is what will tackle the root cause of food insecurity, and that access to healthy, nutritious food is a human right.
- Programs like Cooking for a Cause, which is run by the Ottawa Community Food Partnership, and organizations like the Parkdale Food Centre, have deep ties with local farmers, and bring nutritious, local food to people experiencing food insecurity.