Congratulations to all the winners in yesterday’s provincial election, and condolences to all the losers. Former environment Minister Wilkinson will be missed; he narrowly lost his riding of Perth–Wellington. The new Minister should be announced shortly.
The reelection of the Liberals, and the balance of power handed to the New Democrats, should be good news for environmental policy. The last time the Liberals held power with the support of the NDP, we saw major improvements in environmental enforcement, including the creation of the Investigation and Enforcement Branch. Maybe this time we’ll see more support for low carbon transportation initiatives, such as cycling, transit, and electric cars, since the key NDP environmental planks were:
- Four year transit fare freeze
- Up to $5,000 in home energy retrofit rebates
- Phase out coal, maintain the FIT program, and bring 10,700 MW of renewable energy online by 2018
- Invest in cycling infrastructure
- Make sure the cost of recycling and safely disposing materials is borne by the companies that produce them, rather than taxpayers or municipalities.
At minimum, the new government means continuation of key Liberal environmental policies, such as the Green Energy Act, the Toxics Reduction Act, the coal shutdown, and approvals reform. But energy taxes could be a flashpoint- see David Suzuki’s perceptive comments on the NDP platform.