Ontario election 2022: Green Party releases platform

An Ontario government led by the Greens would focus on creating neighbors where residents can “live, work and play,” according to a sneak peek of the party’s election platform that will also include sweeping climate and voting reforms.

Leader Mike Schreiner is expected to release his full plan for the province Thursday morning at the Center for Social Innovation in Toronto.

According to a 17-page preview of the partly-costed document, obtained by CTV News Toronto, a Green win on June 2 would mean an “end to Ontario’s pro-sprawl and anti-climate agenda.”

Among the more environmentally-charged promises, the Green Party will commit to ensuring there is green space within a 10-minute walk of all homes by 2030 while developing a “15-minute” n neighborhood framework by working with municipalities on rezoning.

“Our goal is to build communities where we can access work, services and recreation within 15 minutes of home, because less time commuting means more time for family and friends,” the platform says.

“It just so happens that building dense, mixed-use connected communities is also the best thing we can do for the environment, as it cuts down on car pollution and spares our natural areas from more urban sprawl.”

The Greens have already said they would cancel the Progressive Conservative’s Highway 413 and prevent the widening of Highway 417. Instead, the party is promising to invest in transit while also creating dedicated truck lanes on Highway 407 to reduce congestion and triple the number of dedicated bus lanes by 2025.

Transit fares would be cut in half for a period of three months to encourage ridership while the cost of gas soars in Ontario. A green government would also upload 50 per cent of the cost of operating transit to the province.

Two-way GO Transit service would be expanded so that trains would leave every 15 minutes during peak periods and every 30 minutes during off-peak periods, including weekends.

The platform does not offer much in terms of how the Greens expect to pay for these initiatives—with the cost of uploading half of transit operations totaling about $1 billion a year, according to the party’s costing breakdown.

The party will be implementing a number of housing-related taxes to offset part of the costs, although the platform doesn’t say how much revenue they are expected to bring in.

Homeowners and corporations with more than two homes or condominiums will be asked to pay a 20 per cent tax on their third property. This amount count increase with every additional home.

They will also implement a province-wide vacant homes tax and an anti-flipping tax on quick turnaround sales, although the party did not say how much these taxes would be.

HOUSING

A large part of the Green Party’s platform revolves around making housing more affordable and ending homelessness in Ontario within the next 10 years.

The party has committed to building 160,000 new “permanently affordable rental homes” over the next decade, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes at a price tag of about $3.6 billion over four years.

All new housing projects of a “certain” size will need to be made of 20 per cent affordable units.

The Greens would also like to end blind bidding when it comes to homebuying, make home inspections mandatory at the seller’s expense, and develop a pilot program offering support for alternative homeownership such as cohousing.

“The crisis is province-wide”. There are no neighbors in Barrie, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener, Peterborough, Ottawa or Thunder Bay where the average one or two-bedroom apartment is affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker,” the platform reads.

ELECTORAL REFORM

A vote for the Green Party is a vote for a “people powered government,” the platform says.

“Previous governments downloaded many social costs onto municipalities. With municipalities covering these costs, there is less money for other vital services such as transit, libraries, community centres, parks and municipal building retrofits. We believe the Ontario government needs to be a partner in helping fund these important services.”

Mike Schreiner

The Greens say they would fund 50 per cent of municipal shelter and community housing costs at a price tag of about $2.14 billion over four years.

In addition to the financial support, they would allow municipalities to use voted voting systems for elections, something the Progressive Conservative government scrapped two years ago.

The party would alter political donation limits for provincial political parties, candidates and constituency associations, maxing out individual contributions at $1,000 per year.

The voting age would be reduced to 16 and election day would become a paid holiday.

The party says it prefers a proportional representation voting system—in which an individual casts a ballot for a party versus a candidate—but the platform doesn’t specify whether or not the Greens would push to make that change.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Siobhan Morris

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