The official announcement for the Provincial election came yesterday and the leaders of the four...ahem...major parties have kicked off their campaigns.
While I know I won't be voting for the Conservatives or the Liberals, The Green Party is likely my choice and here is part of the reason why:
Taking his own route to power
De Jong vows to spread eco-gospel to Ontarians by bike, public transit and fuel-efficient vehicles
Sep 11, 2007 04:30 AM
No planes, trains or automobiles for Frank de Jong – well, not the usual kinds.
Ontario's Green party leader has sworn off conventional means of traversing this province for his election campaign. Instead, he's choosing to practise what the Green party preaches.
In the name of reducing his carbon footprint to toe-prints in the sand, he'll be spreading the Green gospel to residents across Ontario by bike, public transit and three vehicles: a fuel-efficient Yaris, a Volkswagen Golf modified to run on vegetable oil already used in restaurants, and a Toyota Prius, the hybrid car popularized by Hollywood.
To kick off his leadership campaign yesterday, de Jong rode to Queen's Park from his home near Lansdowne Ave. and Bloor St. on his 15-year-old touring bike.
"This is my campaign bus," he said, as he pulled up. He made good use of it yesterday, biking to St. George subway station from Queen's Park, where he boarded a train to Kipling station. From there he cycled 90 kilometres to Guelph.
He was to spend the day riding public transit with local candidate Ben Polley, who owns an organic farm, and a small refinery that converts vegetable oil to auto fuel.
Before de Jong sped off in downtown Toronto, first circling an NDP campaign bus idling in front of Queen's Park, he dismounted from his vehicle, equipped with three reusable bottles of water, a tire repair kit and a lunch of cream cheese and blueberries, both produced locally. He responded to comments that he's taking eco-responsibility to an extreme, frightening degree.
"It's not scary. It's normal," he said. "It will be normal, once we start being serious about climate change. And Green party people are serious about climate change. We're not just hot air."
While de Jong's political passion extends to resolving not to fund faith-based schools, including Catholic ones, and to ending dependence on coal-fired plants by 2009, he said climate change is the most important issue.
"We have roughly eight years to ... take some steps towards remediating climate change and averting it. If not, we don't know what the future will hold," he said.
His plan is to shift the tax burden off people and on to "resources, pollution and sprawl," he said, explaining it will force businesses to pollute less, without an increased cost to the public.
Second on his list of issues is bringing in the mixed-member proportional system of electing MPPs. For a party that hopes to win one riding this election and is trying to convince the electorate Green is a "credible" alternative, MMP would be a big help, Green officials said. A referendum to determine how the public feels about electing provincial members of parliament will also be held on election day.
With MMP, no votes would be "wasted" on the Green party and casting a ballot in its favour would allow it to have a voice at Queen's Park, said de Jong, a schoolteacher.
"If we had MMP and we got 10 per cent of the vote, we'd have 12 or 13 MPPs," he said. "If we had MPPs in legislature, then we'd be able to properly articulate and address these issues in the legislature."
While he's heated up, and not just from the biking, de Jong doesn't want to shove these messages down anyone's throat. The pamphlets and business cards distributed in his campaign were made from recycled paper, using vegetable dyes and green power sources. And de Jong will be buying carbon credits to offset any activity that burns fossil fuels, such as the one return flight he'll take to and from Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. Instead of sleeping in hotels that may not be environmentally friendly, he'll be billeting with party members.
But it's not about being "greener than thou," de Jong said. Fossil fuels were burned in the making of his bike and he has no choice but to ride in cars. "We're all eco-sinners."