The Simple and Transparent Way to Compare Candidates
on their Support for the Environment
It’s a simple question: which candidate is best suited to build a greener city for all? Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get an answer. First, you need to sift through websites and online news sources to find out what candidates have said about environmental issues. Then, you need to find a way to compare what they said so that you don’t end up with an “apples to oranges” situation. Things get even more complicated if your priority environmental issue has not been mentioned by one or more candidates.
Not surprisingly, people look to groups like TEA for help. The last thing we want to do is create more confusion by interpreting candidate quotes and statements and presenting them in ways that open TEA up to the charge that we are taking sides.
To avoid this, TEA came up with another option that is simple and transparent. We put together a list of 18 “yes” or “no” questions that asked candidates whether they support our Green Action Agenda.
Elections are usually considered a time for candidates to present their priorities. But we think they are also a time for Torontonians to present our priorities and ask candidates to respond to them and support them. That is why we developed and released the Green Action Agenda.
We asked every candidate we could reach to answer our survey.
We made a conscious decision to use ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions instead of an open-ended format for two reasons: it’s simple to compare candidate responses; it takes the guess work out of having to read through answers that may be long and may not actually answer the question being posed.
Next, we took the results and gave each candidate a point for every “yes” answer. We added up the score and divided it by 18 to give a percentage grade.
The result is a direct, “apples to apples” comparison of candidate support for our Green Action Agenda. We have also included all the comments candidates made in response to our survey questions. We think it’s vital that these comments are there for everyone to read to better understand candidates’ answers.
It’s important to use this tool for its intended purpose, not for something it’s not designed to do. For example, the report cards do not compare candidates on what they have publicly stated on the environment or on promises they have made in their policy platforms.
These report cards are just one important tool Torontonians can use to determine where candidates stand. We urge every voter to consider our report cards and any additional promises candidates have made about the environment. With these two pieces of information, we hope Torontonians can decide which candidates are best suited to build A Greener City for All.