Home > News Room > TEA in the News > Looking for a mayor for the environment - National Post

Looking for a mayor for the environment - National Post

Natalie Alcoba
July 8, 2010

A progress report on how mayoral candidates propose to tackle environmental issues places Joe Pantalone at the top of the field, and Rob Ford last.

The Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) has evaluated the contenders on what they plan to do about six priority actions determined by it and a coalition of provincial and national groups.

In order, they are: build Transit City and fund it, achieve 70% waste diversion by 2012 by bringing green bins to apartment buildings, buy and support locally produced green products, building “complete streets” that include bike lanes and pedestrian space, implement the city’s sustainable energy plan which sets targets for conservation and renewable power development, provide “tools” that help small businesses prevent pollution.

Counting the happy and sad faces that are used to grade ideas, Mr. Pantalone is in first, followed by George Smitherman, Sarah Thomson, Rocco Rossi and Mr. Ford.

But overall, TEA believes a mayoral campaign that has centered around spending and transit expansion needs to spend more time talking about the environment. It plans to hand out letter grades before the election in October.

“If the candidates were students, we would tell them to spend the summer studying,” said Franz Hartmann, executive director of TEA. He the last ten years have seen significant environmental progress, and he urged candidates to “continue building instead of dismantling.”

TEA praised Mr. Pantalone for supporting some of the key initiatives of the Miller regime, including Transit City. Mr. Smitherman “shows potential” but his transportation plan will take longer to build, reach fewer people, and keep bike lanes off main roads, said TEA, while Ms. Thomson is “eager” but forgets that “subways don’t work in low density neighbourhoods.”

The most stinging critique was reserved for Mr. Rossi, who was slammed for wanting to sell off Toronto Hydro, and Mr. Ford, who has “shown no interest” in talking about the environment. “To earn a passing grade, Rob must put some time into understanding that there is more to being Mayor than complaining about Councillors’ expenses or talking about football.”

Mr. Hartmann said TEA graded the candidates based on what they have said publicly in campaign announcements, during debates, and also gave them an opportunity to email any other positions that addressed the six areas.

As published here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/07/08/looking-for-a-mayor-for-the-envi...