OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Gordon Ball in advance of the June 7 provincial election.
Maeve, Mackenzie, Joel and Spencer are four kids I know pretty well. They are my grandchildren. By the time they are adults, maybe with families of their own, their world will be very different from today’s. Many others share the joys that children and grandchildren bring us. I wonder if they share my fears.
When I try to judge the values of the politicians seeking election and the promises they make, I try to apply the grandchildren test. How does this promise stack up against our grandchildren’s future world? Although the future may seem distant, actions taken in the next four years form the foundation for changes that can last lifetimes.
Here are some tests I am applying in deciding who should get my vote.
The Climate Test. Do political promises reflect a serious concern about the need to maintain a liveable climate in Ontario? Do those making the promises imagine what continuous summer nights over 30 degrees would be like? Do they support and have clear plans to reduce Co2 emissions in Ontario? Do they have a plan to adapt to increasing extreme weather?
The Food Test. If we pave over too much of Ontario’s precious farmland, will there be enough food when California, Florida and Mexico – currently the main sources of so much of our fresh fruit and vegetables – are facing the full impact of climate change? Droughts, forest fires and rising sea levels are already visible and real concerns in those places. Ontario will continue to have some of the best growing conditions in the world and we should protect them. Once covered in more urban sprawl, farmland is unrecoverable. Protection of farmland, through policies like protecting the Greenbelt, is a crucial future test.
The Energy Test. Is the person seeking my vote planning on a robust energy infrastructure that does not depend on fossil fuels? Do they realize that Canadians are among the highest per capita energy consumers in the world, and that opportunities for energy conservation present some of the best ways to meet the future energy test? Do they realize that we need to build homes, offices and factories and that do not leak energy like a sieve?
The Fairness Test. Will Ontario become a better place for all to live, one that is fairer to the wider community? Will housing become more accessible? Will pay and working conditions be more equitable? Or will we continue to see massive inequalities, with minimum wages and income being depressed while taxation favours the rich?
All these tests, and more, are not independent of each other. They begin with a set of values that then lead to policies and goals that reflect them.
I won’t let our leaders off with empty rhetoric and sound-bites. I’m going to vote for a positive future for Maeve, Mackenzie, Joel and Spencer.