(Cobourg – September 12, 2011) Sustainable Cobourg will be holding a Provincial All-Candidates Meeting Wednesday, September 28th at 7:00 PM in the Cobourg Library Meeting Room. The candidates running in the Provincial election have been invited to present to the audience. The focus of the meeting will be environmental sustainability issues. All candidates will be asked how they will promote sustainability in Ontario over the next four years should their party be elected.

“Ontario is facing significant environmental issues including climate change, pollution contributing to cancer and asthma, and an enormous loss of farmland and natural areas. The next Provincial government will need to tackle these and other issues, but what solutions are they offering? These are the tough questions we will be asking at this all-candidates meeting,” says Sustainable Cobourg President Rick Nonnekes.

“When it comes to climate change, there has never been a more important Provincial election,” says Sustainable Cobourg Secretary Gigi Ludorf-Weaver. “To address climate change we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario by 50% by 2020. We can do this and create thousands of new jobs in the process, but we won’t do this with business as usual. We need bold, new initiatives.”

Provincial candidates will be asked to address a number of questions, both at the All-Candidates meeting and in writing. Their written responses will be posted on the Sustainable Cobourg website (www.sustainblecobourg.ca) immediately after the meeting. Questions will also be asked from the floor at the meeting.

“This is a great opportunity to hear from our candidates on some of the toughest and most important issues they face,” says Mr. Nonnekes. “We urge everyone to attend.”

For more information:

Rick Nonnekes
President, Sustainable Cobourg
Cell (705) 772-0781


  1. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that developed countries like Canada need to reduce GHG emissions 25- 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.  Ontario’s has set a target of only a 15% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020.  Furthermore, according to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner there is some doubt that even this inadequate target can be met with current Provincial policies and programs[i].  If your party formed the next Provincial government, will it set Provincial GHG reduction targets to match IPCC targets, and put in place measures to meet these targets?
  2. Farmland and natural areas are being lost at an alarming rate in Ontario[ii] through urban development.  This is in spite of the policy direction in Ontario’s plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Places to Grow) to “identify natural systems and prime agricultural areas, and enhance the conservation of these valuable resources”[iii] If your party formed the next Provincial government, how would it address this issue?
  3. The cost to purchase a farm includes a mandatory 20% down-payment, resulting in a prohibitive entry barrier.  There is a definite need to create purchase incentives for New Entrant Farmers. Small grants, start-up grants like the one Quebec has, Venture Capital programs or a financing program akin to the Registered Education Savings Plan – RESP, are a few ways to create fair financial incentives for New Entrant Farmers.  If you are elected, will you champion any of these ideas?  What will you do to support newly established local food and farm enterprises?
  4. Ontario Farmers generate $170 million annually in Farm Gate sales alone.  There is no doubt that farming and food production and processing needs to be viewed as the profitable and viable business it is.  If you are elected, will you fight for Provincial and Federal investment in the economic potential of local food and farming?
  5. Quebec introduced its provincial Bicycle Policy[iv] in 2008.  Ontario has yet to introduce a province-wide policy which promotes cycling[v]  [vi] .  If your party formed the next Provincial government, what Provincial policies would it introduce to promote cycling across the Province?
  6. Cancer is a huge drain on our health budget. If we think of the causes of cancer as 3 tips in a triangle, we have genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors[vii]. The government does well promoting lifestyle changes through the health departments. Genetics research is ongoing. If your party formed the next Provincial government, what will it do to regulate the environmental factors (over which an individual has no control) that contribute to cancer, such as banning carcinogenic chemicals in our air, water and soil?

Each candidate has been asked to provide brief written answers to the questions above.  They will then be posted on the www.sustainablecobourg.ca website immediately after the All-Candidates meeting.

[i] See Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s 2011 Annual Greenhouse Gas Progress Report, p. 4
[ii] Ontario lost at least 600,000 acres of farmland between 1996 and 2006.  See http://www.uoguelph.ca/~farmland/ProtectingFarmland.pdf and http://www.ontariofarmlandtrust.ca/issues-and-programs/saving-farmland.
[iii] See https://www.placestogrow.ca/images/pdfs/FPLAN-ENG-WEB-ALL.pdf , p. 10
[iv] See http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/portal/page/portal/Librairie/Publications/en/amenagements_cyclables/pol_velo_en2008.pdf
[v] A Green Paper for an Ontario Bicycling Policy can be found at www.sharetheroad.ca/str_green_paper_2010_03_02-pdf-r155217
[vi] An example of an Ontario Bike Plan can be found at http://www.tbn.ca/forms/OntarioBikePlan-2008-web.pdf
[vii] For some background information on environmental toxins and their impact on health see http://www.saferchemicals.org/resources/chemicals/