Questions for Candidates Provincial Election 2011

January 1, 2011

in Correspondence, Member Resources, Ontario Legislature Viewshed, Planning Act, Provincial Policies, Reports & Presentations

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Planning Reform / Ontario Municipal Board
1. Issue: Municipal Official Plans are frequently subject to amendment, even though they are provincially approved. FoNTRA has proposed two Planning Act changes to improve the stability of Official Plans: 1) the Official Plan should be required to provide population densities and land-use intensities which would provide guidance for site-specific re-zonings; and 2) site-specific amendments initiated by individuals between the mandatory comprehensive Official Plan reviews should be eliminated.
Question: What changes would you make to the Planning Act so that municipal Official Plans are more stable?

2. Issue: The relationships of policies under the Provincial Policy Statement, Provincial Plans, and Official Plans are unclear. FoNTRA has recommended establishing a single review/approval process for establishing the conformity of Official Plans with the Provincial Policy Statements and Provincial Plans.
Question: What would you do to clarify the relationship of policies between the Provincial Policy Statements, Provincial Plans and Official Plans under the Planning Act?

3. Issue: Many citizens are dismayed by Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) decisions whereby the Provincial Policy Statements are interpreted in a manner that focuses on intensification, regardless of the suitability of the location, and at the expense of other, equally valid, planning concerns.
Question: What would you do to ensure that (1) the OMB decisions on development projects consider a comprehensive range of planning issues and (2) the adopted public policies of municipalities are given full and fair consideration?

Transportation / Traffic Congestion
4. Issue: Highways in and around Ontario cities are extremely congested. According to one study, the number of automobile trips made in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area grew by 56% over a 20-year period compared to a population increase of 45%. Average commute times in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) are the worst in North America causing lost productivity and enormous frustration.
Question: What would you do to alleviate traffic congestion in and between Ontario cities?

Mega-Quarry in Dufferin County
5. Issue: A US-owned company wants to build North America’s second-largest open-pit mine next to the Niagara Escarpment and amidst the headwaters of rivers that provide drinking water for over a million Ontarians. Farmers, citizens, aboriginal people and environmentalists oppose this planned quarry, which will destroy thousands of acres of prime farmland.

This is the largest quarry proposal ever presented in Canada, and its size, scope and potential impacts demands the most comprehensive review, rather than the usual process under the Aggregates Act and the Planning Act. The Environmental Assessment Act was established to deal with large private sector undertakings of this kind and it provides a comprehensive, fair and reasonable legal process.

On September 2, 2011 the Minister of the Environment announced that the government was going to make the Highland Companies application subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.

Question: Will you let stand (not roll back) the recent decision of the current government to make the Highland Companies quarry application subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act?

Ontario Legislature Viewshed
6. Issue: Protecting Heritage Views of Queen’s Park, and Preserving the Dignity of Ontario’s Capital Precinct. The Ontario Legislature is the seat of government for the province and its most important ceremonial space. The protection of the views of the Ontario Legislature is therefore not only a downtown or City of Toronto issue, but also a provincial one.

Even though the City of Toronto is responsible for local planning, the City’s ability to protect these views is seriously limited in the absence of clear provincial policy and laws to protect the silhouette of the Legislative Assembly. The recent OMB decision on 21 Avenue Road has drawn public outrage, and pointed out serious gaps in heritage protection for this view at the province.

Question: What is your position on protecting the view of the silhouette of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from development appearing in the background?

Provincial Election Financing Reform
7. Issue: Reform of campaign finance regulations is needed at both the provincial and municipal levels to provide a level playing field for all candidates. The City of Toronto instituted a ban on corporate and union campaign contributions in municipal elections in 2009, putting it in line with a similar ban in federal elections, provincial elections in Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and municipal elections in Quebec.
Provincial election financing reform will be necessary before a provincial move to implement province-wide election financing reform for all Ontario municipalities.
Question: What is your position on election campaign finance reforms i.e. to prohibit contributions by corporations and unions in provincial and municipal elections?

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