Peter Ormond, Candidate for Hamilton Centre in Ontario Provincial Election 2014
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Ontario Provincial Election 2014|
|Party||Green Party of Ontario|
Like you, I understand that we can do better. The current system needs to be upgraded. When we truly listen to each-other and appreciate that we all want to make the world a better place, then we’ll work together to build solutions one small step at a time.
Understanding that everything is connected, and we are each part of the bigger system, the shift from an ego-centric to an eco-centric perspective results.
If you look at any aspect of our society, the solutions are obvious and have been discussed for decades. Wise energy use, robust mass transit, local economies and local healthy food supplies are all party of revitalizing the local network of unique communities that surround us. Ironically, many of the solutions to our greatest challenges can be achieved by simplification, and acting on each issue with courage.
Most of the Green Party policies align with what we know is possible, but we’re always told that we can’t afford to change the system. In reality, we can’t continue to pass the responsibility to the next generation. Let’s start being the change, shall we? A native Hamiltonian, and the 2nd youngest of 11 children, I understand the importance of slowing down and living a mindful life. As an engineer, I’ve traveled around the planet working on power generation projects, and now assist companies with their transition to more efficient energy use. I have also taught courses related to engineering, renewable energy, business and the environment at various institutions including Mohawk College and McMaster University. Nationally, I am a past board member of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, and a former member of the Canada’s Energy Efficiency Working Group expert roundtable. I am actively engaged in the greening of Hamilton, and a member of many local organizations.
Gifted with the art of writing, I have collaborated with others numerous times to write and perform plays for Hamilton’s Fringe Festival. This applied imagination is expressed in my eco-home, the Green Cottage near the waterfront that features both a solar electric and a solar hot water system, a green roof, and a robust garden. Canadians, especially Hamiltonians, are ready for leadership that rethinks old habits and steps into new realms of possibilities. It’s time for fresh energy and thoughtful action, which represents that Green light to opportunity, one simple choice at a time. After all, we do vote with every choice made. Let’s start greening the landscape of the world around us, shall we? That includes the political realms.
Peter can be found at facebook.com/greenparty.peterormond as well as on Twitter @Peter_Ormond Peter also maintains a blog here http://eco5ive.wordpress.com/
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|The Ontario School Funding Formula currently incentivizes local school boards to neglect and close neighbourhood schools. Do you support keeping neighbourhood schools open? If so, how?||Yes||The fact that Hamilton's Board of Trustees voted to demolish beautiful old schools and the historic school board building should not be forgotten. Look at the successful Eva Rothwell Centre, now running out of the historic Robert Land School building. Schools are hubs. The buildings should be preserved as community hubs at least.
Urban sprawl has to stop as well. There is some intensification happening within the city boundaries. As the intensification continues and the mass transit is built, the inner core and central hubs will again be the desired place to be.
This also points to the Green Party policy indicating that the school boards should be merged. It begins with a discussion to determine what opportunities there are for sharing resources. Society is interested in efficiency when comes to electricity and our vehicles. Naturally, then a review of our independent school boards makes sense. Again, it all begins with a discussion.
|Do you support Hamilton's plan to build an east-west light rail transit line with full provincial capital funding? If so, how will you ensure the project is funded?||Yes||Of course!!! Who doesn't? 99% do. We've been talking about Hamilton's LRT system for decades! Time to act on it, and now. This will relieve traffic congestion, slow us down, save us lots of $$$, build neighbourhoods, get cars off our roads, and allow the City of Hamilton to develop at the grassroots level, community by community. Plus we have a few things like climate change, urban sprawl and peak oil that can't be ignored any longer.
The project will be funded in a variety of ways. A conversation is required to generate the exact numbers, but at this point, we can't afford to pass the need for a mass transit system onto the next generation. Mechanisms to generate funds include a gas tax, parking fees, congestion fees, tolls, etc. Let's face it; people understand that these systems cost money. They also understand the benefits, including an improved quality of life, environment and reduced road maintenance expenses that will be involved. The savings for users will dwarf the cumulative expenses of continuing with the system as it.
Reducing the number of vehicles on the road is going to reduce the mounting costs of paving and repaving roads.
It's time to rethink the system! Imagine a city with fewer paves surfaces? It's inevitable. We can continue to choose the outdated 'pave-everything' habits, or use our ability to rethink and revitalize our communities through fresh approaches. With the LRT comes calmer traffic, and the ability to integrate with other active modes of transport including walking, cycling and biking.
Ironically, the City of Hamilton just approved the largest urban boundary expansion in Hamilton history to develop farmland around the airport. Notice the irony? The airport, on city land, is privately operated and does NOT pay any tax on the city land used. The airport is focused on the external market, and supports the most inefficient mode of transportation - air flight. We need some of the greedy individuals in town to develop some wisdom and to start realizing that life is about what you give, not what you get.
Imagine if we shifted our priorities to projects in the community that benefit the citizens? That's why we need to start voting a new Green direction.
The Greens would also like to develop local RRSP bonds that can be used to invest in local infrastructure.
|Do you support allowing Ontario residents to appeal to the Ontario Ombudsman with respect to municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, police and children's aid societies (the MUSH sector)?||Yes||I do think that we do need an independent Ombudsman to appeal to just to ensure that our institutions stay on track when delivering their programs.
However, there should be a mechanism to ensure that report results do have some teeth.
The Green Party is based on values that include social justice, integrity, respect for diversity, sustainability and ecological wisdom. These values are in the interest of every living creature now and into the future. Vote Green for you and your grandchildren's future.
|Should the province play a role in encouraging safer streets that promote more active transportation like walking and cycling?||Yes||The province can be providing funds for Ontario cities to develop active transport infrastructure. Imagine the city with a network of walking, hiking and biking paths. In Ottawa, Colonel Bye drive is closed every Sunday morning and is packed with cyclists. Hamilton can follow suit easily.
Hamilton has Open Streets, and the Super Crawl. When I was a child we used to close Spruceside Ave for street dances. It's time to make these simple community-building activities more accessible. And speaking of accessible, mass transit will be a wonderful mechanism to get seniors, families and those with special needs to move efficiently from A to B. Plus it will remove vehicles from the roads and make access by active transport safer and more available to others.
|Do you support the proposal to build a new mid-Peninsula highway?||No||Of course NOT ! Paving farmland doesn't make sense. We have enough roads already, and mass transit infrastructure within cities and between cities inevitable in the future. We're in the 21st century folks, so let's get with the times. No new highways anymore. The focus has to be mass transit.
|Do you support maintaining or expanding the protection of farmland and rural natural land from urban boundary expansions?||Yes||If we don't have food to eat, the politeness disappears. Riots result. Farmland that produces food should be our top priority. We have urban farming emerging as an exciting option that our grandparent's took for granted. Plus I'd like to see medians and green spaces planted with perennial food-producing plants and pollinators rather than manicured grass or flowerbeds that are replanted every two weeks and watered every day.
Right now, Hamilton's airport expansion is a case study on what not what to do. At the OMB hearing, concerned citizens proved that the data used by the City of Hamilton was outdated. However, the Ontario Municipal Board ruled that this data was irrelevant. Seriously! The brownfields on Hamilton's abandoned industrial sites are already serviced as well.
Therefore, upwards of a billion dollars could be spent on airport lands expansion and servicing. Basically, we're paying to pave over prime farmland. This is silently ignored by the mainstream media. Meanwhile, citizens flock around the table to debate the allocation of riding-specific parliamentary budgeting tasks, with net budgets in the order of 0.1% of the resources allocated to the airport. On a positive note, the process does build community.
The Greens will dismantle the OMB. We'll also start speaking out about some of the local issues that our local MP's and MPP's ignore over and over again. Hamilton's Airport is a classic example of greed of a few local 'heroes' trumping the needs of the community.
We can continue as is, or start a new direction. If we want different results, then it's time to start voting for them. Vote for the new path that Green offers.
|Do you support regional GO transit expansion, including all-day two-way GO train service to Hamilton?||Yes||Definitely, of course. The new James North station is being constructed now. When I visit downtown TO, I always take the GO bus. GO transit will be transformative for the City of Hamilton.
|Do you accept the evidence of human-caused global warming? If so, what policy measures do you support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? If not, why not?||Yes||I do believe in climate change, and the anthropogenic impacts of man. I've attended several of United Nations conferences on Climate Change as a delegate of the Climate Action Network and also as a media person.
We know the measures. Live locally. Invest in local business. Simplify. Go low-tech. Eat less meat. Eat lower on the food chain. Buy less stuff. Buy local. Fly less or not at all. Don't drive. They're all simple. However, the key is to understand the cumulative impact of small measures by many. We know all of this stuff, but just have to start acting on it. Kinda like voting Green.
As fuel prices rise, efficiency is necessary for companies to stay open. Mass transit, more efficient homes, distributed energy throughout our communities and a deep rethink and revitalization of our energy system are required.
The transformation is inevitable. The question really is: "how long do we want to resist it"? I'd be embracing Green with both arms. And with my vote.