This week, Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Michael Coteau released an environmental plan (https://www.anewfocuson.com/a_green_ontario) that puts rural Ontario at the centre of keeping Ontario green.
“A green Ontario is not only an environmental imperative, it is a massive building block for constructing our future prosperity,” said the third-term MPP.
“Simply benefiting from a cleaner environment is not enough. We need to make sure our rural communities prosper from our plan to fight climate change,” he said.
Coteau’s policy paper, A New Focus on the Environment, pledges to:
- Preserve and expand the greenbelt through collaboration with municipalities;
- Protect prime agricultural land and defend it against flooding and drought to ensure farming remains a sustainable core component of our economic success and food security;
- Incentivize carbon capture and sequestration through agriculture and other areas of the economy
- Build regionally integrated transit with expanded support inter-municipal bus services that are fare-free for users;
- End commercial exploitation of water;
- Bring forward Right-to-Repair legislation to help farmers in rural communities build strategies against planned obsolescence, saving them money on electronic devices and reducing waste.
“I see opportunity in every region of our province. Unfortunately, that opportunity is too often wasted because government isn’t investing in the right things,” said Coteau. “If a farmer is willing to make the investments to in new technology to help our environment, we need to be there to support them.
“For the farmer. For the environment. For the economy. It’s all connected. We need to dispel the archaic notions of left and right, and seize the opportunities that are going to make us all better off,” he said.
Michael Coteau immigrated to Canada as a child and grew up in Flemingdon Park, a working-class neighbourhood in North York. The first member of his family to graduate high school and university, he started his own small business, worked as a community organizer and head of a national nonprofit. He was elected to the Toronto District School Board three times and served as vice-chair of the board, championing digital tools in the classroom, equity strategies and community use of schools. Coteau was elected three times as Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley East, and served in multiple ministries where he was tasked with bringing people together to fix tough files, including supports for children with autism, reforming services for children in care, delivering a successful Pan-Am Games, supporting film and cultural economic development, and implementing an anti-racism strategy. He and his wife, Lori, are raising two young daughters.
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