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An election resource from the Centre for Public Ethics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

Sustaining our Planetary Home

The people of Ontario go to the polls on June 7, 2018, to choose their next provincial government. The Centre for Public Ethics has prepared these bulletins to help members of faith communities discuss issues and deliberate on their electoral choices.

Addressing Climate Change – Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In December 2015, Canada signed onto the Paris climate accord that was agreed to by 195 nations. Canada pledged a 30-per-cent reduction of its 2005 level of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030. The aim of the accord is to keep “a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”1 Two degrees is the level that scientists have recommended, and governments have endorsed, as the threshold that could trigger dangerous consequences (e.g. severe forest fires and weather events). For Canada to reach these reductions, the federal, provincial and municipal governments will all have an important contribution to make.

The federal government, provinces and territories in consultation with Indigenous peoples have developed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to meet these emission reduction targets and maintain economic growth.2 Individuals, faith groups, community organizations and businesses will all need to lead by example.

In 2016, Ontario released its five-year Climate Change Action Plan to achieve these reductions. Municipalities have an important role as they develop plans to renew their infrastructure, land-use planning, mass public transit, waste and water management, and in other areas.3 Ontario produces 171 megatonnes annually of greenhouse gas emissions notably in transportation (35%), industry (28%) and in buildings (19%).4

Results of a 2016 Nanos poll suggest that 75% of Ontarians support a national climate-action plan and that a similar percentage (75.1%) believe that provinces have a “responsibility to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 to help Canada achieve its national climate commitments.”5 Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan has only a five-year time horizon. Some have raised questions whether Ontario can achieve its own proposed reduction targets of 15% by 2020; of 37% by 2030; and of 80% by 2050 to meet the Paris commitments.6

Questions for Your Candidate

  • Which policies would you put in place to ensure Ontario meets Canada’s 30-per-cent greenhouse gas reduction commitment to the Paris Agreement by 2030?
  • How would you work with your provincial and federal counterparts to implement the Pan- Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change? What revisions would you support for this framework?
  • How would your government support the work of municipalities in Ontario?
  • How would you hold your government accountable to the public in terms of reporting the effectiveness of your policies?
  • Would your government support faith communities in reducing the carbon footprint of their buildings through financial incentives/grants for sustainability improvements?


For more information, check out these organizations:

  • Churches and faith groups in Ontario support the following faith-based organizations. You may find them helpful.
  • Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ): Based in Ottawa, Citizens for Public Justice is a national faith- based organization of individual members who are working for justice. They have useful resources on their web site. They also organize events and campaigns.
  • Kairos Canada: KAIROS is a national organization that unites churches and religious organizations in faithful ecumenical response to the call “to do justice, and love kindness and walk humbly with your God,” (Micah 6:8). It works on a wide range of concerns — notably Indigenous issues.

A Prayer for Ontario

For creation where many long for the good earth, clean water, and a clear sky,
For food where many are hungry,
For a home where many are homeless,
For a livelihood where many still can't find work,
For neighbours and friends where many are lonely,
For enough for all where some have too much,
We pray for wisdom to discern justice, to work for peace and to sustain God’s gift of creation.

For leaders offering to lead this province,
For Kathleen Wynne (Liberal), Vic Fedeli (Interim-PC), Andrea Horwath (NDP), Mike Schreiner (Green Party),
For all willing to stand as candidates in their ridings
Especially we remember... (Insert name of candidates in your riding),
For all the families of candidates and for those who work to support them,
We give thanks and pray they may be guided by wisdom, compassion, civility and a commitment to the good of all, especially the most vulnerable among us.


1The Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” United Nations Climate Change, accessed Jan. 15, 2018.

2Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change,” Dec. 1, 2017.

3 Government of Ontario, “Climate Change Action Plan,” Text,, May 20, 2016.

4 Sarah Burch, “Will Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan Transform Communities?” (Waterloo, Ontario, October 2016).

5 Nanos to Clean Energy Canada, “Views on Climate Change Initiatives,” September 2016.

6 Ibid.


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