Take Action


Vote on June 2!  See GASP’s election Wrap-up on what is at stake in this election.

Ontario needs a real climate plan that:

  1. Has “urgency“ & specific actions to phase out oil and gas
  2. Develops a transformative economy that puts people, jobs, and income security first.
  3. Aims to build sustainable systems for climate change reduction and adaptation using proven solutions like renewable green energy.

Ontario must develop low-carbon, climate-resilient rural and urban communities.

The GASP Election team have sent GASP Priorities asking for comment to every candidate from every party in 5 Halton Ridings and will publish a concluding statement prior to Election Day. GASP priorities have been shared far beyond Halton.

Take Action: 
Ask Climate Emergency questions of Candidates at your door.
Work within your own party to ensure that Climate Emergency is top Priority.
Join GASP or other environmental groups to learn about climate organizing.
‘Jump in” to join the next climate action e.g. join Fridays for the Future, join protests to stop highways #413, Stop Sprawl, Save the Farmland, stop Urban Boundary Expansion, etc.

On Sunday, May 29, GASP created a protest video because of the lack of transparency in the Ford government:

  1. Why can’t PC candidates be interviewed at the riding level?  Why are they muzzled?
  2. According to an Op Ed by Lorraine Sommerfield in The Hamilton Spectator, “Right now, right this second, the Ontario ‘s are fighting at the Supreme Court of Canada to make sure you don’t know what was contained in mandate letters to Doug Ford’s ministers.”

View the protest video here. GASP has outlined how local candidates relate to the GASP election priorities – see final analysis here

Take Action – Current Campaigns

  1. Banks – stop funding fossil fuels
  2. Pension Fund Divestment
  3. Basic Income for Just Transition
  4. Ontario Climate Watch – advocate against the Ontario government’s poor environmental performance
  5. Ontario Election – GASP priorities sent to all party candidates

1. Bank Team

In 2020, GASP become aware that our big five Canadian Banks (RBC; TD; BMO; CIBC; Scotiabank) were among the 25 private banks in the world feeding the fire of climate destruction with ongoing fossil fuel investments.

Burning fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – is the main driver of the global climate crisis. In the six-year period (2015-2021), since the Paris Accord, fossil fuel financing from 60 of the world’s largest banks has reached (US) $4.6 Trillion, with $742 billion in fossil fuel financing in 2021 alone.

Canada’s Big Five Banks are among the worst offenders. The 13th edition of the Banking on Climate Chaos report shows that RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC, TD, and Bank of Montreal all increased their financing of fossil fuels by a combined $61 billion in 2021. Between 2016 and 2021, Canadian banks have funneled an alarming $911 billion into coal, oil, gas, and tar sands. Just last year, all of Canada’s banks vowed to become ‘net-zero’ by 2050 – pledging to reduce financed emissions to zero, including offsetting measures – yet in that very same year they provided $165 billion to fossil fuel clients.

Of the “dirty dozen” banks, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD are all in the top 12, with RBC remaining at the top of the list as Canada’s worst offender of fossil fuel funding. “In light of RBC’s increased financing of fossil fuels over the last year, climate commitments without actual follow-through is just more hot air. We are incredibly disappointed that RBC is choosing to light our future on fire instead of being a climate champion,” said Sarah Beuhler, Stand.earth Senior Climate Finance Campaigner.

GASP Actions:

Wrote personal letters to RBC and TD CEOs in August 2020.
Followed up with additional correspondence to RBC and a letter to TD Ombudsman.
Postcard Campaign – December 2020


Meeting with RBC Sustainability Team – on commitment Day of Action “Fossil Banks No Thanks” January 2021.

Lorraine’s Op-Ed “Will my bank do the right thing and divest from fossil fuels”. Published in Hamilton Spectator February 2021

• Day of Action with FFF on March 29th, on banks with Greta pictures.

April Fools Day, 2021, social media blitz.
AGM letter writing campaign to big five banks – April 2021

Lorraine’s Earth Day Op-Ed April 2021 published in Hamilton Spectator

Mother’s Day Postcard Campaign May 2021 (Insert copy of postcard)

Carole’s Op-Ed “A Mother’s Day Call to Action on Climate” May 2021 published in The Spec and Time4Action
“Greenwashing” event July 2021
Global Day of Action for COP 26 #RBCisKillingMe October 2021
Kathleen’s Letter to the Editor “World Leaders We Will Not Accept More Empty Promises” November 2021 published in Hamilton Spectator and Welland Tribune
Shareholder Proposals submitted for RBC and TD November 2021 Shareholder proposal negotiations January 2021
RBC proposal rejected on word count. TD proposal accepted January 2021

Rally with FFF #PeopleNotProfit March 25, 2022

Rally at RBC’s AGM April 7, 2022


Carole’s Op-Ed “We cannot be bystanders as Canada’s big banks accelerate the crisis” published in the National Observer,  Hamilton Spectator and Below2℃ in April 2022

We are asking RBC and TD to disclose timelines and transparent plans for stopping funding of fossil fuel projects, sacrificing our climate to make a profit and our grandchildren’s futures. Letters have been sent to both CEO’s, plus their Board of Directors. Just recently, over 925 postcards have been mailed to RBC and TD branches.

2. Pension Plans

Engaging with your pension plan is an effective way to create systemic change to protect our climate and your retirement.

Link for immediate action:

SHIFT – Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health www.shiftaction.ca

3. Basic Income for Just Transition

Why Basic Income? Currently Canada, the Provinces and Territories have a patchwork of services to meet the needs of citizens that are often hard to apply for, hard to understand and fall short of providing enough money to meet the needs of families and individuals. Basic Income will be part of a robust system of social spending and programs including health care, mental health care, pharmacare, childcare, and education.  As well, it will strengthen labour and housing rights and regulations to ensure fair wages, benefits and access to affordable housing. The end result will be improved mental and physical health, stronger and more resilient communities and better economic outcomes without reducing the amount of work people are prepared to do. Canada already has some programs like this – Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors. Basic Income will be able to be rolled out in similar fashion.

We have worked with various politicians including Senators to support the passage of Basic Income.

Links for immediate action:

National child care program just introduced in 2021 and 2022.
Province of PEI has requested the federal Government to commence a Basic Income project immediately.

Watch May 25, 2021 GASP meeting with Julie Dzerowicz, M.P. for Davenport to discuss the issue of a guaranteed basic income.

  • GASP webinar, November 12,  2020, with MP Leah Gazan, former Senator Hugh Segal, and Tom Cooper, Hamilton Roundtable
  • “A Federal Basic Income Within the Post COVID -19 Economic Recovery Plan”, by Hugh Segal, Evelyn Forget, Keith Banting, 2020. Read here

4. Ontario Climate Watch

Land Use Policy changes in August 2020 have threatened our farmland through urban boundary expansion. GASP members have been instrumental in defending farmland – specifically by advocating for firm urban boundaries at local municipal/regional levels by:

  • delegating to local and regional councils
  • hosting a webinar on Secondary Dwelling Units (SDU’s) in Hamilton with Emma Cubitt – https://invizij.ca/about-us/our-team/emma-cubitt/
  • Supporting StopSprawl Groups in Hamilton and Halton
  • speaking to media (Steve Paiken Show on this issue) – https://www.thepublicrecord.ca/2021/10/hamiltons-urban-boundary-debate-on-tvos-the-agenda/
  • educating the public with news articles and infographics through social media
  • organizing and attending “Save our farmland” rallies
  • delivering “Save our farmland” lawn signs
  • writing letters and calling municipal and regional councillors
  • hosting a “Save our Farmland” rally during summer, 2021
  • attending regional and municipal PIC’s Public Information Centres (PIC’s) on growth options for Halton Regional Municipality
  • letters to the editor on the importance of firm urban boundaries

Stopthe413 and StoptheBradford Bypass Subcommittee

– Ontario Climate Subcommittee has organized multiple Stop The 413 rallies in Oakville
-lawn sign deliveries
-interviews with podcasters/TV

Ontario Government’s Destructive Track Record on the Environment

The Ontario Government has become an ‘obstacle’ to climate change progress, spending $30 million in 2019 to fight the federal carbon price in court. Since Ford took office, Ontario has cancelled 227 clean energy projects, wound down conservation programs, weakened endangered species protections and has taken away powers from the province’s environmental commissioner. The commissioner is meant to hold the government accountable.

In November 2020, the government slipped in drastic changes to its omnibus budget Bill 229. This Bill limits the role of conservation authorities in the development approval process by allowing government ministers to issue permits (MZOs) for development on environmentally sensitive lands. It also allows ministers to override decisions made by authorities to restrict development. Government actions are undermining watershed planning. They are also putting  our natural heritage and the future of the Greenbelt at risk.

List of Activities

The GASP Ontario Climate Watch team has been on alert to monitor Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO’s) and has forged relationships with local municipal councillors. On February 17, 2021, GASP supported Councillor Fogal’s motion to delay the Regional Official Plan Review. The motion was passed unanimously at the Halton Regional Council. Three GASP delegates, Lorraine, Daisy & Dorothy, supported the motion to delay the Regional Official Plan Review by making compelling presentations to Halton Regional Council.

Articles

“The most powerful mechanism municipalities have to minimize GHG emissions is land use planning. Land use planning locks in patterns of a lot of emissions or patterns of very little emissions.” Read article by Michelle Silverton Tom.

Ant-Sprawl Toolkit

GASP prepared an Anti-Sprawl Toolkit – April 13, 2021  to help cities fight for hard urban boundaries. The Toolkit provides a wide variety of resources and documents that will educate you on why land use planning is important and why urban sprawl is so costly in terms of increased taxes for infrastructure maintenance, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.  Halton Hills Councillor Jane Fogal wrote an excellent article on the Ontario government’s Places to Grow Act and the Provincial Policy Statement – A Sprawling Disaster

Delegations

Delegations at the municipal and regional level – Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton, Halton Regional meetings. GASP members were leaders in the Stop Sprawl movement.

Find out more about Ford’s two proposed highways. Click on link Ontario – yours to protect or yours to grow?

Rallies to Stop Highway 413 – GASP has organized many rallies to protest the proposed Highway 413.  The Ontario government is sabotaging our future by causing induced congestion on another highway and more sprawl in the communities that will spring up beside the highway. The GTA needs transportation solutions, but building more roads does not solve congestion. Instead of spending $6-10 billion dollars on another traffic jam, the Ontario government should be investing in low-carbon public transit, walkable communities, and climate change solutions.

Stop Highway 413 –  Environmental Defence Canada

5. Election Team

GASP is a non partisan group of volunteers committed to climate justice and political actions that leave a green legacy. For Federal and Provincial elections we organize an election readiness team to encourage citizens to elect the most climate-friendly politicians. In the past 2 elections GASP has:

  • worked with students from Halton Environmental Network (HEN) to interview all Halton candidates from every party,
  • supported All-Candidates meetings and
  • produced and shared GASP summaries.

For the June 2nd, 2022 Ontario Election, our election team has produced
GASP Election Priorities:

1. Build a “Real” Ontario Climate Emergency Action Plan
2. Develop Sustainable Land Use Planning Reforms
3. Implement a Just Transition
4. Provide a Public Education Campaign on Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
5. Spend What It Takes
(LINK to read more GASP priorities )

Background:

The Ontario Climate Plan has dire implications for Canada because Ontario represents 39% of the population and 38% of GDP. If Ontario does not pledge to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then Canada cannot meet its pledge of 40 to 45 % below 2005 levels by 2030. Ontario has set a weak goal of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The current Ontario Climate Plan is inadequate, as confirmed by the Auditor General’s last three reports for the following reasons:

  • it prioritizes profit and ‘market-based’ planning that leads to unlimited growth,
    building bigger and faster, beyond urban boundaries, over wetlands and farmlands
  • it promotes low density sprawling communities which lock in greenhouse gas
    emissions for the long term.
  • the emphasis on sprawl, new highways and paving over green space threatens the health and livability for future generations in Ontario

Ontario needs a real climate plan that:

  1. Has “urgency“ & specific actions to phase out oil and gas
  2. Develops a transformative economy that puts people, jobs, and income security first.
  3. Aims to build sustainable systems for climate change reduction and adaptation using proven solutions like renewable green energy.

Ontario must develop low-carbon, climate-resilient rural and urban communities.

The GASP Election team have sent GASP Priorities asking for comment to every candidate from every party in 5 Halton Ridings and will publish a concluding statement prior to Election Day. GASP priorities have been shared far beyond Halton.

Take Action: 
Ask Climate Emergency questions of Candidates at your door.
Work within your own party to ensure that Climate Emergency is top Priority.
Join GASP or other environmental groups to learn about climate organizing.
‘Jump in” to join the next climate action e.g. join Fridays for the Future, join protests to stop highways #413, Stop Sprawl, Save the Farmland, stop Urban Boundary Expansion, etc.

On Sunday, May 29, GASP created a protest video because of the lack of transparency in the Ford government:

  1. Why can’t PC candidates be interviewed at the riding level?  Why are they muzzled?
  2. According to an Op Ed by Lorraine Sommerfield in The Hamilton Spectator, “Right now, right this second, the Ontario ‘s are fighting at the Supreme Court of Canada to make sure you don’t know what was contained in mandate letters to Doug Ford’s ministers.”  

View the protest video here. GASP has outlined how local candidates relate to the GASP election priorities – see final analysis here

Vote on June 2!