For Our Grandchildren surveyed all candidates in the Peterborough area with five questions about their intentions on the issue of the climate crisis. We did this for two reasons: 1) to raise awareness among the candidates of what kind of actions are possible to reduce GHG emissions in their community; 2) to give citizens a chance to see where the candidates stand on this urgent issue.

We received responses from all mayoral candidates in Peterborough City and from over half of other candidates. This level of response shows that in general our candidates consider climate action to be a pressing issue.

Given the climate change crisis, it is critical that we elect mayors and councillors who understand the importance of taking strong and immediate action to reduce GHG emission in our communities. Our survey results can help you understand where candidates in your municipality and ward stand.

What Can Municipalities Do?

Across Canada municipalities have influence over roughly 50% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada.

Through their infrastructure and operations, municipal governments directly contribute about five percent to greenhouse gases (GHG). The remaining 95% mostly comes from the community: households, industry, agriculture and transportation. By adopting policies and practices that reduce, remove or avoid GHG emissions and pursuing meaningful ways to adapt to changing climate realities, municipalities can improve their residents’ quality of life while saving money in operating costs.

Examples of direct GHG emissions for the municipal corporation include municipal buildings, the fleet of vehicles and equipment (from trucks and buses to grass cutting equipment), streetlights, garbage collection and landfills, and operational activities.

In addition, municipalities indirectly influence the 95% of greenhouse gases emitted from the community through policies and regulations such as planning and zoning, building regulations, public education, and grants to improve the energy-efficiency of buildings. So, although a municipality can reduce its own emissions, it can also influence what others can do.

What Did the Candidates Say?

From the response to our survey, we saw a wide range of opinion about the importance of taking action and what candidates were interested in trying to accomplish. For a minority of candidates who responded to our survey, taking action to reduce GHG emissions was a top or high priority. However, for many, the priority was much lower or was not seen as important at all. Some didn’t think there was anything their municipality could do. We don’t know what opinion was held by those who chose not to respond to our survey.

Here is a sample of the types of suggestions the urban and rural candidates offered.

  • Inform the community about the importance of taking action and promote what individuals and households can do to reduce their carbon footprint, such as: reduce idling of gas and diesel vehicles, replace oil and gas furnaces with air-source heat pumps, and improve airtightness and insulation in homes.
  • Plant trees and preserve greenspace to increase natural capture carbon.
  • Gradually electrify the municipal fleet of vehicles and equipment.
  • Increase the lengths of trails and bicycle lanes.
  • Improve or introduce public transit – and encourage its use.
  • Influence the design of residential development and new buildings to reduce GHG emissions and generate electricity through solar and wind.
  • Retrofit municipal, commercial and industrial buildings to reduce GHG emissions and generate electricity.
  • Encourage the adoption of electric vehicles and install more charging stations.
  • Reduce landfill waste through recycling and composting.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of outdoor lighting.
  • Adapt farming practices to increase sustainability and reduce GHG emissions and energy use.
  • If not already in place, add a Climate Change or Sustainability Coordinator to staff to help plan for GHG reductions, record progress, inform the community and apply for federal and provincial funding for programs.
  • Add a significant recurring line item to the budget specifically for climate change actions
  • Share best practices on reducing GHG emissions among municipalities.

Survey Results

If you see that a candidate in your riding did not reply, we suggest that you personally ask them some of the questions and let them know that we will accept late responses for a few more days.

Candidate Replies to the survey are presented in red text.

You can navigate within the responses by clicking on the Table of Contents links and the Back to Top link at the bottom of each page.