THUNDER BAY — This week, Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Michael Coteau released an environmental plan (https://www.anewfocuson.com/a_green_ontario) that the candidates states puts northern 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. Today, on a stop in Thunder Bay, he made it clear that northern communities are essential to that plan. Northern Ontario is already home to an abundance of natural beauty,” said Coteau. “We have to put home first—we have to make sure that the home to our natural beauty prospers from our plan to protect it as well.”
Coteau’s policy paper, A New Focus on the Environment, pledges to:
- Build regionally integrated transit that addresses the long-standing transportation needs in our province’s northern regions, and is fare-free for users;
- Incentivize carbon capture and sequestration in Northern Ontario;
- End commercial exploitation of water;
- Increase land protected by provincial parks and conservation areas;
- Bring forward Right-to-Repair legislation to help Northern 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 the government isn’t investing in the right things,” said Coteau. “I don’t want to see another Northern miss out on an opportunity because the transit systems aren’t there to support them.
“Making these things available in Northern Ontario is good for the environment, good for the economy and good for people. It’s not about left or right—it’s about seizing an opportunity and making this province work for everyone.”
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.