Energy economy the way forward for NDP leadership hopeful

Pushing for a “new energy economy” will be a top priority if Peter Tabuns becomes the next leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party.

The MPP for Toronto-Danforth launched his leadership campaign in front of a large crowd of supporters at the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre on Queen Street East on Oct. 26.

Tabuns wants to eliminate Ontario’s addiction to imported energy and create new jobs in renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

“Ontario is on a tightrope, strung high above a rust belt future,” he said. “If we want to change that future, we need to change the NDP.”

If Ontarians want a manufacturing future while tackling problems like climate change, he’s the man for the job, he added. As former executive director of Greenpeace Canada, Tabuns says he has the background and the understanding of what it will take to “future-proof the province” against environmental damage and economic uncertainty.

“More than anything, energy will decide whether Ontario rusts or prospers in the decades ahead,” he said.  “We need to change course. Ontario’s dangerous coal habit and dependence on financially ruinous nuclear power must come to an end.”

Tabuns said he plans to use the initiative of a “new energy economy as a central organizing principle” to bring together workers and environmentalists in a common cause.

Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park, said Ontario has Dalton McGuinty to thank for the loss of 230,000 manufacturing jobs and rising poverty. She supports Tabuns’ candidacy and said he’s the best man to bring change to the NDP.

“This is a man who was the executive director of Greenpeace,” she said. “I think in moving forward, our party needs to have that green agenda, a really solid economic plan and needs to think positively about the future and Peter is the man.”

Tabuns is running against MPPs Gilles Bisson (Timmons-James Bay), Michael Prue (Beaches-East York) and Andrea Howarth (Hamilton Centre). The leadership convention to replace outgoing leader Howard Hampton takes place in Hamilton on March 6-8.