September’s record-breaking temperatures are a stark reminder: climate change is here, now. Whether in northern communities, a small agricultural town or a bustling city, every Ontarian felt climate’s wrath this summer. The smoke from raging wildfires in northern Ontario and Quebec filled my lungs thousands of kilometres away in Mississauga.
Government action cannot be a distant aspiration; it's an immediate necessity. Mississauga has championed aggressive climate action, introducing the city’s first climate action strategy and setting ambitious emissions reduction targets on the road to achieving net zero by at least 2050.
My mission started when I was elected the city's mayor in 2014. I earned a mandate to transition a suburb into a thriving, densified, urban landscape. Recognizing the need, we transformed carbon-heavy sectors like buildings, transportation and energy.
By ending exclusionary zoning in our downtown and promoting infill development and gentle density, we have made Mississauga a more walkable, livable community. We’ve remediated brownfield and contaminated sites and underused shopping malls, transforming them into thriving, mixed-use neighbourhoods. One of our proudest feats? One of North America’s first net-zero firehalls.
Alongside urbanization, we are massively investing in public transit. The Hazel McCallion Line will be the spine of our LRT network integrated with expanded GO Train service and improved local bus and bus-rapid transit systems. We’ve lowered fares to make eco-friendly commuting convenient, replaced 41 diesel-powered city buses with hybrids, and installed over 70 municipal EV-charging stations.
In addition to reducing emissions from fossil fuels, we’ve made tremendous progress on protecting nature with the creation of new parks, trails and green spaces. I helped lead the charge to protect our Great Lakes as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Our council was one of the first to oppose Doug Ford's removal of protected land from the Greenbelt to build a highway because I will always stand up for our green spaces and agricultural lands.
While cities like ours are surging ahead, there's a distressing lack of provincial leadership. Premier Ford doesn’t have a plan. He’s cancelled programs that could reduce pollution, clean the air, improve our health and create green jobs.
I have a different approach. I'll make combatting climate change a central operating principle of the next Ontario Liberal government so we can set up future generations for success — just as I have as mayor of Ontario’s third-largest city.
Ontario deserves better than what we see today. Under my leadership, we will make Ontario a net-zero province by 2050 and lead by example by transforming the public sector itself by 2040. We will protect 30 per cent of Ontario's land and water by 2030, including the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe and other major bodies of water. This interconnected action includes permanently protecting and expanding the Greenbelt — not swapping pieces out to benefit well-connected, wealthy friends.
While cities like Mississauga are surging ahead with climate measures, there's a distressing lack of provincial leadership in Ontario, writes @BonnieCrombie @OntLiberal #CityofMississauga #onpoli #OntarioLiberals
Partnerships with Indigenous communities on all matters related to their land and water rights will be foundational. We will encourage Indigenous Protected Areas and responsible development of critical mineral deposits. We will electrify transportation, make homes more energy-efficient and roll out EV infrastructure.
With a focus on a sustainable economy, we will also target doubling waste diversion rates in a decade, invest in clean technology, revitalize public transit and implement sustainable urban planning initiatives like protected bike lanes and green spaces.
The overarching goal? Make Ontario climate-change resilient, healthy and thriving.
We owe action to future generations — it’s a moral imperative. Engaging with young people and communities across Ontario this summer fortified my resolve to protect nature, clean our energy sources, improve transit and invest in climate-resilient infrastructure.
Bonnie Crombie is mayor of Mississauga and a candidate for leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.