The Inside Agenda Blog

Towards A Greener Ontario on Earth Day

by Steve Paikin Wednesday April 22, 2009

For all of the legitimate criticisms leveled at Dalton McGuinty during the six years of his premiership, he is, without question, one of the most gifted politicians I've ever seen around children. 


Yesterday morning, flanked by his energy and education ministers, the premier went to St. Paul Catholic School in the Cabbagetown neighbourhood of Toronto to talk to Grade 1 and 2 students about making their school more energy efficient. 


energy annct
Premier Dalton McGuinty, flanked by Deputy Premier George Smitherman and Education Minister Kathleen Wynne at Tuesday's energy efficiency announcement


Rather than preaching to the kids, McGuinty engaged in a Q&A with them that drew them into the announcement. It's always risky using children for what are essentially props at a government photo op. But the premier does this well.


"Anything we can do to make things better for the environment," he asked them? 


"Put banana peels in a compost bucket," one student said.


"I love that idea!" the premier responded. "Are you guys ever smart. I'm starting to feel inadequate here."


Opposition politicians, supply your own punch line here. 


energy annct (4)Eventually, the premier got around to announcing plans to spend $550 million to help make 1,000 schools more energy efficient.


Given that there are 5,000 publicly funded schools in Ontario, the money actually doesn't go as far as the needs indicate.   


But the province will transfer the money to school boads, who will decide which schools get new energy efficient lightbulbs, new roofs, better heating or air conditioning units, etc.


They also expect to create 5,500 "green jobs" in the process.


Happy Earth Day everyone.