New poll finds 82 per cent also want province to provide more public transit funding

TORONTO | Traditional territory of many nations – including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples — More than eight in 10 Ontarians support farmers’ opposition to a proposed highway through the Greenbelt, a new EKOS poll has found.

Highway 413 would destroy thousands of acres of prime agricultural land that could never be recovered, prompting many farmers to oppose the project.

Nearly three-quarters of poll respondents (74 per cent) also agree “the Greenbelt is no place for new highways.”

“This is the only poll we know of that probes Ontarians’ views on farmers and Highway 413,” says National Farmers Union Ontario president Max Hansgen. “The results are clear. A large majority of residents agree with our farmers: paving the Greenbelt and destroying the land that feeds us makes no sense.”

The Ontario government’s $8 billion plan to save commuters 30 seconds has little to do with improving transportation and everything to do with the inevitable urban sprawl the project would facilitate. This poll serves as a clear reminder that it’s up to us to be vocal about our needs and hold governments accountable in meeting those needs.

In addition to opposing the highway and the greenhouse gas that comes with it, Ontarians also want government to spend more money on public transit. Eighty-two per cent agree that the province should provide more transit funding “so residents can safely get to work or school.”

“This new poll is unique because it makes clear what Ontarians do and don’t want,” says David Suzuki Foundation transportation policy analyst Gideon Forman. “They want improved public transit. They don’t want to open the Greenbelt.”

In Toronto, the poll’s findings are stark. Ninety per cent of respondents from that city agree that, to reduce congestion, the provincial and federal governments should put more money into public transit.

“Rail systems and public transit are much better uses of our dollars,” says Dean Orr, King City farmer against Highway 413. “They have greater capacity to move people and reduce car pollution and our overall environmental impact.”

If the Ontario government is serious about reducing traffic, it can prove it by investing taxpayer dollars into the services Ontarians are asking for, solutions with real long-term benefits for commuters, farmers and our shared environment.

Stand with Ontario farmers and sign the petition to help stop Highway 413.

The EKOS poll results are based on a random survey of 834 Ontario adults fielded from November 17 to 26, 2023. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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For more information, contact:

Gideon Forman, transportation policy analyst, David Suzuki Foundation (647) 703-5957

Max Hansgen, President, National Farmers Union-Ontario (613) 464-1251