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04/10/2008: "They've Finally Had Enough!"
Looks like our northern brethren and sisthren have had it with car culture and the slavish thrall in which it holds the alleged representatives of the people. The Canadian advocacy group Streets Are for People! has initiated a petition to the government requesting, in properly formal language, that it stop pandering to the motorheads, and succinctly and cogently lays out just why.

Here's the text of the petition:
WHEREAS Car Culture has destroyed and alienated our communities and dominated our public space;
WHEREAS equitable mobility is a right, and transportation is a need to all, including the young, the elderly, and those who refuse to drive;
WHEREAS Ontario is sorely lacking in infrastructure for active and public transportation (ie. In most of the province there is no choice but to drive a car);
WHEREAS a reported 26% of Ontario's economy is directly linked to an auto-manufacturing sector that year after year has proven volatile and unsustainable, requiring billions of dollars in government loans and subsidies under the constant threat of laying-off thousands of workers at a time;
WHEREAS Ontario has covered hundreds of thousands of acres of our country's most fertile farmland with concrete highways and suburban housing developments, and whereas our imported food supply is increasingly threatened in this time of climate change;
WHEREAS The Ministry of the Environment issued 39 Smog Alerts in 2007, a year with 86 days of air quality at worse than 30 AQI (Air Quality Index);
WHEREAS pollution from smog is directly linked to asthma, breast cancer, leukemia, and the sedentary lifestyle of the auto-dependant is linked to the epidemics of diabetes and obesity that increasingly plague our country;
WHEREAS Toronto Public Health reports that 440 deaths per year in the city of Toronto are directly linked to pollution from cars, and Ontario Medical Association estimates 5800 deaths yearly in Ontario from smog;
WHEREAS the Canadian Institute of Child Health sites traffic injuries as the leading cause of injury and death in Canadian school children;
WHEREAS billions of dollars are currently spent on the health system to treat accident victims, victims of smog, treatment of diseases linked to our societies reliance on the automobile.
WHEREAS financial decisions made by the Ontario Government have a drastic impact on global climate change and the ability of our biosphere to support life.

WE the undersigned petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows:

1. Stop any tax-breaks, subsidies or loans to the automotive sector.
2. Create a public awareness campaign exposing the ill effects of automobile dependency.
3. Ban the advertising of automobiles (just like cigarettes).
4. Immediately allocate money to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, public transit, and an inter-city train system, including programs to help shift our labour force into these sectors.
5. Amend the Highway Traffic act making street closures for community festivals distinct from closures for general road construction.
6. Put a halt to development projects that do not support the use of public and active transportation.
7. Create programs to encourage the development of small-scale, mixed organic and natural farming of food for the local market, with tax breaks for hiring labour instead of labour-saving, pollution-creating machines.
8. Measure the cost of all government spending with a triple bottom line, (including social, environmental and economic impact.)
9. Stop subsidizing the destruction of our farmland, the poisoning of our air and the general ill health of our people.
10. Make policy decisions considering the value of life over the value of money.
It won't do any good to sign the petition if you're not Canadian, but if you are, go to The Petition Site and do so; otherwise, read it for ideas you may be able to enact in your own territory. (It's easiest to read if you click the button marked "View Whole Petition.")

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