JOINT NEWS RELEASE
by ONTARIO NATURE & GREENPEACE CANADA
Over 50 organizations speak out against the gutting of environmental laws in Ontario’s budget bill:
“We, the undersigned, would like to voice our deep concern about Bill 55, the Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2012 and to request that you withdraw all schedules amending environmental legislation from the bill. Bill 55 obstructs the public’s right to participate in environmental decision-making by circumventing the statutory process for public consultation that is normally guaranteed under the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993. In so doing it erodes government accountability, transparency and environmental responsibility.”
GREEN GUISE – Too Little, To Late
Are these not the same GREEN guys responsible for the anti-democratic Greed Energy/Economy Act which is the cause of all this “modernizing” and “streamlining” and outright elimination of environmental regulations! Back in 2009 Lawrence Soloman wrote for the National Post:
“Ontario’s Green Energy Act should more accurately be called Ontario’s Gangreen Act.
No piece of legislation in memory will do more to simultaneously undermine Ontario’s economy and environment. This one act rolls back decades of environmental gains in the energy sphere and opens the door to a future of environmental outrages.”
Perhaps McGuinty will listen to them now, or NOT. He ignored those of us who saw it coming. We begged the NDP to stand against it. Nada!, from them as well, when they had the power to do more than babble with the rabble. Oh Andrea where were you in the hour of need, busy token taxing the rich?
In “Why did Ontario kill public participation rights?”
Mark Mattson, Waterkeeper.ca Weekly October 27th, 2010 wrote:
“It’s been almost twenty years since Ontario established itself as a world leader in environmental protection. We created a variety of laws and policies that set the gold-standard for protecting the environment and public rights, including the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). The EBR guaranteed public scrutiny of all pollution permits. It allowed the public (you and I) to appeal government decisions to an independent environmental appeals board whenever there was a serious environmental or policy issue at stake…
Nine years ago, we launched Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to save and celebrate Lake Ontario. As it turned out, we have spent most of the last decade fighting just to save our right (and your right) to try to save Lake Ontario. We have faced industry and government public relations campaigns to reduce public accountability and good decision making. We tried to side-step these campaigns by joining formal processes that scrutinized evidence, corrected mistakes and listened to public concerns before granting pollution permits. In that arena, we were highly successful in reducing pollutants entering our air and water, and in ensuring that promises made to government were enforceable.
Instead of recognizing the benefits of the process, industry and government have joined forces to gut environmental processes and slash environmental rights and protections. Despite our work, writings, submissions and policy research, Ontario is no longer a world leader in environmental protection.”
Unfortunately rent-seeking green groups forged the link between government and industry which has undermined local democracy and environmental rights. Where were they in the weeks before the budget was voted on? Now, belatedly, they are trying to play the hero but looking instead like they are a day late and a dollar short – and just into more job-creation.
We know that the Auditor General of Ontario reported:
Although the Ministry consulted with stakeholders in developing the supply-mix directives, the LTEP, and the Green Energy and Green Economy Act, billions of dollars were committed to renewable energy without fully evaluating the impact, the trade-offs, and the alternatives through a comprehensive business-case analysis. Specifically, the OPA, the OEB, and the IESO acknowledged that:
• no independent, objective, expert investigation had been done to examine the potential effects of renewable-energy policies on prices, job creation, and greenhouse gas emissions; and
• no thorough and professional cost/benefit analysis had been conducted to identify potentially cleaner, more economically productive, and cost-effective alternatives to renewable energy, such as energy imports and increased conservation.
Would it not be a really good idea to call a halt to this insanity and go back to do the expert ground work which would have exposed the unacceptable social, environmental, and economic costs and the non-existent long-term benefits of renewable energy sprawl? We owe our environment at least that much respect and protection.
In a recent decision the UNECE has ruled that the manner in which the EU is implementing its renewable energy programme (20% renewable energy by 2020) is not in compliance with the Aahus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. There are long established legal procedures where, if a Member State does not comply with EU law, the citizen can seek ‘damages made good’.
Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, to which Canada is a signatory, states:
Environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level. At the national level, each individual shall have appropriate access to information concerning the environment that is held by public authorities, including information on hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative proceedings, including redress and remedy, shall be provided.
Redress and remedy for sure, better now than later when the toll is higher.