Statement from Environmental Defence Executive Director Dr. Rick Smith on the Ontario Speech from the Throne
“The Throne Speech commitment to introduce a Great Lakes Protection Act is welcome, and a significant opportunity for all parties to unite around the protection of this priceless resource. We are pleased to hear that the province remains committed to the innovation, jobs, and economic opportunities created by the Green Energy Act.
The Great Lakes are the source of drinking water for 80% of Ontarians and they are an ecosystem in peril. The International Joint Commission warned this year that, “beach closings, nuisance algal growth, the establishment of alien invasive species, and habitat loss are just some of the troublesome developments in the nearshore that act as harbingers of future changes in offshore waters.”
All Ontario parties agree on the importance of protecting our water quality. In the lead up to the October election the Progressive Conservatives promised to “protect our land, lakes, and rivers”; the NDP said it would implement a Great Lakes Protection Act, and designate a Minister responsible for the Great Lakes; and the Green Party said it would “ensure clean air, water and food by reducing pollution, and improving water quality and sewage treatment.”
The promised Great Lakes Protection Act gives Ontarians a chance to join with other Great Lakes jurisdictions in protecting what we have in addition to restoring what we have lost. Environmental Defence looks forward to working with all provincial parties to determine how best to heal the Great Lakes, by addressing critical issues that have not been fixed through existing Great Lakes agreements.”
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell), skohls@environmentaldefence.ca