Statement from Environmental Defence’s Programs Director Keith Brooks on the attacks on the environment in Ontario’s Economic Outlook
Toronto, Ont.– Today’s Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review is a major setback to environmental protection and the fight against climate change.
The plan to fold the Environmental Commissioner into the Auditor General’s office is troubling. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) and her staff provide vital evidence-based oversight on environmental decisions and report on Ontario’s track record on protecting the environment, services which we need now more than ever. In recent weeks and months, the ECO was critical of the cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program and climate change action plan and called attention to the fact that raw sewage is pouring into Ontario’s rivers and lakes. This move to kneecap environmental oversight is more about silencing a critic than about cost-cutting.
The plan to sticker gas pumps with the cost of the federal carbon tax is meant to confuse people and stoke outrage. A carbon tax is the most cost-effective policy governments can use to fight against climate change. And the tax will actually leave most households better off financially, because the federal government intends to rebate the majority of the revenue raised directly back to Ontarians.
And it makes no sense for Ontario to waive the right to veto fossil fuel pipeline projects. If this government is truly interested in representing the will of the people, it should retain its ability to consult with Ontarians on major energy projects that threaten freshwater and hasten climate change, and then act on their wishes.
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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