Statement from Keith Brooks, Programs Director, Environmental Defence
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – The Auditor General’s reports confirm what Ontarians already know: this government is not interested in protecting the environment, keeping Ontarians safe from the impacts of climate change, or in making evidence-based decisions. Among the long list of grievances Ontarians already have, we can now add a number of others to the list:
- The Ontario government politicized the highway planning process and prioritized projects such as Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass over the recommendations made by ministry staff.
- The Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, is under threat, and the provincial government is not providing adequate resources to the Niagara Escarpment Commission, which was created to protect this unique ecosystem. The Niagara Escarpment Act is routinely violated without consequence. No charges have been laid for contraventions since 2014. The Niagara Escarpment is a vital component of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
- The report confirms that the current government failed to develop long-term energy plans since coming into office, which has resulted in the current rush to build new electricity generation and is providing an excuse to build new polluting gas plants.
- The Ontario government is failing to protect Ontarians from the risks of urban flooding, though the risks of flooding are increasing due to climate change. Additionally, wetlands are being lost at a record pace, and there is no provincial strategy in place to conserve them.
- Ontario doesn’t have a plan nor resources in place to detect, monitor, or address invasive species, which costs the province billions in damages every year. Moreover, a number of invasive species can be found for sale in Ontario.
Today’s Auditor General reports are truly devastating, especially in light of the firestorm of environmentally destructive efforts currently underway with the passage of Bill 23, the plan to take out large areas of farms and forests from the Greenbelt, and the move to further remove wetland protections. We call on the Ontario government to repeal Bill 23 and keep its promise to leave the Greenbelt alone. The Auditor General and the people of Ontario are watching, and the government will be held accountable.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:
Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-356-2587