Doug Ford’s Ontario – Open for Pollution

Ottawa – Vanier MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers calls on Ford Government to reconsider Bill 66

Doug Ford has broken yet another promise made to the people of Ontario. This PC government already gutted oversight by eliminating the role of the independent environmental commissioner in Ontario, and now we know why.

Last year, Doug Ford told his developer friends behind closed doors that he would open up the Greenbelt. Now, he is making good on that commitment with Bill 66.

Bill 66 gives the government unprecedented power to allow for development on environmentally sensitive land in the Greenbelt. Doug Ford is putting industry ahead of the environment and public safety, overriding important environmental protections such as the Clean Water Act and the Greenbelt Act. This means developers will replace farmland with factories without any oversight or measurement of the environmental impact.

This bill eliminates the requirement to consult neighbours on changes made to zoning within the greenbelt, giving developers carte-blanche and removing citizen’s say in this process. Developers will go forward without telling the public about the impacts on water, wetlands or green spaces.  This omnibus deregulation bill is not only irresponsible, it’s incredibly dangerous.

The environmental and economic benefits of our internationally-recognized Greenbelt are undeniable. While protecting over two million acres of environmentally sensitive land, the greenbelt contributes more than $9 billion to the province’s economy each year.  The Greenbelt protects nature and it provides good jobs. Ignoring this information means Doug Ford is again focusing on ideology over evidence. Many municipalities have already stated that they oppose these anti-Greenbelt provisions.

Bill 66 is a disaster. Ensuring our communities have clean drinking water is not red tape, and environmental protections shouldn’t be either. Developing the Greenbelt will lead to increased sprawl, congestion, pollution and infrastructure costs. The Liberal caucus and I are adamantly opposed to Bill 66, and are calling on the PC government to respect 20 years of environmental protection and reconsider Bill 66 immediately.

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