Ontario Premier designate Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal party went against the political trend of trying to win the election through tax cuts. Rather, in favour of more government spending, they attained a big majority at the polls last night. The Liberals say that the province can not afford more tax cuts and that the money should be invested instead for enhanced health care, better public schools and a cleaner environment. In his acceptance speech, Mr. McGuinty referred to clean air and clean water as two of his government’s priorities.
In addition, Mr. McGuinty has stated that he would freeze the development of provincially-owned Ontario Realty Corporation. As part of the Liberal plan to contain sprawl along the greenbelt that runs from the Niagara Escarpment through Durham Region, there will be no further development until proper testing of the lands are conducted.
For further information about environmental issues in Ontario, see related articles at www.solidwastemag.com and a report available at www.ontarioelectionenivronment.com
For further information about generating funds for environmental programs, Smart Growth Strategies, and on revitalizing the role of non-governmental organizations see “Greening Ontario," the Ontario Conservation Council’s strategy paper at http://www.greenontario.org
In addition, for further information about Smart Growth, see the article by Maria Kelleher in the October/November edition of the magazine.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Premier’s predecessor Ernie Eves recently got a failing grade from the Environmental Defence Canada (EDC). The environmental group says that three years after the Walkerton water tragedy only 19 of 121 recommendations made by inquiry head Mr. Justice Dennis O’Connor were implemented by the Tory government.
Justice O’Connor held the inquiry after the tragedy in Walkerton in 2000 in which seven people died and 2,000 became ill. The inquiry resulted in several recommendations to prevent source contamination and ensure good drinking water quality.
Environment ministry spokesperson Mark Rabbior disagreed with EDC’s findings, saying 26 recommendations have been implemented, and another 52 are being implemented through new legislation.
Critics say that the implementation of measures like the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Nutrient Management Act has been too slow. Justice O’Connor also called for mandatory training for operators to be in place by May 2004, but it’s not expected to happen until 2005.
To read the full report, visit www.edcanada.org