Niagara MPP Petitions Province to Protect Wetlands & Make Conservation Authorities More Publicly Accountable

Petition urges Ontario’s Wynne government “to immediately give access to the Ontario Auditor General to conduct a forensic financial and operational audit and increase authority powers of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry over local conservation authority board operations.”

 You can read a copy of the petition, drafted by Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster, and add your name to it by clicking a link you will find at the bottom of this post.

Posted on Niagara At Large, with an introductory commentary by NAL publisher Doug Draper

August 30th, 2017.

Welland Rding MPP Cindy Forster

Niagara, Ontario – Possibly no member of the provincial legislature has been more vocal in her determination to get the Ontario government to act on concerns and questions many Niagara area residents have raised about the way millions of their tax dollars are being spent by at the  Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority – an NPCA with a board of directors stacked with municipal politicians appointed by a majority of their political counterparts (including themselves, in many cases) on the Al Caslin-led regional council – than Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster.

For her efforts, Forster has weathered a relentless backlash of criticism, peppered with insults and scorn, coming from members of the NPCA board and a cast of their political cronies and willing enablers.

But the Welland Riding MPP, who has weathered enough tragedy in her own life, including the recent death of her brother, has taken the concerns and questions raised by her constituents and others in the greater Niagara area to heart and has carried on.

The question is this.

Ontario Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry meets Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board chair and Fort Erie regional councilor Sandy Annunziati at an event in the province earlier this year. Perhaps, McGarry should meet with a group of Niagara citizens to hear their concerns about the NPCA.

After a year of witnessing the NPCA launch a lawsuit against a private citizens, St. Catharines resident and retired Canadian Armed Forces officer Ed Smith, for questions he has raised about the NPCA’s hiring practices, awarding of contracts and other matters, and its censuring of a long-time, respected Lincoln area regional councillor Bill Hodgson for  whatever it thinks he did wrong around his insisting on an independent audit of its books, and a host of other questionable actions by this board and the body’s senior administrators – where in hell are the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and her Minister of Natural Resources,  Kathryn McGarry?

When are they going to exercise whatever powers they have under an Ontario Conservation Act that sets a framework for Conservation Authority operations and that they  allegedly have some jurisdiction oto do something that counts about the NPCA?

Hello Madam Premier and Minister McGarry.

Don’t go using whatever powers you have to tell the mayor of Toronto (as the premier did not so long ago) that he can’t toll some of his own city roads to pay for their maintenance and discourage car congestion, then turn around and say you have little or no power to do anything about the NPCA mess here.

Many of us in Niagara don’t buy the line that that there is little or nothing you can do, and if you go on doing little or nothing, I am sure, based on all I have heard, that many in this region will show you just how much we don’t buy it when we go out to vote in next spring’s provincial election.

To add insult to the Wynne government’s missing in action status on this one, McGarry recently released a revised draft of the Ontario Conservation Act that is so void of the kinds of reform needed to ensure that Conservation Authorities are publicly accountable and cannot compromise the reason for their existence in the first place, which is supposed to be about conserving and protection natural spaces, that members of the NPCA board praised it.

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors in session. Is that two of the board members on the right and left sides of the table waving at each other there? More on that later.

So now we have a very timely and necessary petition to the provincial government from Cindy Forster, a member of Ontario’s third party, the New Democrats.

And if the Premier and Minister of Natural Resources have a clue what all of the public controversy over the NPCA has been about over the past few years, they might even want to thank Forster for a petition that tosses them one more chance to do the right thing by the people of this region before next year’s provincial election.

Please review and consider lending your name to this petition by clicking on the following link – http://www.cindyforster.com/stop_biodiversity_offsetting1 .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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One response to “Niagara MPP Petitions Province to Protect Wetlands & Make Conservation Authorities More Publicly Accountable

  1. Is the NDP the only party in Niagara that cares about the environment?

    Like

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