Niagara Area MPP Pushing For Provincial Powers To Clean House At Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

“Nobody has oversight authority over the NPCA and they should. It’s disappointing that the Wynne Liberals (Premier Kathleen Wynne and other members of the current governing party in Ontario) continue to allow the actions of the NPCA to go unchecked.”  – Welland NDP MPP Cindy Forster

Forster To Introduce Legislation To Bring Transparency And Accountability To The NPCA

Niagara MPP Cindy Forster in Ontario Legislature. File Photo

A News Release from the Office of Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

Posted January 11th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park, Toronto  — Welland NDP MPP Cindy Forster says she will table legislation to bring accountability to regional conservation authorities and ensure board members have the environmental expertise necessary to perform their role, starting with the embattled Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).

Forster’s announcement follows the Wynne Liberals voting down NDP amendments to Bill 139, Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act.

“Nobody has oversight authority over the NPCA and they should,” she said. “It’s disappointing that the Wynne Liberals continue to allow the actions of the NPCA to go unchecked.”

Forster is critical of NPCA hiring practices, property purchases and its overall management.  In October, she successfully passed a motion calling for Ontario’s Auditor General to conduct a full financial audit of the NPCA, which is now underway.

Last month, the Wynne government voted down NDP amendments to Bill 139 that would have required board members of conservation authorities to demonstrate a level of environmental and conservation expertise in order to serve on the board.

New Democrats also pressed for the ability of the province to appoint a supervisor when conservation authorities like the NPCA go rogue.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Natural Resources Minister Kathryn McGarry have received calls for action from many Niagara citizens, from Niagara MPPs from all three major political parties (including their own), from a majority of local municipal councils and from the Ontario Public Services Employees Union for more than a year now, and have yet to step in and do something about a wave of questions and concerns surrounding the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Forster will now include these amendments in a private members bill that she will table when the legislature resumes in 2018.

“Time and time again, the NPCA board has made decisions that go against its mandate and the purposes of the Conservation Authorities Act,” said Forster. “Families in the Niagara region now see their conservation authority ignoring provincial environmental protections, and putting well-connected special interests ahead of the public interest. It’s time to do something about this.”

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

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