ACTION ALERT – We Need Our Conservation Authorities

Don’t Let Ontario’s Ford Government Gut the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and 35 other Conservation Authorities Across Our Province

‘The Ford Government’s Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby side-stepping the public’s right to comment under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.’ – Canadian Environmental Law Association

 An Urgent Call-Out to All of Us from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

On November 5, 2020, the Ontario government tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229 in the Ontario Legislature, Schedule 6 of which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to the conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby sidestepping the public’s right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

In CELA’s view, the proposed changes to conservation authorities in Bill 229 will not achieve the crucially important goal of building climate resilience for Ontario. To the contrary, the package of amendments as proposed are likely to set back watershed planning and implementation of an ecosystem based approach by decades.

The Wainfleet Bog in Niagara South is one of the many natural treasures our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority works to protect and preserve for future generations in our Niagara region

CELA recommends that Schedule 6 not be enacted in its present form and instead be withdrawn in its entirety from Bill 229.

Further, CELA recommends that the Ontario government immediately seek to ensure that the current mandate of the province’s 36 conservation authorities is maintained and enhanced, in order to effectively protect, restore and manage the watersheds where 95 percent of the people of Ontario reside.

Here Are Further Resources from CELA on this issue for you to read. Click on the following link – We Need Our Conservation Authorities – Survey & Primer Report

For an online copy of this Action Altert from CELA, and more information on it and related matters, click on – https://cela.ca/action-alert-we-need-our-conservation-authorities/

About the Canadian Environmental Laow Association – CELA is a specialty legal clinic within the Ontario-wide network of clinics funded by Legal Aid Ontario. We provide free legal services to people and groups across Ontario that qualify for legal aid.

We work to protect human health and our environment by seeking justice for those harmed by pollution and by working to change policies to prevent such problems in the first place.  As a Legal Aid Clinic our top priority is to represent low income individuals and communities and to speak out for those with less influence and who receive less of a say in decision-making.

Through landmark legal cases CELA has helped shape government and industry approaches to pollution and other environmental threats and has forced polluters to clean up their act. Our Public Legal Education efforts help to explain the law and citizen environmental rights in Ontario.

For more on the Canadian Environmental Law Association and its environmental protection work, click on – https://cela.ca/ .

Please also note that  CELA, along with two other environmental advocacy groups, Environmental Defense and Ontario Nature will be hosting an hour-long  online webinar session that you can participate in this coming Tuesday, November 17th at 7 P.M.

Please find out how you can register for this session by clicking on –  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DHj8gPW3RT2h-Ovm-4pEMg

Liz Benneian, director of the citizens-based group A Better Niagara, is one of many citizens across our region and the province who are speaking out against Ford’s plans to gut our Conservation Authorites. PLEASE JOIN THEM BY RAISING YOUR VOICE.

To listen to a November 12th  interview on CKTB Radio  with Liz Benneian, director of the citizens group A Better Niagara, on concerns over what the Ford government is doing to Conservation Authorities and programs and rules for protecting our natural heritage, click on the following link and follow the prompts – https://www.iheartradio.ca/610cktb/audio/changes-needed-to-both-conservation-and-planning-acts-following-release-of-provincial-budget-1.13939296?mode=Article&fbclid=IwAR0_9GUsaAkL-tbqSOEhi3cCsdG1R5nx-e7Yf9wMbGmp31aB_p6gXOFbY6M

For a recent commentary Niagara At Large posted on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/12/ontarios-ford-government-is-moving-to-gut-conservation-authorities/

If you don’t want Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his government gutting our Conservation Authorities and weakening planning rules for protecting what is left of our natural heritage, email Ford a letter of your own at premier@ontario.ca .

When sending your email to the premier, you may also want to CC his government’s Niagara West MPP, Sam Oosterhof, so he knows how you feel too. Oosterhoff’s email address is sam.oosterhoff@ontariopc.com .

Tell Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his MPPs, including Sam Oosterhoff in Niagara West, to keep their hands off our Conservation Authorities and the great green places they work to protect..

FINALLY, contact your regional and local members of municipal council and urge them to speak out against Ford’s plan to deconstruct our Conservation Authorities and planning measures for protecting our natural heritage.

Please SPEAK OUT as soon as possible, and before it is too late. There isn’t much time because Ford and company are moving fast on this one. They mustn’t keep their friends and donors in the development industry waiting.

  • Doug Draper, reporter and publisher, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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