We, As Citizens, Don’t Have Much Time Left to Act – To Stop Ford and his Government from Further Threatening Our Natural Heritage
A Call-Out from Ed Smith, St. Catharines community activist and member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors
Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
We are days away from the greatest environmental catastrophe to be unleashed on Niagara by a sitting government. Once it occurs there will be no undoing the damage and it will result in mortal consequences to Niagara’s last few remaining wilderness areas.
Ontario’s Ford government has bundled into its recent budget legislation a section called Schedule 6.
Schedule 6 of the Budget Bill deals specifically with the 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
Since taking office more than two years ago, the Ford government has tried to take control of our environment away from any strict protections and hand it over to causes more sympathetic to the needs of developers.
In this case, if this Bill passes with Schedule 6 included then there will be no effective means of protecting nature in Ontario. Endangered species-gone, Provincially Significant Wetlands-gone, protected woodlots-gone. All of it will no longer be protected by informed science who study and monitor the situation, instead it will be left to the “opinion” of the Minister.
The Minister is a government official, nothing more, nothing less, and he/she is appointed by the Premier…Doug Ford. In effect Doug Ford will decide if a protected wetland should be protected or if a new condo development is more important. Doug Ford will decide if an endangered species should be allowed to survive, or if instead we need a new race track.
Policy like this is madness and has to be challenged, head on!
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) board has sent in it’s thoughts on the new policy, but it is far from being enough.
We need an aggressive response from citizens…reach out to Doug Ford and do it now.
The message for him is plain… Remove Schedule 6 from Bill 229 and remove it now.
This fight could be over in less than two weeks, so if you care you must act now. They engineered this entire thing to try and rush it through as quickly as possible. Speak now or lose it forever.
Vote was taken by show of hands.
Ed Smith, St. Catharines, Ontario
A Footnote from Doug Draper, reporter and publisher at Niagara At Large –
It was the current St. Catharines city council that appointed Ed Smith as its representative to sit on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors, and this past week, on November 23rd , St. Catharines council passed a motion in support of the NPCA and all Conservation Authorities across the province.
Here is the full wording of that motion, tabled by St. Catharines Councillor Karrie Porter, and seconded by a veteran on that council, Bruce Willianson.
Good for them for doing this –
WHEREAS Conservation authorities work to safeguard, manage, and restore Ontario’s water through flood plain mapping, water quality monitoring, conservation land management, public education, and wetland stewardship; and
WHEREAS Conservation Authorities collect data on water quality, flooding, fish communities, wetlands, and benthic invertebrates, and this data contributes to policy, science, education and human health; and
WHEREAS the Ontario government’s recently proposed changes to Conservation Authorities in Bill 229 do not support climate resilience and may set back watershed planning and the implementation of an eco-system based approach; and
WHEREAS the proposal in Bill 229 that only municipal councillors be appointed by a particular municipality as members of a conservation authority does not strengthen oversight and accountability and will exclude citizen appointees chosen by municipalities for their experience and skills;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Council strongly recommends that Schedule 6 of Bill 229 not be enacted in its present form and instead by withdrawn from Bill 229; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Ministry support and enhance governance at conservation authorities by developing best management practices for the recruitment and selection of authority members, including best practices for the appointment of both elected and non-elected officials in consultation with municipalities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that 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; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this motion be sent to all Niagara MPPs, the municipalities of Haldimand and Hamilton, all Niagara municipalities, and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
How they voted on this motion –
Yeas: Councillors Porter, Phillips, Miller, Siscoe, Townsend, Williamson, Littleton, Kushner, Harris, Garcia, Dodge, and Mayor Sendzik
Nays: Councillor Sorrento
Finally, from Niagara At Large –
We urge you to speak out on this important issue for the sake of preserving what is left of our natural heritage for present and future generations.
The Ontairo’s legislature’s all-party StandingCommittee on Finance and Economic Affairs is going to hold hearings on this matter from November 30th of this coming week through to December 2nd, before the full legislature takes a final vote on the Budget Bill in question.
As Ed Smith said in his commentary, it could all be over within a matter of days, so WE HAVE TO SPEAK OUT NOW.
Take a few minutes this weekend and on Monday, November 30th at the very latest to fire of the members of that Standing Committee an email and let them know that you want Schedule 6, that would gut our Conservation Authorities, completely removed from the Ford government’s Budget Bill ….
Here are the emails for all of the Standing Committee members. Just bundle them all on the send to line of your email page, and fire your note off.
DON’T WAIT A MINUTE LONGER THAN THIS MONDAY, November 30th to do it.
Again, here is the email package for the committee members – firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Iarthur-QP@ndp.on.ca, Smamakwa-QP@ndp.on.ca, Sshaw-CO@ndp.on.ca, email@example.com
To learn more about the Ford government’s move to gut our Conservation Authorities, from news and commentary posted on Niagara At Large over the past number of days and weeks, here are some links you can click on –
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