Sierra Club Ontario's letter to Ministers Jim Bradley and Michael Gravelle concerning Bill-55

Below is Sierra Club Ontario's letter to the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Environment, expressing concern about Bill-55, a budget bill introduced by the Ontario government.

This bill proposes broad changes to a series of environmental and natural resource laws.  Some of the changes are extremely worrisome as they reduce public and government oversight and broaden exemption powers. Even more troublesome is that these changes - because contained within a budget bill - circumvent the Environmental Bill of Rights (which required public consultation).

 

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April 26, 2012
 

Hon. Michael Gravelle – Thunder Bay ‑ Superior North
Minister of Natural Resources
Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1W3

The Honourable Jim Bradley
Minister of the Environment
77 Wellesley Street West
11th Floor, Ferguson Block
Toronto ON  M7A 2T5                                
 

Dear Ministers Gravelle & Bradley,
 

Re:       Bill 55 – Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures) 2012
              Proposed amendments to environmental legislation

Sierra Club Ontario Chapter) is writing in response to the several amendments to environmental statutes contained within the recently introduced Bill 55 – Strong Action for Ontario Act (Budget Measures) 2012. The Sierra Club is deeply concerned by the propositions contained in the following Schedules of Bill 55:

·         Schedule 15 – Crown Forest Sustainability Act

·         Schedule 19 – Endangered Species Act

·         Schedule 23 – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act

·         Schedule 58 – Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act

·         Schedule 59 – Public Lands Act

As a matter of right, Ontarians are entitled to a healthful environment. Enshrined within our Environmental Bill of Rights is the unequivocal objective that we strive towards the protection, conservation and restoration of the natural environment, and that “the people should have means to ensure that it is achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner.” The Sierra Club is opposed to the high handed approach the Ontario government is taking by including these amendments in a budget bill, precluding the opportunity for public comment.

The Sierra Club urges you to take the necessary steps to ensure that each of the above noted amendments are posted to Ontario’s Environmental Registry to give the public an opportunity to comment and upholding your obligation to achieve the Ontario government’s policy objectives in an open and fair manner.


Yours truly,

Dan McDermott, Chapter Director


cc:        Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

 

            

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