Protests and Demonstrations Urgently Needed to Stop Highway 413

A call to protest to stop Highway 413 from Ole Hendrickson, Chair, National Conservation Committee of Sierra Club Canada.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada has a posting on the Highway 413 Project that says “the Ontario Ministry of Transportation is proposing to construct and maintain a new highway located in the northwest Greater Toronto Area. As proposed, the Highway 413 Project would be 59 kilometres in length and pass through the municipalities of Vaughan, Caledon, Brampton, and Halton Hills.”

This rather bland description doesn’t mention that Highway 413 would go through the Greenbelt, destroying farmland, forests and wetlands. Although the Ontario government backed away from plans to carve out portions of the Greenbelt for housing development, it is pushing ahead with plans to build Highway 413

If this is a provincial government highway project, why is the federal government assessing its potential impacts under the Impact Assessment Act?  In the Act’s Physical Activities Regulations, section 51 says that only a new highway with “a total of 75 km or more of new right of way” requires a federal assessment.

Highway 413 clearly falls under this threshold.

However, local groups asked federal environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault to use his powers under section 9 of the Act to “designate” the project.  He agreed, saying “designation of the Project is warranted as the Project may cause adverse direct or incidental effects on the critical habitat of federally-listed species at risk.”

Protest Stop Highway 413 which would go through the Greenbelt. Info on recent Supreme Court Canada Case.The Province of Ontario was a plaintiff in a court case seeking to strip him of his power to designate projects.  The Supreme Court of Canada issued its ruling on Friday, October 13th.  Chief Justice Richard Wagner, in his majority opinion, said “Parliament has plainly overstepped its constitutional competence in enacting this designated projects scheme.”

Can citizens no longer rely on governments to protect nature, including endangered species, despite Canada’s commitments at last December’s global biodiversity summit in Montreal?

We at Sierra Club Canada Foundation say, “Protect the rights of Mother Earth.”

Protests and demonstrations are urgently needed to stop Highway 413. Get out there and do it!

Find out more about our work stop environmentally destructive projects like Highway 431