THE BLOG

Premier Wynne Threw Ontario Under the Big Oil Bus

11/05/2013 08:47 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Ontario's Liberal government is failing to protect us from oil spills. The province made this clear last week with the announcement that Ontario will not require an environmental assessment for Enbridge's Line 9B proposal.

So much for Premier Wynne's meaningless promise to ensure environmental protections are in place for Line 9. So much for the Premier's promise to ensure First Nations' concerns are addressed. The Premier has thrown Ontario's environment, water and communities under the big oil bus.

Pipeline safety experts have already stated that it is not a matter of if, but when, Line 9 ruptures to spill dirty oil in Ontario. After three years and over $1 billion, Enbridge has still not cleaned up its diluted bitumen spill in Michigan. Do we want this threat in Ontario?

Yet, instead of fighting to protect Ontario, the Liberal government has washed its hands of the issue. Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli has punted responsibility for protecting Ontario to the federal government, even though he knows the Harper government has gutted the environmental assessment process and has vigorously promoted pipeline projects.

The Ontario government has a duty to protect our province, even if the National Energy Board has responsibility for approving pipeline projects that cross provincial boundaries. The Liberal government has failed in its duty.

Premier Wynne even went so far as to endorse the flow of dirty oil through Ontario when she visited Alberta in late October. In doing so, she displayed a shocking disregard for the backyards, local food, and water quality of millions of Ontarians. Just last month a farmer in Dakota discovered 20,000 barrels of leaked oil in his wheat field.

Premier Wynne does not seem to be aware that Canada's inflated petrodollar is hurting Ontario's manufacturing economy. She fails to understand that investments in clean energy create seven times more jobs than oil and gas, especially in a province like Ontario with minimal oil and gas reserves.

Researchers from Cornell University have shown that the Keystone XL Pipeline will kill, not create, jobs. Do we have evidence that Enbridge's Line 9 and TransCanada's Energy East projects are any different? Is the Premier turning a blind eye to more job losses in Ontario?

It's unfortunate that the Premier has ignored members of her own caucus, such as newly elected MPP John Fraser, who spoke out for his community against TransCanada's pipeline in order to get elected in a by-election this summer.

What does the Premier have to gain by selling Ontario out to big oil? Why won't the opposition parties hold her accountable? We should expect better.

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