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Patrick Brown, Andrea Horwath are calling for an all-party committee.
Oleksiy Maksymenko via Getty Images
It is bad enough that the government allows multinational companies to privatize a public resource, it is even worse that taxpayers are being hosed by charging so little for it. Several industries get a total free ride when it comes to taking our water. Those who do pay for taking water are charged a paltry $3.71 per million litres used. This is not a typo.
It seems that every day I hear a story in which the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is the villain. Whether it's a ruling that threatens our health and environment or one that ignores fair process and transparency, the OMB has figured out how to upset more people more of the time than any other agency out there.
I'm deeply disappointed by the news that Heinz is closing its Leamington processing plant. For over 100 years that plant made ketchup from tomatoes grown on Ontario farms. Support for local food processing is not only about securing jobs, it's also about investing in the economy we want. The Liberal government must take action to support our food processing sector.
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.
Our energy future requires innovation, entrepreneurialism and community engagement. Politicians moving around power plants like chess pieces won't work. We need to change the way the game is played and what we play it with. The stakes are higher than the billion dollars we've already wasted.
Citizens vote, not corporations or unions. Yet, if you look at who funds Ontario's three old-line parties at Queen's Park, you might think otherwise. Canadian democracy week is the perfect time to tell politicians at Queen's Park that our democracy should not go to the highest bidder. We need a ban on corporate and union donations to political parties.
Line 9 is a 38-year-old pipeline running between Sarnia and Montreal. It runs through 115 communities and under prime farmland, and crosses major river systems that flow into Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. A spill could put the drinking water of millions of Ontarians at risk. And a spill will happen.
Ontario's environment took a beating during Canadian Environment Week. The Liberal Cabinet had decided to gut Ontario's Endangered Species Act. Then the ECO's annual report on climate change revealed that the Liberals will not meet Ontario's greenhouse gas reduction targets. Ontario can't afford to delete environmental protections.
Instead of doubling the exemption level to $800,000, as the Green Party advocates, the Liberal NDP budget raises it by a paltry $50,000. The budget essentially gives businesses a break on hiring one new employee. So much for bold action.
It is unsustainable and irresponsible for Ontario to dig up farmland and natural heritage sites while blasting through water tables to supply aggregates for growth plans that pave over prime farmland. We can and must do better -- for the health of our economy, environment and communities.
Before you invest in a house or a car you look at your available options. You weigh the pros and cons to see what has the best bang for your buck and you make your choice. The Liberal government has already wasted millions re-locating gas plants and now they are set to spend billions on nuclear. We can and must do better.
As leader of the Green Party, I've been told that I need to play the partisan political game better. Well, I disagree. I'm not in this to play the game, I'm in this to change the game. Good ideas and long-term solutions need to be the priority at Queen's Park.
Does this wacky weather have you concerned? Record high temperatures, floods, superstorms, and drought -- climate change has landed squarely on our front doorstep. I'm concerned. I think most of us know that we have to take action, but unfortunately the political establishment has its head buried in the sand.