Budget Bill Muzzles Public Input on Environmental Changes

For Immediate Release
April 24, 2012

Liberals have voted to pass a budget that muzzles public input on changes to important environmental protections. With these changes buried in the budget bill (Bill 55), the government has in effect exempted them from the public participation process normally required by law.

“The GPO is all in favour of working together, and we applaud the cooperation that has averted another election. But it’s wrong for the Liberal government to use the budget bill to silence public input on changes to environmental protections,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “The public has a right to comment on legislation that protects Ontario’s natural legacy.”

The GPO is calling on the Liberals to remove changes to laws prescribed under the Environmental Bill of Rights from Bill 55 before final passage. Greens oppose using omnibus legislation to avoid the mandatory 30-day public comment period.

“Changes to environmental protections have no place in a budget bill,” says Schreiner.  “Solving a financial deficit by creating an ecological one isn’t sound management or good leadership. It’s time for the Liberals to do the right thing and address changes to environmental laws separately from the budget.”