PC government ignoring legal obligations to consult people on environmental issues

Yesterday the government quietly admitted fault over its mishandling of the climate cancellation bill.

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Faced with another lawsuit, this time from environmental groups, the government opened up public consultation on Bill 4 after failing to do so in the first place.

“It’s clear Premier Ford will ignore the democratic process unless the courts put him in check. Ontarians have a legal right to be consulted when the province weakens protections for our air, water and land,” said Green Party of Ontario leader, Mike Schreiner.

When it unilaterally cancelled the trading in emissions permits in July, the government claimed its election victory exempted it from a duty to consult. Then the government tabled Bill 4 in July to repeal the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, but the public consultation was only started following the lawsuit on September 11.  

“The government has spent months ripping up contracts, cancelling energy efficiency programs, and starting costly legal battles with the federal government. It is dismantling every ounce of climate action without showing anything to replace it and without consulting the people of Ontario. It’s morally troubling and it’s legally wrong,” said Schreiner.

The Green Party of Ontario is encouraging people to submit comments to the Environmental Registry, opposing Bill 4 and demanding a real climate change plan that puts a price on pollution. We need a climate plan that helps people save money by saving energy. Public pressure is needed to oppose the government’s efforts to drag Ontario backwards on the biggest crisis facing humanity.

“It is unacceptable that the government refuses to answer any questions about reducing pollution or meeting our Paris climate commitments. I am worried the government is greasing the wheels for a meaningless plan without real, binding targets. Citizens need to speak out and demand that Ontario does its part to act on the climate crisis,” said Schreiner.