rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Disregard and contempt for environmental rules in Ontario

Please chip in to support rabble's election 2019 coverage. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Photo: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment/Flickr

This week, the Environment Commissioner of Ontario issued the most scathing criticism I have ever seen from a government watchdog.

Gord Miller could not have been more critical in his annual report, citing the government's contempt for environmental rules, and the deliberate defiance of the Environmental Bill of Rights by many ministries. In previous years he has warned of the growing intransigence on the part of government but this year he has taken extraordinary steps to fully document it in a stand-alone report.

Many communities across Ontario have had first-hand experience of the government's disregard for the Environmental Bill of Rights. The examples given by Commissioner Miller serve to illustrate a small part of a much larger problem -- the systematic dismantling and budgetary starvation of environmental laws and their enforcement by the provincial government. Anything that is an obstacle to development has been "streamlined" or "right sized" or simply ignored regardless of the rights and interests of those that are most impacted. We are told we must trust the professionalism of experts hired by proponents, and the government does not see any need to verify or test what the professionals tell them -- even when the public brings incontrovertible evidence to their attention.

This Saturday marks the third anniversary of the amazing, 11th hour victory over Dump Site 41 in Tiny Township. The most important lesson from that inspiring story can be read between the lines in the ECO's report: The government is not going to protect your community, your water, your children's future. It is up to you. The people who are stopping the megaquarry in Melancthon know this as do the people stopping the dumps in Embrun and Russell. Same with those fighting the proposed  gravel pit in Paris and the sewage sludge plant in Southgate. As Canada's largest citizen's advocacy group, we support these communities and dozens more like them across the country through our campaigns, organizing and communications work. We also do everything we can to hold governments accountable to the people they are meant to serve. Our thanks go out to Gord Miller and his team for their fearless and determined efforts to do the same from within the system.

Photo: Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment/Flickr

What's Harper up to?  Award-winning journalist Karl Nerenberg keeps you in the know. Donate to support his efforts today.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.