Greenbelt Coalition

February 25, 2005 06:00 ET

McGUINTY GOVERNMENT BREAKS ANOTHER CAMPAIGN PROMISE

Greenbelt Act pushed through without independent commission Attention: Agriculture Editor, Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 25, 2005) - The provincial government used its majority at Queen's Park to push through Bill 135, The Greenbelt Act, officially breaking a campaign promise to establish a Greenbelt Commission under the Public Inquiries Act.

On page 18 of the 2003 Campaign platform document "Growing Strong Communities," the Liberals promised to "establish an independent Greenbelt Commission that will be given authority over the Moraine, as well as responsibility for developing a Greenbelt protection plan."

"If the government established a Greenbelt Commission, it would have to carried out under the Public Inquiries Act. The Commission would have been required to conduct itself in a transparent way. Everyone would have understood the rationale for the greenbelt and why the boundaries were drawn as they are," said Jeff Davies, a municipal lawyer and Greenbelt Coalition Advisory Council member.
The province also used their majority on the Standing Committee reviewing the Bill to nullify measures that would have greatly improved the proposed legislation, some of these include:

1. The establishment of an appeals process and a re-instatement of the Statutory Powers Procedures Act for such appeals for Ontarians who believe their lands have been unjustly included in the proposed Greenbelt,

2. All background materials supporting the Greenbelt draft plan be made available for review by the general public at a central location and on the web and

3. Dedicate provincial officials to the Greenbelt process that will be readily available at locations across the Golden Horseshoe to meet with stakeholders and address their concerns, once stakeholders have had a chance to review the public record.

A recent poll by POLLARA found that over 90% of Ontarians want the government to release all studies on the greenbelt. At the same time less that 10% trusted the government to do a fair job on the greenbelt. Full results of the poll are available at www.pollara.ca.

"This Bill is the equivalent of an environmental Trojan horse," said Ralph Capocci, Executive Director of the Greenbelt Coalition. "Using the environment as cover, Bill 135 will remove fundamental property rights from Ontarians. Every person from across the province should be deeply concerned about this legislation and should fight it tooth and nail."

For more information about the Greenbelt Coalition, please visit the group's website at www.greenbeltcoalition.org.
/For further information: Ralph Capocci, Executive Director, Greenbelt Coalition, (416) 504-BELT (2358) ext. 21 or 1-866-500-BELT (2358) ext. 21 or ralphc@greenbeltcoalition.org/ IN: AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT, JUSTICE, POLITICS

Contact Information

  • Ralph Capocci, Executive Director, Greenbelt Coalition
    Primary Phone: 416-504-2358 ext. 21
    Secondary Phone: 416-722-2141
    Toll-Free: 866-500-2358
    E-mail: ralphc@greenbeltcoalition.org