View topic - Ontario: Pissing away our environment...

It is currently December 10th, 2019, 9:58 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 44 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 5:48 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 7513
Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
....that's what's going on. I am getting very disheartened with commerce's success in removing the checks and balances that have been put in place over the last decades. If it wasn't so serious an issue it would be outright funny how our governments sing green songs with sweetly pursed lips while farting brown on the other end where few are looking!

The latest is Ontario's Open For Business Act that has received Royal Assent recently.
The tool that we have used in past years to comment on projects that impact environmental - the environmental Bill of Rights - has been gutted.
See this note from the Lake Ontario Waterkeepers:

Quote:
Nine years ago, we launched Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to save and celebrate Lake Ontario. As it turned out, we have spent most of the last decade fighting just to save our right (and your right) to try to save Lake Ontario. We have faced industry and government public relations campaigns to reduce public accountability and good decision making. We tried to side-step these campaigns by joining formal processes that scrutinized evidence, corrected mistakes and listened to public concerns before granting pollution permits. In that arena, we were highly successful in reducing pollutants entering our air and water, and in ensuring that promises made to government were enforceable.

Instead of recognizing the benefits of the process, industry and government have joined forces to gut environmental processes and slash environmental rights and protections. Despite our work, writings, submissions and policy research, Ontario is no longer a world leader in environmental protection. Recently, the federal government removed (or is in the process of removing) public rights to protect the environment by rolling back key sections in the Navigable Waters Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Despite our recommendations presented in April 2010, the Ontario government’s Open for Business initiative keeps the trend going.

The Open for Business Act rolls back environmental protections on two fronts. First, it removes the obligation on the government to thoroughly review Certificate of Approval requests. By the government’s own estimates, 75% of requests by industry to pollute will no longer be subject to public investigation or due diligence. The onus to conduct proper due diligence will be transferred from the regulator to the regulated polluters. In other words, Ontario polluters will now self-regulate. New operations and work plans for landfills – sources of potential environmental and economic carnage – will no longer require mandatory environmental hearings. In the past, evidence and argument were made in public, in the affected communities, and in front of independent decision-makers. In the future, decisions will be made behind closed doors based on information from only a privileged few.

The second attack on environmental protection in the Open for Business Act removes public rights: Our unfettered rights to be notified and to be heard when pollution permits are issued in our communities is gone. Our right to appeal permits where there is evidence that the MOE acted unreasonably or where there may be significant environmental impact has been weakened.

The first rollback might reduce government’s “burden”. It is hard to see the second rollback, however, as anything other than ideology – a blind desire to hand over regulatory oversight to polluters while simultaneously eliminating the public’s ability to fill the vaccum left by an under-resourced and unmotivated government.

One of the most tragic consequences of the Open For Business Act is that it hampers the ability of groups like Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to do our job: protecting and celebrating Lake Ontario. The Open for Business Act does more to stop us from being heard than any other action government or industry could have taken.

Why on earth would the Ontario government want to do that?

More info and links on http://www.waterkeeper.ca/2010/10/27/wh ... more-19106

_________________
“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?” - Thoreau


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 7:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: January 16th, 2010, 8:46 am
Posts: 299
Location: Ontario
Thanks for sharing....the so-called Ring of Fire up north could prove to be interesting....the recent scheme to move nuclear waste through Great Lakes was another great idea....Ontario gov't does not seem to be doing a great job protecting our natural environment....not when it seems they see all natural resources as just resources to be used....and this will be even more so if the Environmental Bill of Rights go by the wayside

_________________
[i]And the paddle, in the water, is a long, lost friend.
There are times I’d like to wander down a river without end,
In a hull of flowing cedar, carved by knowing hands....[/i]
From [i]Shield[/i] by Dave Hadfield

http://reflectionsoutdoors.wordpress.c


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 27th, 2010, 9:06 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: May 21st, 2003, 7:50 am
Posts: 2400
Location: Mapping Wabakimi PP!
Could be worse! We could be pissing in the lake! :rofl:

Sorry, I know this is an outdate thread but we enjoy discussing this on canoe trips.

Barry

_________________
It's all about forward progression!


"Preservation of our waterways comes from those with little voices, big paddles, strong backs, weak minds and thick hides with which to ignore the bug bites." Organizer of "The Wabakimi Project"


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 28th, 2010, 1:36 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 16th, 2008, 9:20 am
Posts: 1367
Location: Oshawa
It's frustrating. :x

_________________
"It's healthy to be dirty" - Lars Monsen


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 28th, 2010, 8:41 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Erhard, the situation, or most of it, may have to do with scarce government resources, funding cutbacks, an over-taxed public, the need for political process to attract votes, and on and on.

For instance, the Canadian Wildlife Service has no money to monitor wildlife adequately since their funding has been cut back, probably because voters want less taxation and CWS funding comes from tax dollars.

Governments dropping their administration of environmental assessments and overseeing the public's involvement in related matters may well be related to financial cutbacks. Most of the public's interest may be in lowered taxes and not so much in environmental protection. There's probably more interest in having the money to buy an even cooler cell phone than in some invisible herd of caribou in the far north.


Inside government, cutbacks to research and monitoring together with suppression and muzzling of information relating to the public good is becoming an issue, separate from the bigger-picture issue that the voting public actually gives a damn.


Quote:
Government Scientists Go Public: Website will Speak Up for Science

Ottawa, October 18, 2010 – Today, the union that represents federal government scientists launches a campaign to put the spotlight on science for the public good.

“Federal government scientists work hard to protect Canadians, preserve their environment and ensure our country’s prosperity but they face dwindling resources and confusing policy decisions,” says Gary Corbett, president of the Institute.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national union. Among its 59,000 federal and provincial members are 23,000 professionals who deliver, among other knowledge products, scientific research, testing and advice for sound policy-making.

The recent decision to end the mandatory long form census is the latest step in a worrying trend away from evidence-based policy making. Restrictive rules are curtailing media and public access to scientists, while cutbacks to research and monitoring limit Canada’s ability to deal with serious threats and potential opportunities.

A new online information and action centre launched today – PUBLICSCIENCE.ca – (http://publicscience.ca) features interviews with the professionals who do science for the public good...


http://www.publicscience.ca/portal/page ... ase_101810




A question on the recent Toronto elections... with the new mayor Rob Ford's massive victory promising cutbacks in spending, how does this affect Miller's goal of Toronto becoming North America's greenest city (a rhetorical question mostly, since there's probably no real answer yet, still, the shift to the right can't be good).

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 28th, 2010, 10:32 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
frozentripper wrote:
Erhard, the situation, or most of it, may have to do with scarce government resources, funding cutbacks, an over-taxed public, the need for political process to attract votes, and on and on.
FT … so you don't think there are powerful interests who would want nothing better than to minimize natural resource protection efforts and monitoring activities? Where have you been these many years. People have to decide whether and to what extend a sustainable, healthy, available to future generations environment is to them … and then find the right balance with industry, development, jobs, natural resource extraction, how we live (consumer habits), all the rest. It's about balance for me, and not extreme views.

Driving through the Prairies this summer … the economy seems to be quite good in some parts of Canada. I can think of no better time to be making such choices than when times are booming. Lots of wealth being generated in the West now.

I think we can add this to our list above (and I thank Erhard for bringing this to our attention) … the narrow defeat of Bill C-300 ("Responsible Mining Bill"). From a press release of Liberal MP John McKay:
Quote:
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2010

Conservatives Defeat Responsible Mining Bill

OTTAWA - In a close vote this evening, the House of Commons narrowly failed to pass Bill C-300, The Responsible Mining Act sponsored by Liberal MP John McKay.

Despite this loss, the close vote sends a clear message to the government that they cannot continue to ignore the issue of CSR for Canadian companies. Unfortunately, just as Prime Minister Harper failed to secure Canada's position internationally at the United Nations Security Council, so too has he failed to address the CSR concerns of people and communities around the world.

Over the course of the legislative process, Bill C-300 became a lightning rod for debate surrounding the issue of corporate social responsibility, drawing a great deal of domestic and international attention. Though Canada is a world leader in the extractive industries, Conservatives voted overwhelmingly against the bill, indicating that Harper is not yet ready to take leadership on the global stage for human rights and environmental standards.

Also cited as An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries, the Bill sought to ensure that Canadian extractive companies that operate in developing countries and receive funding from the Government of Canada comply with internationally agreed upon human rights and environmental standards.

Said McKay: "I still believe in the spirit and history of Canadians as proud supporters and defenders of both the environment and human rights. Canadians need to hold our government accountable for the taxpayer dollars that fund corporations with questionable environment and human right practices.

This is not the end of the CSR movement in Canada. I look forward to the day when the House of Commons will recognize the importance of this issue and the tireless and inspiring work of all the organizations and individuals who care about corporate social responsibility."

Hon. John McKay, P.C., M.P.

Contact:
(613) 992.1447
McKay.J@parl.gc.ca


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 28th, 2010, 11:33 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6146
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Idylwyld,

Quote:
FT … so you don't think there are powerful interests who would want nothing better than to minimize natural resource protection efforts and monitoring activities?


Corporate interests may be behind the environment-related funding cutbacks and the suppression of scientists making public statements on issues. I didn't get into that because there doesn't seem to be much reporting on it in the news (I haven't seen it, still, it must exist behind the scenes somewhere).

Suppression and cutbacks, OTOH, have been in the news for a while now and those are real. If the voting public actually did give a damn about this in the bigger picture, there should be protests nation-wide but these issues don't seem to be significant enough. So the government funding gets redirected to something that's more in the public's eye and gets more votes.

I know some federal scientists and bureaucrats that are in place working towards environmental protection and the story from them is always about lack of funding and more recently suppression. Corporate influence doesn't seem to exist at that level, although it may with those who hold the purse strings and formulate policy.

PS... looking on with interest to see how many lunatic fringe right-wingers get into Congress in several days... this shift to the right we seem to be having here in Canada may have a symptom of something much bigger (including Britain's drastic funding cutbacks announced earlier on and their shift to austerity).

_________________
><((((º>


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 28th, 2010, 1:19 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
Thanks for that … some very helpful observations!

The American scene is very strange at the moment, I think lots of people will be getting far more than they bargained for on Nov. 02 (but that's neither here or there … and certainly beyond the subject of this thread). But there's lots of corporate money getting thrown around everywhere you look … lobbying government in Canada and US (regardless of political party), foreign investment, weakening environmental rules, finance rules, basic consumer protections, etc. I have no axe to grind here, but anytime there is a lack of transparency on any of these issues … I don't think it's a very good thing for our government, the environment, job growth and the economy (creating "certainty" around new investment opportunities in the private sector), anything. I'm pretty disappointed in where things are going, but there is a lot of angst and worry out there, and people aren't seeing tangible change that matters to them or that they see as improving their daily lives. IMHO, people are acting rather childishly, and when everyday people are in disagreement and are embattled with each other, well, that's often very good for larger and more organized special interests (and I'm not pointing fingers at any particular group, but all of us). I imagine we are in a lot more agreement about these things than in disagreement.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 12:14 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: December 2nd, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 3731
Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
The problem is that issues like environmental concerns aren't on the public's radar until it's really too late (like when a oil platform blows up in the gulf, or a pipeline breaks spilling 1 million gallons of Canadian oil into a tributary of a major Michigan river, or the much more common occurance, someones water well has gasoline compounds present, or contaminated topsoil is trucked off site and sold for the public's gardens.

The concerns for much more basic human needs are much more paramount... food, and shelter, and the one most likely to impact most people (a potential decrease in lifestyle). When people aren't willing to fund police departments, fire departments, and schools, environmental concerns need to be pretty acute before they government funding. Chronic environmental concerns which make up a much bigger piece of the pie are left to only worsen while waiting to become a big enough problem to warrant attention. Not exactly the most environmental path... but based on my observance, it's the most likely one.

PK


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 1:31 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: October 24th, 2007, 1:52 pm
Posts: 556
Location: Beaumont, AB
pknoerr wrote:
The problem is that issues like environmental concerns aren't on the public's radar until it's really too late (like when a oil platform blows up in the gulf, or a pipeline breaks spilling 1 million gallons of Canadian oil into a tributary of a major Michigan river, or the much more common occurance, someones water well has gasoline compounds present, or contaminated topsoil is trucked off site and sold for the public's gardens.

The concerns for much more basic human needs are much more paramount... food, and shelter, and the one most likely to impact most people (a potential decrease in lifestyle). When people aren't willing to fund police departments, fire departments, and schools, environmental concerns need to be pretty acute before they government funding. Chronic environmental concerns which make up a much bigger piece of the pie are left to only worsen while waiting to become a big enough problem to warrant attention. Not exactly the most environmental path... but based on my observance, it's the most likely one.

PK


People also rely very heavily on the media (news, tv, radio) to keep them informed regarding issues. Unfortunately, the media focusses their attention on issues that grab the most attention, rather than the most important issues. And when an important topic does hit the spotlight, the media will only showcase that issue for as long as it holds the public's interest. IMHO, there is very little honor left in the news media, and in many cases we would likely be better off without them.

_________________
Dave W
"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing" - Henry David Thoreau


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 2:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: February 20th, 2008, 6:05 pm
Posts: 494
There is not much honour in the slanted assertions (extreme views) of hard-core environmental orhanizations or industrial talking-heads either. I agree that we would all be better informed with a balanced approach in reporting.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 10:38 am 
Offline

Joined: October 23rd, 2010, 10:39 am
Posts: 60
Mass resists acceleration/deceleration. Despite Ontario's provincial McGuinty government closing enough coal-fired electricity generating units to equal removing 2,000,000 cars from our highways the mass of the media is denegrating hydro rate increases. Everyone wants greenism but how many individuals want to pay for it when the bill comes in the mailbox? I guess we'll know in the next election.

_________________
I think, in general, outdoor enthusiasts on internet forums should spend more time on the water, in the water, around the water, etc.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 12:13 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
JF wrote:
There is not much honour in the slanted assertions (extreme views) of hard-core environmental orhanizations or industrial talking-heads either. I agree that we would all be better informed with a balanced approach in reporting.

PK, JF ... perhaps this is as good a reason as any for why we need sites like this … to keep the environment and river stewardship in the spotlight. If the media isn't going to do it (and advocacy groups are out stoking political fires), we have to do it for ourselves. And while we don't always agree, I think discussion is a helpful context to counter one sided or extreme views in the media. I certainly follow these things regardless of the political and economic news of the day. In part, because I think our future prosperity and quality of life is directly tied to a healthy and livable environment, but also because I see it as an issue that can transcend political party, ideology, entrenched views, there's a clear moral and ethical component, and the environment also connects us to others in a fruitful and positive way. But it's certainly not as much a part of our shared political culture here, as it is elsewhere.

There was a fairly dramatic run-off election in Brazil yesterday. The environment was very much front and center, and the deciding factor in the election. The Green Party Candidate, Marina Silva, won an unprecedented 19.3% of the vote in the first round, and prevented the two other candidates from winning a majority. She's a rain forest activist and defender, the first "rubber tapper" to be elected to federal office, is of Portuguese and black African decent, has the support of indigenous people in the Amazon, and as Minister of Environment reduced deforestation trends in Brazil by 59% in her 5 year tenure. She also has unconventional views on hydro development, biofuels, and GMO crops. The more moderate worker's party democrat won in the election yesterday, Dilma Rousseff, who also has a notable history. Socialist in her youth (a Marxist guerrilla no less), she was imprisoned and tortured during the dark days of military dictatorship in Brazil in the 70s. She went on to become Minister of Mines and Energy in the previous administration, and also Chief of Staff. She favors the state gaining greater control over economy (and in particular the oil industry), and she's the more moderate candidate on the economy and environment. Brazil's economy is growing in leaps and bounds, and it's on track to be the 5th largest in the world by 2020.

Here in the States, we have an election tomorrow. And while the environment isn't in the news, it's certainly a major part of the election. I've watched a few of the Senate debates in Kentucky (Paul and Conway), Pennsylvania (Toomey and Sestak), Colorado (Bennet and Buck), Illinois (Giannoulias and Kirk), Wisconsin (Feingold and Johnson) and some of the Governor races. It seems EVERYONE is campaigning against cap and trade, from both sides of the aisle, and is out screaming loud and proud on behalf of coal. And the Republicans aren't shy about what they hope to accomplish on the environment: "If the GOP wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration's environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change." Not about the environment, not in the least! People seem to be saying "more of the same" (arguing over the same old issues in the same old hackneyed and flat footed ways), when it's really the environment, tougher state and federal regulations on emissions, and additional consumer protections (in health care, financial reform, and pollution controls) that are on the top of the agenda for political strategists, opportunists, and special interests holding the purse strings. This is an election about the environment (as a central issue moving forward), but few people have characterized it that way (perhaps intentionally so). Luckily, everyone has to come back every 2 or 4 years to get a popular mandate. But I'm searching hard to find our 19.3% … does anybody really believe that the environment is any less important to people here than in Brazil? Well, we'll find out in tomorrow's election.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 4:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 21st, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 243
Location: Burlington, Wisconsin USA
Even if you agree with the cause(s) of climate change, the EPA has used the Clean Air Act in a way it was not designed for.
For the next few years businesses will be in regulatory uncertainly as this process works through the court system.
EPA has not issued the compliance practices needed to meet requirements and States do not know how to implement the permit program(s); sounds like a process that needs to be cleaned up to me.
Congress could have granted the authority needed if they had the will.

Scott


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: November 1st, 2010, 6:09 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: June 11th, 2005, 11:19 am
Posts: 1870
Location: Boise, ID
ScottT wrote:
the EPA has used the Clean Air Act in a way it was not designed for.
According to Who? The US Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue (Massachusetts v. EPA). I think we agree, there is regulatory uncertainty and this needs to be cleaned up and acts as a drag on economy and new investment opportunities. At a minimum, it prevents long standing upgrades at power plants when they don't know what the rules of the road are going to be moving forward. Such uncertainty, however, is not a product of the Courts, or the EPA, but a failure of Congress to enact legislation that is compliant with US Law. It's one of the main reasons why the electric companies are some of the biggest promoters of climate legislation, and also having a say on future legislation. I'm worried people are voting for a stalemate tomorrow, and hence little change (American politics at it's most traditional expression). They are certainly looking to buy a great deal more time. Don't know if you've played chess lately, but it's no fun once you've lost all your pieces, and are playing for a stalemate. All it does, in my mind, is waste time, intellectual energy, and delay the inevitable (and leave behind a worse issue to address down the road).


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 44 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group