Local Autonomy Will be Lost Through Bill 66
Queen’s Park- The Liberal Government’s Great Lakes bill isn’t an environmental bill, it is a red tape bill, PC Environment Critic Lisa Thompson said today upon second reading of the legislation.
“This legislation is all about the Liberals trying to look as if they are protecting the environment when in reality they are putting measures in place that would strip away local autonomy, interfere with rural operations and increase the amount of red tape that people will have to deal with. In typical Liberal fashion, instead of working with the current laws and agreements that are already in place to protect our Great Lakes, they are instead burdening us with more red tape for their ‘photo-opportunity environmentalism’.”
While there are at least six items within the bill that are of concern to the PC Caucus, the greatest problem stems from the bill’s ability to override existing official plans and zoning by-laws.
“If it becomes law, this legislation would allow the Minister to begin creating initiatives that he thinks are appropriate, with little or no consideration for local views or priorities. The people of Ontario did not give this government a mandate to remove local decision making processes and replace them with further red tape,” said Thompson. “Over the past 12 years we have seen the results of this government forcing its will on municipalities. Rural landscapes are littered with unwanted Industrial Wind Farms as a result of the Green Energy Act stripping away local decision making.”
“While the PC Caucus supports the long term health of the Great Lakes, this bill is flawed and will only increase the red tape associated with any valid initiatives, while at the same time leading to a dangerous loss of municipal autonomy. This is the third draft of this bill and our caucus has made substantive recommendations each and every time. None of them have ever been accepted by this government. The bill remains flawed and we can’t support this legislation,” stated Thompson.
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