The new Ontario Conservative Government cannot ignore the environment, but it probably wishes that climate change was not such a high-profile item.
The Government has already acted to reduce voter scrutiny of its performance on climate change issues. It dropped the words “Climate Change” from the title of the Ministry responsbile for the environment.
The Government may well wish to change much of the information on climate change available on Ontario Government Web sites. One such site states clearly and forcibly why action to curb climate change is necessary.
Premier Ford has spoken forcibly about steps his Government will take to limit “pollution”. In a recent press interview he stated that his government would
set aside $500 million to deliver clean water (Ed. Note: think of the aboriginal reserves in Northern Ontario who still have to boil tap water) and “come down hard” on companies that pollute “to make sure that we’re all environmentally friendly.”
No mention of measures to limit climate change, which means that, with the repeal of “Cap and Trade”, Ontario will have no significant policies in place.
The reaction of Water Canada, which advocates the need to care for the environment, was prompt:
While Phillips (Rod Phillips, the new Environment Minister) is a qualified public servant with good government and community experience, the renaming of the ministry he heads will cause many in the environment industry to worry. While we knew climate change would most likely be dropped from the name, the new government would do well to remember that in the past few decades, the environment has grown beyond a simple “parks, trees, lakes and canoeing” frame. The ministry is now an important driver of policies and regulations that position Ontario for growth and competition.” (underlining added).”
We have a question for Premier Ford: Does he think that “environmentally friendly” is a fitting description of a Government that ignores climate change?