It took a lawsuit to force the Ontario Government to recognize that the Environmental Bill of Rights gives Ontario citizens a right to be consulted before the Government takes steps e.g. to “ditch” environmental legislation (Cap and Trade), reverse policies (withdraw from the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change) and eliminate agencies (such as the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario). These laws/policiesagencies are significant in the battle to reduce GHG emissions and avoid runaway climate change.
In response to this legal action, The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks belatedly created a Consultation Website for the subject of a “made-in Ontario climate change plan”. The Website explains that this Ministry works to protect and sustain the quality of Ontario’s air, land, and water. It also coordinates Ontario’s actions on climate change in the name of healthier communities, ecological protection and economic prosperity.
The lead statement in one of the first web pages reads: “Our quality of life depends on clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and well-protected lands and parks.” This very general statement of traditional environmental qualities has little relevance to climate change.
The subsequent text on this page continues with more general statements that tell us little about the Government’s intentions:
1. Later this fall, Ontario will release a plan that will identify specific areas of focus to help us tackle and be more resilient to climate change.
2. This will be the first part of a broader approach that will protect clean air and water, encourage conservation and do more to address urban litter and waste.
3. This made-in-Ontario solution will strike the right balance between protecting our environment and responsibly supporting a prosperous economy.
Visitors to this site could well conclude that climate change measures are not that serious and so do not require immediate action!!”
This website is a masquerade that includes platitudes, simple observations and irrelevant material. It is not a consultation on climate change. The Ontario Government must review its obligations under the Environmental Bill of Rights and explain the extraordinary future risks that climate change will bring – such as the high risks facing our world as identified in the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) . The Government must also present concrete steps that must be taken to reduce these serious risks by reducing GHG emissions.
Until it explains these risks and advances measures to combat the global warming such as are considered necessary by the IPCC, the Government has not discharged its obligation to enable a proper consultation.