QUEEN’S PARK — Today Mike Schreiner made history by introducing Ontario’s first ever Green Party legislation, the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act, which would protect the drinking water of nearly 200,000 people in the Guelph region.
In describing the importance of the private member’s bill, Schreiner stated:
“It’s time we started taking seriously our sacred responsibility to leave a liveable planet for our children and grandchildren. Let’s begin in Guelph by putting public drinking water ahead of private interests.”
Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada to rely solely on groundwater, and the region surrounding the Paris Galt Moraine, which includes Brant County, Waterloo, Dufferin and Simcoe, is expected to grow to one million people by 2041. If passed, the legislation would ensure that only land use consistent with preserving the ecological integrity of the Paris Galt Moraine would be permitted.
“For decades the people of Guelph have shown the province how to responsibly use water and what it means to defend water against private interests. Now climate change and sprawl are putting even more strain on our water supply, so we must take action to protect what’s left,” added Schreiner.
Schreiner intentionally modelled the bill after the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act, which was brought in by a PC government in 2001, hoping to find common ground on the economic case for protecting the moraines.
“I hope the government sees the financial value of this legislation. The moraine provides water at no cost to citizens. But if the resource is degraded, government will be on the hook for millions in water infrastructure to replace what nature can do for free,” said Schreiner.
The legislation also comes on the heels of the controversial Bill 66, which threatened to poke holes in the Greenbelt prior to the government’s sudden reversal. Schreiner’s legislation would actually grow the Greenbelt, granting protection to a swath of new farmland and wildlife habitat.
“Our province loses 350 acres of farmland every day. Southern Ontario has lost 72% of its original wetlands. I am so proud to bring a voice of reason to the legislature and introduce legislation to protect the places we love and depend on,” said Schreiner.