QUEEN’S PARK — Green Party of Ontario leader and Guelph MPP, Mike Schreiner, released the following statement:
“Despite explicitly promising to leave the Greenbelt intact, the Ford government introduced a bill yesterday that opens the Greenbelt to development. And not only the Greenbelt, it threatens hard fought for and valued protections for Clean Water, Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe and the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Government has a sacred responsibility to protect the places we love and the vital resources we need.
The Premier plans to break this sacred trust.
Reducing regulatory costs should not be an excuse to pave over farmland and remove protections for our water.
Candidate Ford backtracked on his plan to open the Greenbelt for development. Premier Ford is breaking that promise and putting his deep pocketed developers and donors before the people of Ontario and the places we love.
The Premier is mistaken in assuming we need to open up our environmentally sensitive areas. The Greenbelt is not driving up housing prices or the cost of business. Only 20% of already available lands for development have been used.
Ford’s plan to pave over farmland and wetlands will cost billions in damages due to flooding from extreme weather events.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, severe weather such as floods, wildfires, droughts and ice storms caused $4.9 billion in insurable damage in 2016. The costs in the first six months of this year alone is $350 per household.
These costs will only grow if the Premier paves over sensitive green space that is needed to absorb water from climate induced extreme weather events.
The Greenbelt and Ontario’s natural heritage are our strongest assets for growing food, preventing flooding, ensuring clean water and providing habitat for wildlife – ecological services that amount to an estimated $2.6 billion per year, according to a recent study.
Greens will fight the Premier’s assault on the places we love.”