GPO TO RAISE WATER CONTROL ISSUE IN ELECTION: DE JONG
TORONTO - With an
election looming the Ontario government
is under pressure to grant control of water rights to either
industry or local citizens. If the Conservatives reject
the pleas for community control, the Green Party of Ontario
will ride the issue hard during the election.
"Local citizens must have control over local water
resources. We will take this issue centre stage during the
election," said Green Party of Ontario Leader Frank
The Green Party is challenging Environment Minister Chris
Stockwell to uphold the precedent setting ERT decision limiting
the amount of water a mining company can take from the pastoral
TayRiver near Ottawa.
"What happens to our water, to all our natural resources,
should not be decided only by distant governments and even
more distant corporations. Water is a shared resource.
Those who drink it every day, must have a say," continues
In a letter to his office yesterday, the Green Party of
Ontario challenged Mr. Stockwell to uphold the decision
of the Environmental Review Tribunal regarding OMYA's application
to take water from the TayRiver.
"If Mr. Stockwell overturns the decision, he will be
saying 'no' to democratic rights, 'no' to the commitments
his government has made to the Walkerton reports and 'no'
to fundamental changes that are needed to protect our environment,"
said de Jong.
The ERT decision, issued Feb. 19, 2002, prescribed the means for local citizens to monitor
and influence how much water OMYA (Canada) Inc. can
take from the TayRiver. The ERT applied
a precautionary approach and found that the MoE was
bound by its Statement of Environmental Values to take an
ecosystem approach to its decisions. OMYA appealed the decision
to the Minister of the Environment and to the Ontario Supreme
Court. Anyone requiring more than 50,000 litres of water
a day must apply for a Permit To Take Water from the MoE.
Currently, there is no requirement for the MoE to inform
or consult with local citizens or their municipal governments
before granting such a permit.
"The Environmental Bill of Rights is being tested.
Let's hope Minister Stockwell makes the ecologically sustainable
choice to uphold the Tribunal's decision," says de
The Green Party of Ontario suggests governments should up
tax sources of unearned income (land and resources) and
down tax earned income (wages). The
GPO supports shifting taxes away from incomes and onto resources
like water, land, and non-renewables. In the coming election,
the party intends to field a full slate of candidates across
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For further information:
Green Party of Ontario 416-929-2397
Frank de Jong 416-533-6798
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:
To: "Chris Stockwell"
cc: "Premier Ernie Eves"
Hon. Chris Stockwell, MPP
Minister of the Environment
Minister's Office, 12th Floor 135 St. Clair Avenue West Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1P5
Dear Minister Stockwell,
I am writing to you today on behalf of the many Ontario voters that
are following the Tay River Defence case with great interest.
I refer to an Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) decision
in February 2002 which has come before you in appeal by
Omya (Cananda) Inc. The ERT Vice Chair Pauline Browes wrote
an ecologically cautious decision that nonetheless allows
the company Omya to double it's water consumption.
We hope that you will uphold the Tribunal's decision and
allow OMYA's dispute to be settled in Divisional
Court, as their second appeal specifies.
Your government has an opportunity to take the lead on this
issue and manage Ontario's water resources
wisely. We respectfully suggest that the post Walkerton
era requires that your government take the precautionary
approach in all water permitting and regulation decisions.
The ERT decision does just that.
Yours for a Green future,
Frank de Jong
Green Party of Ontario
cc: Premier Ernie Eves
Minister Norm Sterling
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