Mike Schreiner announces the first ever Green legislation in Ontario

Mike Schreiner announces the first ever Green legislation in Ontario

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Good morning my name is Abhijeet Manay I’m one of the co deputy leaders of the Green Party of Ontario and it is my honor to be here today on this historic occasion where the Greens will be introducing and Mike will be introducing the first Green Party bill in Ontario history and so it is my pleasure to introduce the leader of the Green Party of Ontario Mike Schreiner. Thank You, meegwetch, merci, Bonjour everyone thank you for being here today on this historic occasion I just want to begin by acknowledging that we’re meeting on the traditional lands of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca and most recently the Mississauga’s of the Credit First Nation. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to meet on this land and I just want to acknowledge my commitment to be a steward of this land for the next seven generations and I want to sincerely thank the Mississauga’s of the Credit First Nation for taking the time to consult on this private member’s bill to offer feedback which we’ve incorporated into the draft of the bill. Umm, my next line is that I’m pleased to be joined by a number of water protectors from Guelph but unfortunately they’re on a bus that’s almost here so I just want to take a moment to say that one of the reasons I’m such a strong advocate for better transit an all-day two-way go service so that my constituents can make it to Queen’s Park in a timely and easily and accessible way. But I do want to acknowledge there are a number of water protectors from Simcoe County, Toronto and others, the Guelph region and other places around the province today and I just want to thank the so many people who over the years who have worked with me to defend and protect Guelph’s drinking water. We’ll have two speakers today so Linda Ward from concerned residents coalition and hopefully Arlene Slocombe from Wellington Water Watchers who is on the bus will make it before we are finished today. I believe the government has a sacred responsibility to manage water for the public good and for future generations. For too long we’ve put the priorities of private industry ahead of public drinking water for too long we’ve allowed our most precious natural resource to be pumped at rock-bottom prices. For too long we have paved over our food lands before having her office closed the environmental Commissioner of Ontario reported the staggering loss of Ontario’s wetlands 72% in southern Ontario alone she also pointed out that last year alone 1327 times raw sewage was dumped into our waterways last year. And climate change is only going to make access to clean water a more pressing issue and even though the City of Guelph has done a great job of conserving water of encouraging water conservation and the city is actually decoupled population growth from water use. The city still is often under mandatory water outdoor water restrictions and so I believe it is time to turn this around and start defending the people and places we love in Ontario. I want to look my children in the eyes and say that we’ve done all that we can to protect your drinking water to protect the water that you swim fish and paddle on, and to make sure that we secure your food sources for future generations because I want you to have land and water to enjoy to drink and to grow food. And this is why I’m so proud to be standing here today on this historic day in introducing the first legislation ever by a green MPP in Ontario’s history: the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act that would protect the drinking water for the 200,000 people who rely on the Paris Galt Moraine in the Guelph region. Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada that relies solely on groundwater for its drinking water and the Paris Galt Moraine much like the Oak Ridges Moraine filters and purifies this water at no cost and its home to fast-growing region of our province, it’s home to productive farmland and wildlife habitat. If passed this legislation would ensure that only land use consistent with preserving the integrity of the Paris Galt Moraine is protected and is permitted this means protecting the moraine from pollution, from sprawl and from reckless resource extraction. This bill does not prohibit prohibit housing or economic development or job creation, it supports sustainable responsible development. What company would want to invest in a community that cannot supply its citizens with clean drinking water? So I would argue this bill and protecting water is essential to the health and prosperity of our economy. This bill is modeled after the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act passed by a previous Conservative government in 2001 and so I hope my colleagues across the aisle can see the financial value in passing this legislation because if we allow this Natural Area to be degraded the government will be on the hook for millions of dollars in water infrastructure to replace what nature provides us for free, this bill is good for every single person in the Guelph region and in the Grand River watershed who turns on their taps and drink water that is filtered and purified by the Paris Galt Moraine. This bill is good for local businesses and for farmers in forty billion dollar food and agricultural sector who depend on clean water to create jobs and prosperity, but most importantly this bill is good for your children your grandchildren and their children and grandchildren and the next seven generations who’s futures depend on the decisions we make today.

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