Today is the day.
Ten months earlier, Doug Ford’s government had passed “Covid-19 Economic Reform Act” – Bill 197, a huge omnibus bill that included almost everything but covid. The law made major changes to Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Act, the Planning Act, and other laws required to maintain a clean and healthy environment. Ford did not consult the public on any of these changes. Before Bill 197 was passed into law – even if their government is legally required.
so, We launched a lawsuit against the ford government With the Wilderness Committee and the EcoJustice, and we’ve been looking forward to our day in court ever since.
Meanwhile, the results of Bill 197 are out front line battle in communities throughout the province. Bill 197 made legal changes restricting what types of projects require a comprehensive environmental assessment. Major highways less than 75 km are now excluded, Like the controversial Highway 413 proposal.
Bill 197 also increased the power of the government Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) issued unilaterally Approving controversial development projects without consultation. Since then the government has issued dozens of MZOs and many of these relate to serious environmental concerns – such as the push Pave for a warehouse on the provincially important Duffins Creek wetland in Pickering.
Now, finally, We’re facing the Ford government in court. Today the EcoJustice will debate Greenpeace Canada and the Wilderness Committee’s case against the Ford government before the Ontario Divisional Court. Our lawsuit says that the Ontario government deliberately broke the law by failing to consult the public on broad environmental changes in Bill 197. Furthermore, since Ford has already done this, canceling the carbon cap-and-trade, we are arguing that the behavior of his government “Pattern of Illegal Conduct.”
and We are not the only ones suing the Ford government on Bill 197. It’s a whole week because two other separate cases will be debated in court after us – one after the other. a coalition of first nations and by another a second environmental coalition. After that the government will present its answer.
Bill 197 is a major milestone in Doug Ford’s ongoing, ongoing efforts to limit public participation and environmental due process. But along the way, Ford faced stiff resistance. We are honored to be fighting for Ontario’s health, our rights and the environment along with so many wonderful others.
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