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© Lora Denis
Don’t look now; the Ontario government is quietly doing a hatchet job on environmental protection. Under the guise of Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) “transformation” and achieving a “balance” we are witnessing a period of rapid environmental deregulation. Speaking truth to power, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Gord Miller blasted the government today for absconding from its responsibility “to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soils in which we grow food, and the natural resources that support our communities.”
Let’s not get distracted by talk of cutting the deficit when the budget for MNR and Ministry of the Environment combined make up a mere 0.8 percent of the province’s budget and we’ve got a roadmap for alternative revenue sources laid out in the Drummond Report. The MNR wants to cut costs, yet has found ways to subsidize road building for the forestry industry to the tune of $60 million in 2012 and plans to increase that environmentally devastating subsidy to $75 million in the future. Looking more broadly, in southern Ontario alone the ecosystem services we are being so careless about are valued at more than $84 billion annually. Yes, that’s billion with a “b” and each year according to an MNR report. If we continue to degrade and destroy the intricate web of life upon which we all depend, where will we find ourselves in the long run? There is so much at stake.
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