McGuinty government continues to ignore Ontario municipal councils
Steve Clark, MPP Leeds-Grenville
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark expressed disappointment today as the McGuinty government continued to ignore Ontario municipal councils and the millions of people they represent by voting against Bill 10, The Local Municipality Democracy Act.
Brockville - December 1, 2011 - Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark expressed disappointment today as the McGuinty government continued to ignore Ontario municipal councils and the millions of people they represent by voting against Bill 10, The Local Municipality Democracy Act.
Introduced this week by Prince Edward-Hastings MPP Todd Smith, the bill was defeated on second reading Thursday, December 1 when Liberal and NDP MPPs united to vote against it. It was defeated by a vote of 45-32.
The bill was introduced in support of the 80 Ontario municipalities that have passed resolutions calling for local control over green energy projects to be restored after it was stripped away under the Green Energy Act.
"As the PC Party's Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing, I have to say this was a sad day for local democracy in Ontario. In the debate, those opposed argued that we can?t afford to give municipalities say on this issue," said Clark following the vote.
"I couldn't believe what I was hearing, it was a classic case of Queen's Park knows best. It's clear our party is the only one that believes local planning authority should be protected. The other two parties want to force their agenda onto communities regardless of the impact"
Clark noted that rural Ontarians said loud and clear in the recent provincial election that communities and the people they elect to represent them must play an integral role in the approval process for industrial wind and solar projects.
"Liberal MPPs all over rural Ontario, including several cabinet ministers, lost their seats because they wouldn't stand up for the people in their ridings. The government proved today that they haven't learned from this rebuke on Oct. 6," said Clark.
"No matter how much the government and NDP try to spin it, this isn't a debate about the merits of green energy. This bill was an effort to restore municipal planning powers that were taken away from them under the Green Energy Act - powers they want back."
Earlier Thursday during Question Period, Clark and Smith called on the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Kathleen Wynne to speak up for the long list of Ontario municipalities that have demanded a meaningful role in the planning process for green energy projects.
"It's no surprise that Minister Wynne ignored the question and the opportunity to defend local democracy by siding with her government's legislation that has trampled on the rights of municipalities," said Clark.
But Clark said he was shocked that Wynne defended her position by pointing out industrial wind and solar proponents are required to consult with municipalities.
"That consultation, which amounts to nothing more than a few open houses, is meaningless and the minister knows it. Municipal governments need the power to enforce bylaws to protect their communities, interests," stressed Clark.
"They deserve to have the same planning approval for these controversial wind factories and industrial solar farms as they do for any other project"
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