October 2023 Newsletter

Dear Members,

Fall is here, which means hello to October. The leaves are turning, and so is our Ontario government. Due to intense pressure from the public and the NDP, the Premier has U-turned on his Greenbelt destruction.

Greenbelt Controversy

After intense pressure from the public, led by NDP leader Marit Stiles, on September 4th, Housing Minister Steve Clark resigned, following multiple investigations into his ministries handling of Greenbelt land swaps. As of September 21st from a carpark in Niagara Falls, the Premier, Doug Ford, has announced he made a mistake, and will no longer allow for the land swaps with developers on protected Greenbelt land. The Premier, under intense pressure from Marit Stiles, and the NDP also said the newly added Greenbelt lands that were to compensate for the land removed would continue to be added.

This is a victory for all of Ontario, against the undemocratic and morally corrupt decision to make a deal for our farmland and nature with millionaire and billionaire property developers. The NDP continues to apply pressure for the protection of the greenbelt boundaries to be set in law. Unfortunately, the PC government voted this much needed legislation, vowing to bring their own, but the NDP will continue to pressure the government to bring far reaching protections. We have also asked for a special investigation into the numerous improprieties in this scandal.

Restoring the Greenbelt

Doug Ford and his government have not only been busy trying to sell off the Greenbelt for the benefit of their developer buddies; they have been doing the same types of favours for other “3rd parties” as they work to expand the urban boundaries of many cities across the province, without proper consultation with the cities themselves or Indigenous communities, often against the express advice of planners within those municipalities. Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles is calling this "Act II of the Greenbelt corruption crisis.”She says that it is “yet further evidence that this government will stop at nothing to rig the system so long as it helps their close land speculator friends.”This internal government briefing note highlights “possible contentious issues” concerning the Conservatives’ April 2023 ministerial amendments to municipal official plans in Waterloo, Wellington County, Guelph, Barrie, Belleville, and Peterborough.The document shows the government knowingly overrode recommendations from regional planning staff by adding lands to municipalities’ urban boundaries proposed via “third-party requests,” neglected to consult with impacted First Nations, and forced urban boundary expansions that were at odds with the province’s own planning policies and housing targets. Ford and his government knew what they were doing was wrong. So they tried to hide it. They knew these plans would result in the loss and disruption of watersheds, farmlands, and critical habitats. They knew these decisions were not only not evidence-based but recommended against by experts. Yet they went ahead anyway, seemingly to please these unnamed “3rd parties”. I have a few good guesses about who they might be. I bet you do, too  

Mimico Spill Update

Dr. Rachael Fletcher, Director of the Central Region at the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, has provided an update on the cleanup efforts following a significant spill resulting from a 6-alarm fire that occurred on August 11, 2023, at Brenntag Canada Inc., located at 35 Vulcan Street, Toronto. The key points in the email include:

Responsibility of Cleanup: It is the responsibility of the owner or controller of a spilled pollutant (in this case, Brenntag Canada Inc.) to clean up the spill, prevent negative effects, and restore the natural environment as much as practicable.

  1. Cleanup and Impacted Areas: The spill affected Humber Creek, Mimico Creek, and the Humber Bay Park area. It consisted mainly of petroleum-based products and contaminated water from firefighting efforts.

  2. Ongoing Monitoring: Ministry staff have been actively monitoring the situation, collaborating with Brenntag Canada Inc., the City of Toronto, and Environment and Climate Change Canada to ensure necessary actions are taken.

  3. Safety of Drinking Water: The City of Toronto's drinking water supply remains safe and unaffected.

  4. Cleanup Efforts: Initial cleanup efforts focused on containing and removing the oil slurry material. Cleanup is ongoing, with a controlled process to address residual material, likely continuing until October.

  5. Remediation and Restoration Plan: Brenntag Canada Inc. is required to submit a plan to restore the natural environment, which the Ministry will monitor upon acceptance.

  6. Future Reporting: Once the cleanup and restoration is completed, the ministry will require the company to provide a report of the incident, including the cause of the fire, clean-up efforts, and measures to prevent such incidents in the future

Your help is needed: For information on impacted wildlife, residents can contact ECCC directly by email at cnue-neec@ec.gc.ca. For any wildlife observed as being in distress, a report can be submitted to the Toronto Wildlife Centre through their online reporting form. For the most up-to-date information on the cleanup efforts, residents can contact the ministry’s Toronto District Office Duty Line at 416-326-3381 during regular business hours. After hours, residents can call the ministry’s Pollution Hotline at 1-866-663-8477

The email underscores the importance of acting swiftly on this issue. NDP MPPs are ensuring the responsible party takes appropriate actions for clean up, and will continue to hold the Ministry to account.

Above is a photo of the Mimico Creek showing the cleanup efforts

NDP federal convention is upon us!

From October 13th – 15th, 2023 our province is hosting the largest gathering of NDP members in over three years. We’ll be meeting in Hamilton to strengthen our movement and build the campaign to win the next federal election.

The convention is a crucial event in the party's democratic process. It allows members and delegates to actively participate in shaping the party's policies, electing leaders such as our party President, and allow for consensus-building on proposed resolutions.

Have a safe and happy October!

Etobicoke Lakeshore NDP