On June 12, 2014, Ontario Premier Wynne won a majority
government with 58 out of a possible 107 seats. In the
post-election cabinet shuffle, Premier Wynne replaced long-time
veteran Jim Bradley with Glen Murray as the new Environment
Minister. Mr. Murray, the former mayor of Winnipeg, was previously
responsible for the Transportation and Infrastructure portfolios.
Premier Wynne also brought in Bill Mauro as the new Minister of
Natural Resources. Despite the change in Ministers, we expect that
various environmental Bills and initiatives already in the pipeline
or that died when the provincial election was called in May will
feature in next week's Throne Speech.
Picking Up Where They Left Off
The new Environment Minister will likely re-introduce the
following key environmental Bills that died when the provincial
election was called on May 2
Bill 6, the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2014–
proposed to protect and restore the ecological health of the Great
Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin
Bill 91, the Waste Reduction Act, 2013 –
proposed to promote the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste
derived from products, and
Bill 138, the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act, 2013
– proposed to require the cessation of coal use to generate
electricity at generation facilities.
Bill Mauro is expected to re-introduce another important
environmental Bill, the proposed Invasive Species Act, as
the new Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Bill 167 would
give the government greater authority to prevent, control or
eradicate invasive species.
Madeleine Meilleur, who stays on as Attorney General and
Francophone Affairs Minister, will likely re-introduce Bill 83, the
Protection of Public Participation Act, 2014. Bill 83 is
designed to prevent the phenomenon of "strategic litigation
against public participation", which are lawsuits brought by
deep-pocketed industries or companies with the specific aim of
silencing resource-poor citizens and public interest groups. The
Bill would protect expression on matters of public interest. It
would also discourage the use of litigation as a means of unduly
limiting expression on matters of public interest.
Implementing the Budget and Election Platform
During the election, the Liberals released a plan to invest $15
billion to improve transit (such as GO Transit in the GTA). The
plan also would invest a further $14 billion towards improving
roads, bridges, highways – and to kick-start the
resource-rich "Ring of Fire" region in northern Ontario.
On the energy side, the Liberals focused more on energy
conservation and managing the high costs of utilities to citizens
and businesses. Now re-elected, the Liberal government plans to
expand the incentive programs to lower electricity usage in the
The Liberals also criticized Stephen Harper's federal
Conservative government, stating that the Conservatives "have
gutted Canada's environmental safety net, have failed to take
climate change seriously". However, the Liberal plan provided
no details on how it would take climate change seriously, other
than to promise that the Wynne government would "show
leadership in tackling climate change". As Environment
Minister, Mr. Murray has been tasked with formulating the plan to
The Liberal election platform also set out the following
initiatives for ensuring smart and liveable communities, under the
heading, "Sustainable Communities"
encourage smarter growth, including ensuring that new
residential development projects provide more revenue for
develop and support school-community hubs to promote efficient
use of public assets and ensure that more viable schools are able
to remain open
invest $30 million to keep the Walkerton Clean Water Centre on
the cutting edge of clean water training and research
expand the Greenbelt and Ontario's trail network
promote urban forestry by planting one million trees
create the "farms forever" program to protect prime
agricultural land close to urban centres, and
protect the Great Lakes, including making beaches clean and
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