There is no question, the Greenbelt and our agricultural lands matter to people in Ontario. As I’ve traveled around the province, I have heard from people of all political stripes who hold up the Greenbelt as an example of what we can and must do to protect our environment and build climate-change resilience.
But, for months now, it has been abundantly clear the Greenbelt does not matter to Doug Ford and his Conservative government. They see this precious land as a cash cow to carve up and give away to well-connected friends so they can all become richer. Ontario deserves better.
The Greenbelt is sacred to Ontarians, and it’s sacred to me. Liberals created the Greenbelt. We understand the critical need to protect our natural environment and preserve it for future generations. It’s our job to act now and do whatever we can to help reduce our carbon footprint, bolster food security, protect our water and ensure our communities become more climate resilient.
Indeed, it’s clear today that we need to go further than Doug Ford ever will, and that is why I am so excited to share clear policy commitments to protect nature across our beautiful province.
Here are some of the ideas I’ve heard from you on how we can protect the Greenbelt & Nature:
No More Land Swaps
- Legislate the boundary of the Greenbelt to enhance its legal protection against development and prevent land swaps for good.
Take Politics out of the Process
- Create an arms-length process to preserve and expand the Greenbelt’s area in consultation with the local residents, Indigenous communities, farmers, businesses, and other stakeholders.
- Oversee a science-based, rigorous decennial assessment of the state of the Greenbelt taking such decisions out of political hands through a Greenbelt trust.
- Restore the position of the Environment Commissioner and enhance its mandate to protect nature and advocate for the rights of future generations.
- Restore and enhance the original mandates of Conservation Authorities, including to weigh in on Greenbelt expansion and to have a mandate to ensure fairness for future generations.
- Collaborate with Indigenous communities to recognize, establish, and manage Indigenous Protected Areas, honouring both ecological and cultural significance.
Put Food and Water First
- Explore new protections for Ontario’s agricultural land, watersheds and bodies of water, in keeping with calls for additional protected areas in the form of a “Water and Food Belt”.
- Protect at least 30% of Ontario’s lands and water by 2030 to support cleaner air, safe supply of water, and better flood mitigation.
- Permanently protect provincially significant wetlands, areas of natural and scientific interest, grasslands and peatlands, old-growth forests, and ecological corridors between protected areas.
- Undertake reviews of the Great Lakes Protection Plan and the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan to urgently prioritize protection and remediation of these critical watersheds, help municipalities install microplastic filtration in drinking and wastewater systems, reduce phosphorus runoff and explore additional regulatory tools to strengthen protection for other major bodies of water.
- Incentivize infill development to prevent urban sprawl in accordance with our detailed housing plan, which will protect farmland, minimize congestion, and improve air quality.
I continue to travel the province and want to hear from you. Do you have an idea? Email us.