Tuesday, December 18, 2018


The above title is quoted from Geoffrey Stevens Opinion piece in yesterday's Waterloo Region Record. Mr. Stevens, like others before him, lays the blame squarely at the feet of the then Premier, Conservative leader Mike Harris. He reminds us that "Some of the survivors (Walkerton) are still suffering health issues 18 years after the crisis."

Mr. Stevens states that "...Harris put his agenda of tax cutting and spending reduction ahead of the protection of the public." Interestingly while one might think that bond rating agencies would enthusiastically embrace cutting government spending, apparently not so much because of the accompanying tax reductions. Standard & Poor as well as Moody's are lowering Ontario's credit rating believing that the focus on reducing taxes, especially business taxes, that is the purpose behind lower spending will actually make Ontario's debt picture even worse. Well!

Mr. Stevens also bluntly attacks Premier Doug Ford for reneging on the Greenbelt protections. This huge swath of land circling the Greater Toronto area will be opened up for commercial and industrial development. Mr. Stevens uses the word reneging because that is exactly what Doug Ford has done.

Then there are the proposed exemptions to the Clean Water Act that municipalities can decide to follow in the cause of less scrutinized development. Mr. Stevens suggests that this "...does not mean Ontario will experience another tainted-water crisis. It simply increases the possibility."

Mike Harris made a public apology to the people of Walkerton for the Ontario government's responsibility, via the Ministry of Environment (MOE), for the poisoning of thousands of citizens and residents of Walkerton. The MOE and Ontario were not solely responsible but they played a major part in the disaster. So far we've had Walkerton and Elmira as the two best known drinking water disasters in Ontario. Which community will become the third best known?

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