Northern cities bypassed by 'species at risk' hearings
THUNDER BAY, ON, April 20
COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA
Ontario government excludes Northern communities from 'species at risk' hearings
- "The Ontario government is intent on appearing to do the right thing for political gain when it comes to its "species at risk" act, but it clearly has not been listening to those who stand to lose the most from it."
That statement from the Ontario vice-president of Canada's largest forestry union, Cec Makowski.
In response to a direct question from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada at a round-table meeting in Thunder Bay yesterday, Ontario's Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay said that public hearings on the bill would be held in Toronto only.
"The Liberal government is isolating itself from those most impacted by its decisions," says Mr. Makowski. "The government has abandoned the communities of Northern Ontario where workers in forest-dependent communities have already been devastated by the crisis in that sector.
"CEP members and others in these communities have some major
concerns about the proposed legislation - concerns they will not be permitted to air, thanks to the Ontario government's decision to hear only from Torontonians.
"We need significant public consultation to occur all across Ontario, not just in Toronto," he adds, noting that "all stakeholders - unions, environmentalists, municipal leaders, Aboriginal groups, farmers, and others - should have an opportunity to air their concerns.
"It's an important piece of legislation, but it needs to be thought through."