by Barry Bridgeford
Ontario’s Environmental commissioner has given us warning that the province’s Bill 55 is far more than it first appears. I’ve dug into it, beyond the initial public outrage concerning Endangered Species. I consider BILL 55 as a serious threat to the integrity of Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and all Public Lands. I believe the governments support of Industrial Wind Turbines is leading them to use Bill 55 to try and secure industrial access to our Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and Public Lands.
I’ve itemized below the components of Bill 55 which I’m concerned would provide the government with the power to have Industrial Wind Turbines installed in our Provincial Parks, Crown Forests and Public Lands.
Schedule 15, page 55 .. changes to Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994
It sounds to me like the government wants to be able to delegate private parties with the right to operate and manage in Crown Forests with an unspecified range of powers, the consequence of which the government wants to absolve itself of responsibility for. This sounds to me like the government wants to give private parties free reign to operate in Crown Forests. To me, this equates to being able to give over Crown Forests to alternate energy project operators (such as industrial wind turbine corporations).
Schedule 58, page 294 .. changes to Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve Act, 2006
Despite the original act’s limitations regarding “issuing of the land use permit or licence of occupation .. consistent with this Act and the regulations” (as per subsection 14 (2.1)), this change will give the Minister control over both the circumstances and terms of such permits! I see this as absolute discretion to grant land use permits within Provincial Parks to anyone, including alternate energy project operators (such as industrial wind turbine corporations).
Schedule 59, page 295 .. changes to Public Lands Act
Given that Public Land is synonymous with Crown Land, and given that Provincial Parks are a planning distinction of Crown Land Use Designation, I believe the Public Lands Act holds a serious foundation of authority under the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserve Act. Again there’s the same issue of delegation of power to other than government workers, with the same
rejection of liability on the part of the government.