QUEEN’S PARK— Today the Minister of the Environment rejected NDP GTA Issues critic Cheri Dinovo’s call to launch a provincial environmental assessment of PortsToronto’s plans to massively expand airport infrastructure at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, claiming incorrectly that environmental assessments were not within his jurisdiction.
“Currently, these plans are proceeding based on a pseudo-‘environmental assessment’ that has no legal recognition under the federal, nor the provincial, environment assessment acts,” explained DiNovo. “Will the government protect provincial interests on Toronto’s waterfront, and insist on a proper, legal environmental assessment?”
The Minister of the Environment, an MPP from a Toronto riding that will be directly impacted by the expansion, claimed the province has no jurisdiction in the EA process and cannot act without a request from local councillors.' Later, Murray tweeted “It is a federal EA,” which is not true of the PortsToronto process.
In fact, environmental assessments fall under provincial and federal statutes and are legally-defined processes, neither of which apply to PortsToronto’s so-called “environmental assessment.” And while airports generally fall under federal jurisdiction, section 32 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act allows the provincial government to substitute a provincial EA process to ensure that provincial interests are properly addressed.
DiNovo said the province must stand up for Ontario’s interests on the waterfront, including its $1 billion stake in Waterfront Toronto, its new investments at Ontario Place, and the ecological health of Lake Ontario.
“Prominent Torontonians like Paul Bedford, David Crombie, Jack Diamond, Anne Golden and Ken Greenberg, as well as community groups like NoJetsTO and CodeBlueTO have pointed out that Ports Toronto’s phoney review will not give Torontonians the facts they need,” said DiNovo.
DiNovo called on the Liberal government to end its silence, stand up for Toronto, and defend provincial interests on the waterfront.