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MPP John Wilkinson named Environment Minister

by Chris Daponte

PERTH-WELLINGTON - For the second time in 13 months, a Dalton McGuinty cabinet shuffle has a direct impact on northern Wellington’s member of provincial parliament.

Perth-Well­ington MPP John W­ilkinson was named the province’s new Minister of the Environment on Aug. 18 by the premier.

Formerly the Revenue Min­ister and in charge of selling the harmonized sales tax (HST), Wilkinson said he got the call from McGuinty at about 11am that day and was sworn in at 2pm.

“There’s a myth out there that we know ... You don’t know,” he said of MPPs being tipped off about being named minister.

Calling McGuinty “the greenest leader of any jurisdiction in North America,” Wil­kinson said he was “delighted and honoured to say yes” to the position.

And while his portfolio at Queen’s Park has changed, he stressed his priority remains serving the constituents in his riding.

“You don’t become a minister without first becoming an MPP,” he told the Advertiser on Aug. 20. “My number one job, of course, is to be the best MPP I can for Perth-Wellington residents.”

Wilkinson is not entirely un­familiar with his new post, having previously served two years as the parliamentary as­sistant to the Minister of the Environment.

“Our job is to protect the air, the land and the water, 24-7,” he said. “It’s a very, very active ministry.”

Among his top tasks are helping to ensure no hazardous waste enters landfills and thus water supplies, and, of course, to oversee the government’s Green Energy Act. He said there are a number of projects, including some wind energy applications in Mapleton, that have caused some concern for locals.

Wilkinson noted there is “not one [renewable energy project] approved under the new guidelines in the province of Ontario.” He added he can’t comment on any specific projects.

However, he stressed that any applicants, including wind farm companies, will have to meet “very strict standards” before receiving approval from his office.

“I’ll be expecting all applicants to fully comply with the spirit and the letter of the law,” he said.


Vol 43 Issue 35


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