It would be stunning, if not so entirely predictable. Just as they closed up shop early for a lengthy Christmas vacation (closed until February because they’ve been working so hard), Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative Ontario government introduced legislation that would allow business development to trump public safety on a number of fronts, including the security of a community’s water supply.
Bill 66, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 (who names these bills, George Orwell?), is portrayed by the government as an effort to streamline provincial development approvals under the Planning Act, to cut “red tape” and to “shorten the time it takes to build projects that create jobs.”
While that sounds admirable, it’s unlikely “red tape” is preventing many viable projects from moving forward, given progressive entrepreneurs understand the risks associated with cutting corners in their own businesses and no company finds it useful to be associated with a disaster, environmental or otherwise. Still, this move fits within the “Open for Business” sloganeering style that appears to the only level this government seems capable of operating on.
In short, what the bill would do is allow municipalities to bypass numerous existing pieces of legislation, including the Clean Water Act, for any project that creates at least 50 jobs.
Wonder if the people of Walkerton would have felt well compensated for their 2000 tragedy if it put 50 people to work?