March 8, 2019 11:58 am

Ontario’s first Green Party bill passes second reading with all-party support

Ontario Green Party legislation, introduced by Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, has passed a second reading in legislature.

Matt Carty / CJOY News

The Ontario Green Party‘s first-ever bill, introduced by leader and Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner, is one step closer to being enacted into law.

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The Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act, which would protect the Guelph area’s drinking water, passed a second reading at the legislature on Thursday.

It even received support from all parties during the debate.

“I was very pleased to have all-party support,” Schreiner said in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon. “I think it’s because there’s something in this bill for everyone.”

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Schreiner modelled the bill after the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act that was passed by a Progressive Conservative government in 2001 with all-party support.

He said the bill is fiscally responsible.

“It talks about protecting our water now so we don’t have to spend millions of dollars potentially in the future for water infrastructure,” Schreiner said.

BELOW: Mike Schreiner speaks to 1460 CJOY about the Paris Galt Moraine Conservation Act

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Guelph is one of the largest cities in Canada to rely solely on groundwater for drinking and the Paris Galt Moraine supplies 200,000 people in the region.

That number is expected to grow to one million in the next decade.

“The bill doesn’t say ‘no new development’ but it says development must take place in a responsible and sustainable way that protects the ecological and hydrological functions of the region,” Schreiner said.

The bill now goes to committee for further debate where it could receive amendments and revisions before a third reading and passage into law.

“I’m going to be mobilizing people and pushing hard [so] that the government and committee chooses to bring this bill forward for third reading debate, some time during this session of Parliament,” Schreiner said.

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He also noted that it took four different bills over two years before the Oak Ridges Moraine was protected by legislation.

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Schreiner said the government can’t delay this time.

“With climate change on Ontario’s doorstep and $1.2 billion in damage done last year alone, we must act quicker,” he said.

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