NDP MPP Peter Tabuns reignites push to ban fracking in Ontario

An Ontario MPP has renewed his call for a provincial ban on fracking.
An Ontario MPP has renewed his call for a provincial ban on fracking. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

In the wake of recent flooding in Ontario, an NDP MPP is bringing back his push to take preventive action against fracking in the province.

Peter Tabuns first introduced a bill to ban fracking in Ontario back in 2015, but it was shot down by the Liberals.

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At the time, then-Natural Resources Minister Bill Mauro said the Liberal government would not impose a ban on fracking, adding that he wasn’t even sure that there was enough potential gas in the province to attract companies that want to frack.

Tabuns said it would be easier to take preventive action than to impose a moratorium on an existing industry in the province — an argument he’s repeating now.

“The experience of those other jurisdictions with fracking has been contamination of groundwater and, in Oklahoma particularly, earthquakes,” he told Global News Radio 980 CFPL.

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“We don’t have an established industry right now. We can prevent it from coming into being without having to go through the big fights that they went through in Quebec, New Brunswick and elsewhere.”

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Tabuns reintroduced the bill on Tuesday, citing the increasing threat of climate change.

“Climate change isn’t a future problem, it’s a current problem. The reality over the last few years is that it’s become clearer that the leak of methane — natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations — is becoming a major factor. And fracking is, of all of those technologies, one of the dirtiest in terms of leaks into the atmosphere,” Tabuns said.

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As for the reception he expects his bill to receive, Tabuns noted that a lot has changed in four years.

“I think many more people are aware that their homes could be lost to flooding. People are more aware that there’s a huge problem here,” he said.

“I think that, increasingly, it’s going to be hard to get away with industrial operations that accelerate global warming. People know the price they’re going to have to pay.”

The next step for the bill is a debate in the legislature. Tabuns expects to have an idea in the fall of when that debate will take place.

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—With files from the Canadian Press