Premier Kathleen Wynne

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Pondering

Okay this is bizarre and seemingly out of character.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/02/26/ontario-basic-income_n_9328264.h...

What that pilot project will look like, and what it will cost, is not yet known. In its budget documents, unveiled Thursday, the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne said it would “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.”

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the province will decide whether to make a basic income permanent on the basis of that pilot project, the Globe and Mail reported.

What a sad state of affairs that it is left to Wynne to promote Basic Income. 

 

mark_alfred

I think it's potentially a good thing.  Generally minimum income programs take most other benefits and combine them into one.  Potentially it results in a loss for some, I assume.  However, I think overall it could be a good thing.  Something to watch.

Geoff

Pondering wrote:

Okay this is bizarre and seemingly out of character.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/02/26/ontario-basic-income_n_9328264.h...

What that pilot project will look like, and what it will cost, is not yet known. In its budget documents, unveiled Thursday, the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne said it would “work with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot.”

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the province will decide whether to make a basic income permanent on the basis of that pilot project, the Globe and Mail reported.

What a sad state of affairs that it is left to Wynne to promote Basic Income.

If Wynne is promoting it, we had better read the fine print very carefully. It's probably not good news for the poor in Ontario.

mark_alfred

No mention of child care as a priority in the budget, apparently.  From Rabble:

Quote:

In the past, Kathleen Wynne's government has claimed to be eager to work with any willing federal partner on a national child care plan. In a report card on actions and commitments in the last provincial election campaign, the Liberals unequivocally stated they would "take leadership with provinces/territories/federal leaders to put a national child-care program back on the political agenda."

The Ontario Liberals even voted with the NDP in NDP Leader Andrea Horwath's Opposition Day motion last year saying that "this province should partner with the federal government to ensure that every parent in Ontario has access to child care at a cost of no more than $15 a day per child."

So imagine the crushing disappointment in the child-care community that early learning and child care gets no mention in a 15-page chapter listing the Ontario government's priorities for intergovernmental collaboration.

mark_alfred

Apparently the Ontario budget has the deductible for the Ontario Drug Benefit nearly doubling from $100 to $170.  Liberal cutbacks hurting the most vulnerable.

http://www.ontariondp.ca/demand_better_for_seniors

Quote:

Many Seniors rely on prescription medication to stay healthy.

1 in 3 Ontario seniors need 10 or more prescriptions for different drugs each year.

But the Liberal budget will mean most seniors are going to see their drug costs almost double.

The deductible for the Ontario Drug Benefit is nearly doubling from $100 to $170 and every time a senior pays for a prescription they’ll be paying more in their co-pay.

There has been no consultation. There has been no warning.

For the majority of Ontario seniors on fixed incomes, this is a huge new cost.

Seniors deserve our respect, they should have access to the prescription drugs they need, when they need them.

More on this here:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-seniors-drug-benefit-1.347...

terrytowel
Geoff

Scratch a Liberal, and you'll find a Conservative. You can take that one to the bank.

mark_alfred

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/lcbo-250-stores-sell-1.3479384

Now they're selling off the LCBO.  We'll see similar moves to privatization from the federal Liberals too, I'm guessing.

terrytowel

Geoff wrote:

Scratch a Liberal, and you'll find a Conservative. You can take that one to the bank.

Yeah but as Kathleen Wynne said in 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfn2WDzLzAs

mark_alfred

Wynne could have said, 'I plan to privatize everything that I possibly can, so if you want change from the Liberal Tory same old story, vote NDP -- but remember, if you vote NDP, Hudak may win, and while his anti-public service rants are scary, I promise that I will add a spoonful of sugar to make my pro-corporate privatization of everything medicine go down in a most delightful way.'

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

I'm not going to celebrate Wynne. But her government's seemingly willingness to implement a basic income is good policy regardless of which colour party this is coming from.

Be happy with this crumb. In Québec we have a right wing ideologue as Premier.Even if it made sense economically (and it does) there's not a snowball's chance that Couillard would consider it.

mark_alfred
Geoff

terrytowel wrote:

Geoff wrote:

Scratch a Liberal, and you'll find a Conservative. You can take that one to the bank.

Yeah but as Kathleen Wynne said in 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfn2WDzLzAs

What else would she say during an election campaign? Wynne and the truth tend to be strangers at the best of times.

Geoff

alan smithee wrote:

I'm not going to celebrate Wynne. But her government's seemingly willingness to implement a basic income is good policy regardless of which colour party this is coming from.

Be happy with this crumb. In Québec we have a right wing ideologue as Premier.Even if it made sense economically (and it does) there's not a snowball's chance that Couillard would consider it.

I agree that Wynne is a crumb, but I'm not happy with her.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Geoff wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

I'm not going to celebrate Wynne. But her government's seemingly willingness to implement a basic income is good policy regardless of which colour party this is coming from.

Be happy with this crumb. In Québec we have a right wing ideologue as Premier.Even if it made sense economically (and it does) there's not a snowball's chance that Couillard would consider it.

I agree that Wynne is a crumb, but I'm not happy with her.

/quote]

I can empathize. But at least your government is taking a positive step to address poverty while here in La Belle Province the only address to poverty is a sidewalk or metro bench.

IMO,a basic minimum income should be a federal/provincial project. It makes perfect economic sense and people can stop bitching about 'the panhandlers' and 'squeegies' or,my favourite, 'the bums'

Be thankful that your province is stirring itself in the right direction on the issue of poverty. I can't say I know much else about Ontario Parliament. But be happy they are progressive in at least one sense.

Stockholm

You in Quebec should be thankful that you have $7 a day child care while in Ontario the supposedly progressive Kathleen Wynne totally REJECTS any improvement to the child care system and Ontarians literally have NOTHING in the way of affordable child care. 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Stockholm wrote:

You in Quebec should be thankful that you have $7 a day child care while in Ontario the supposedly progressive Kathleen Wynne totally REJECTS any improvement to the child care system and Ontarians literally have NOTHING in the way of affordable child care. 

I guess I would be if I had kids. A minimum income is far more progressive and would affect many more people.  It's hard for me to give a damn about daycares when I see Third World poverty everyday around my neighbourhood and literally everywhere else in this city.

Can we swap? You can have Couillard and I'll even throw in Frankie Legault to sweeten the deal.

mark_alfred

Them saying they're thinking of maybe doing a study on mincome while they privatize everything and cut services hardly warms my heart.

mark_alfred

Liberal school closures will hurt Ontario’s most vulnerable students

Quote:

Today, London-Fanshawe NDP MPP Teresa Armstrong was joined by students, parents and advocates in calling on the government to ensure that specialized (provincial and demonstration) schools that support Deaf, blind, deafblind, and/or severely learning disabled students in Ontario will remain open and that the application process for next year will be unfrozen.

“The government refuses to clarify whether or not schools will close,” stated Armstrong. “The closure of these schools will leave students and families with nowhere else to turn. New Democrats, parents and advocates call on this government to unfreeze applications for next year and commit to keeping these specialized schools open.”

mark_alfred

Geoff

Would anyone care to speculate about the veracity of rumours that the Liberals are preparing to give Wynne the hook before the next election?

Paladin1

Geoff wrote:

Would anyone care to speculate about the veracity of rumours that the Liberals are preparing to give Wynne the hook before the next election?

She not Wynneing anymore?

quizzical

from out here in BC i would say what's the point? doesn't matter if it's a PC or LIb government they're getting.....

majority of ON people keep voting against their own best interests. doesn't matter if it's provincial or federal.

watched a program on Global the other night about rural peoples in ON hydro bills. 1000/month?

was affixing a price to transmission of hydro on top of usage the Tories or the Liberals?

mark_alfred

I don't think the Wynne government has a chance next election.  Granted, June of 2018 is still a long way off.  So, things could change.  But right now I don't know how they can regain the public trust.  Recent polls have them in 3rd after the Cons and NDP (1st and 2nd respectively, though the Libs are a close third).

Here's more trouble for the Liberals:  Auditor general slams Wynne government over hospital wait times, shoddy road construction

Geoff

mark_alfred wrote:

I don't think the Wynne government has a chance next election.  Granted, June of 2018 is still a long way off.  So, things could change.  But right now I don't know how they can regain the public trust.  Recent polls have them in 3rd after the Cons and NDP (1st and 2nd respectively, though the Libs are a close third).

Here's more trouble for the Liberals:  Auditor general slams Wynne government over hospital wait times, shoddy road construction

I'm pretty sure pundits were saying the same thing before the last provincial election, "Wynne doesn't have a chance". It didn't quite work out that way, so if we really want to see her gone, we're going to have to work at it and take nothing for granted.

Ciabatta2

Her polling numbers may be low, but it won't be a blowout.  I think the Liberals will remain competitive.  The polls are too far out and not linked to the election. Wynne will be able to play off the scary conservatives again, link them to the rise of Trump, and really put the squeeze on the NDP - who, after the federal blowout and the rise of Trudeau, have no provincial momentum and limited ground game.

josh
josh

Ontario is raising the minimum paid vacation from two weeks annually to three for all workers with five or more years at the same job, says Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Wynne told the Star the change is part of sweeping labour reforms being announced Tuesday at Queen’s Park that will take effect before the next election on June 7, 2018.

The premier noted many European countries already mandate far longer paid holidays than three weeks a year.

“We have fallen behind,” she said Monday.

The government will also outline the timetable for raising the hourly minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 and reveal measures for making it easier for workers to join unions.

“People being able to act collectively has contributed to the civility of our society,” said Wynne, adding employees should be allowed to organize “without being strong-armed or bullied” if they want to sign union cards.

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/05/29/more-paid-vacation-coming-premier-kathleen-wynne-vows.html

jerrym

josh wrote:

“We have fallen behind,” she said Monday.

The government will also outline the timetable for raising the hourly minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 and reveal measures for making it easier for workers to join unions.

“People being able to act collectively has contributed to the civility of our society,” said Wynne, adding employees should be allowed to organize “without being strong-armed or bullied” if they want to sign union cards.

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/05/29/more-paid-vacation-coming-premier-kathleen-wynne-vows.html

After 14 years in power, the Liberals discovered there is a working class that is underprivleged and needs help. Or did they discover that they are in electoral trouble and need to steal parts of the NDP platform, like Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties dating all the way back to the 1943 Ontario election? 

If one wants these kind of issues addressed at any other time than an electoral emergency, you won't get it with these parties. 

jerrym

Definition of a deathbed conversion:

Barely four months ago, I asked Premier Kathleen Wynne how open she was to the idea of boosting Ontario's minimum wage to $15 an hour. She was rather unenthusiastic.

Despite activists pushing the government for a sharp increase from the current minimum wage of $11.40, Wynne defended the existing system of nudging it upward once a year by the rate of inflation.  

"We've got a really good process ... that actually depoliticizes the increases to the minimum wage," Wynne said on Jan. 19.  

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/15-minimum-wage-ontario-election-k...

 

jerrym

Of course the Liberal plan could be to call an early election in late August or early September so that they could avoid dealing with four trials of senior Liberal staffers in September, catch the other parties ill-prepared and announce that one needs to vote for them to get a $15 minimum wage, equal pay for part-time workers, a mandated extra week of vacation after five years with the same employer, and easier rules for unionization. A former PC candidate suggests below that this is exactly what they are up to.

The Liberals may not be waiting until next year for the provincial election. While the article below is by a former PC candidate, I do agree that an late August, early summer election would help the Liberals avoid dealing with the publicity of two trials of senior Liberal staffers and likely catch the other parties ill-prepared for an election.

Ontario’s next election will be held June 7, 2018, the Liberal government says. Don’t bet on it.

The Liberals have been delivering a flood of election promises that is even more torrential than Ontario’s spring rains. The sheer volume is unusual a year before an election. So are some of the promises.

The one that stands out is a “plan” for a $21-billion high-speed train that would run from Toronto to Windsor. It’s never going to happen, but when a party resuscitates that old idea, it has truly scraped the gunk from the bottom of the election promises barrel.

Tuesday, Premier Kathleen Wynne had her promise machine out again, vowing to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and give workers longer holidays.

Wynne has been touring the province making promises that include free college and university tuition, pharmacare for those under 25, a 25 per cent reduction in electricity bills, more money for hospitals, more child care, rent control, a basic income plan and Ontario Municipal Board reform.

There has to be a reason for this early onslaught of promises, and there are two theories. The first is that Wynne is desperately trying to get the poll numbers up so that she doesn’t get booted out by her own party.

If so, the strategy might be working.

A poll earlier this month by Campaign Research shows the Liberals ahead with 37 per cent support, followed by the PCs at 33 and the NDP at 22. The margin of error for the online poll is plus or minus four per cent. Polling from the same company shows the pharmacare and basic income plans are pushing up Liberal numbers.

The second possibility is that the Liberals intend to call the election for late August or early September of this year. Strategically, this would be a smart move and if there is one thing the Ontario Liberal party is good at, it’s election strategy.

Rationally, one could argue that the promised spending orgy from a party that has taken a decade to balance the budget is like celebrating one’s first week of sobriety with a pub crawl, but rationality doesn’t have much to do with Ontario politics.

The bottom line is that Liberal candidates have plenty of attractive-sounding free stuff to talk about at the door. The bill will come some other time and history suggests Ontarians don’t much care.

A late August election would also get the vote over before two separate trials involving senior Liberal staffers. Those begin in early September and are unlikely to produce any good news for the Liberals.

Wynne also has the chance to catch the Progressive Conservatives unprepared. The party says it will be ready if a quick vote is called, but it has no platform and only about half of its candidates are nominated. Its policy process has been glacial and is to culminate in a convention in late November.

While the Liberals have been wooing voters with loveable promises, PCs haven’t given voters a single reason to support them, other than not being the Liberals.

PC leader Patrick Brown likes to talk about high hydro rates, the economy and red tape but the only policy he is really known for is a carbon tax, something his own supporters really, really hate.

Voters not only don’t know what Brown stands for, they don’t know who he is. A Forum Research poll earlier this month indicated that 54 per cent of those polled don’t know enough about Brown to offer an opinion on how he’s doing.

The Ontario Liberals have not governed well and people still don’t like their leader, but that hasn’t held them back in past elections. The Liberals are skilled campaigners and have a gift for promising a magical future.

http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/denley-heres-how-the-ontario...

 

SeekingAPolitic...

I beg the leadership of the NDP please do not get out flanked by liberals.  2015 the liberals won in ontario because promised to be left of the NDP.  Result NDP lost.  2016 federally once again the  liberals were able out left NDP again. This sounds like 2015 again, if the liberals win and another majority by outflanking the ONDP.  The leadership of the NDP should step down.  Don't 2015 happen again.

SeekingAPolitic...

I beg the leadership of the NDP please do not get out flanked by liberals.  2015 the liberals won in ontario because promised to be left of the NDP.  Result NDP lost.  2016 federally once again the  liberals were able out left NDP again. This sounds like 2015 again, if the liberals win and another majority by outflanking the ONDP.  The leadership of the NDP should step down.  Don't 2015 happen again.

jerrym

The sudden burst of energy and reforms from a very tired 14 year old Liberal government may not only be related to next year's provincial election but to moving the election up to late August/early September to avoid the trials described below of four senior Liberal staffers in two trials scheduled to start in September that would likely reach a verdict shortly before June next year's election date.

Two trials involving charges against Ontario Liberals are set to take place simultaneously this fall, setting the stage for possible verdicts just months ahead of the June 2018 election.

Lawyers for two Liberals facing Election Act bribery charges appeared in court Wednesday in Sudbury, Ont., as trial dates were set for Sept. 7-22, Oct. 10-13 and 23-27. That means the trial of Pat Sorbara, the premier's former deputy chief of staff, and Liberal fundraiser Gerry Lougheed will begin just four days before the start of another major political trial in Toronto.

David Livingston and Laura Miller, who were then-premier Dalton McGuinty's chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, face charges of breach of trust, and mischief in relation to data and misuse of a computer system to commit the offence of mischief. They were charged after a police investigation into the deletion of emails about the Liberals' decision to cancel two gas plants prior to the 2011 election, at a cost of up to $1.1 billion. Both Miller and Livingston have denied the charges. Their trial is scheduled the trial for six weeks starting Sept. 11.

Unlike the gas plants trial, the Sudbury trial is not on criminal charges, rather Sorbara faces two bribery charges under the Election Act and Lougheed faces one. Lougheed had been charged criminally, with one count of counselling an offence not committed and one count of unlawfully influencing or negotiating appointments, but those charges were stayed last year.

The charges stem from allegations the pair offered a would-be candidate a job or appointment to get him to step aside in a 2015 byelection in Sudbury so that Glenn Thibeault could run for the provincial Liberals. He was then a New Democrat MP and is now the energy minister. Sorbara and Lougheed both deny the charges. June 27 was also set as a confirmation hearing to make sure all of the parties are ready for a trial to start in September.

The Liberals are also still under investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police, who are looking into financial irregularities at the Ornge air ambulance service, and investigating complaints from Trillium Power Wind Corp. about the alleged destruction of documents in a lawsuit it filed against the province.

http://www.metronews.ca/news/canada/2017/02/08/two-liberals-facing-elect...

 

NorthReport
epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Ontario government ignored public safety concerns, ‘muzzled’ engineers: document

Ontario engineers claim their public safety concerns regarding oil refineries and their effects on communities in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley, including Aamjiwnaang First Nation, are being ignored by the provincial government, according to a report obtained by Global News.

The stunning allegations are outlined a document that details a meeting between the Office of the Environment Minister and the Professional Engineers Government of Ontario (PEGO), a union representing provincial engineers.

“MOECC Management are muzzling and excluding key engineers that raise concerns with respect to public safety, petroleum refineries and surrounding communities such as the Aamjiwnaang First Nation,” reads the document dated Sept. 20, 2017.

“Senior management have met regularly with industry representatives and ignored related concerns from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and PEGO members.”

According to the document, engineers claim to have been identifying public safety concerns since 2009 related to petrochemical refineries in Ontario, including “acid gas flaring resulting in significant sulphur dioxide air emissions and risk of irreversible health impacts or mortality for sensitive individuals,” as well as a “lack of engineering regulatory oversight relative to U.S. jurisdictions resulting in an increased risk to nearby communities of chemical leaks (e.g., hydrogen sulphide) and explosions.”

Engineers also allege senior management ignored concerns from Aamjiwnaang First Nation and PEGO members after having met “regularly with industry representatives.”

“[MOECC management has] refused to publicize a report complete by PEGO members in 2014 that identifies significant impacts, in surrounding communities such as the AFN, from the petroleum refinery sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide air emissions,” the document claims.....

jerrym

Here are some of the problems of living in the Chemical Valley are outlined below (guess who the primary victims are):

Aamjiwnaang First Nation, a 2,700-acre reserve in southwestern Ontario, sits, preposterously, in the centre of one of the world’s largest petrochemical complexes, home to such companies as Imperial Oil, Dow Chemical Canada, Shell Canada, Suncor Energy and NOVA Chemicals. ...

Sometimes, when the wind shifts, wafts of bitter air drive residents to pull out their asthma puffers. Spills and accidents at the facilities are signalled by shrill warning sirens. One sounded in March 2008, when the roof collapsed on a large holding tank containing a mixture of chemicals, including benzene, a carcinogen used in the production of everything from plastics and detergents to dyes and pesticides, at the Imperial Oil site. Residents in Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia were forced to shut themselves indoors for four hours with their windows and doors closed tight.

A decade or two ago, the incident might have passed without remark or protest, accidents being the price of producing close to half of the country’s petrochemicals and housing 20 percent of its refineries, which, historically, were the bedrock of the local economy. But that silence and resignation ended when people started getting sick: Fatal cancers appear at an alarming rate in Chemical Valley workers, asthma and reproductive problems plague Aamjiwnaang, and the number of boys being born on the reserve appears to be on the decline. Evidence is mounting that pollution might be, at least partially, to blame.

But there’s a movement afoot to save this place, and Jim Brophy, the executive director of the Sarnia office of Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), says what’s striking is the leading role that women are playing. “Women and widows are the engine that’s driving” the charge, he says. Angered by the deaths of their husbands and fathers and fearful of the impact pollution may have on their fertility and the health of their children, they are taking on the very industry that sustains their community. And what they’re attempting to do is no less a feat than to right the balance of power between corporations and citizens and win back their city.

http://www.chatelaine.com/health/canadas-toxic-town/

 

jerrym

The problem of male infertility, birth defects, cancer, and other diseases on the Sarnia First Nation is part of a global problem in heavily industrialized areas around the world. The sad thing is that almost nothing has been done about this anywhere during the decade since the following article was written.

Are males becoming an endangered species?

That's the question scientists and researchers have been pondering since alarming trends in male fertility rates, birth defects and disorders began emerging around the world.

More and more boys are being born with genital defects and are suffering from learning disabilities, autism and Tourette's syndrome, among other disorders.

Male infertility rates are on the rise and the quality of an average man's sperm is declining, according to some studies.

But perhaps the most disconcerting of all trends is the growing gender imbalance in many parts of heavily industrialized nations, where the births of baby boys have been declining for many years.

What many scientists are calling the most important -- and least publicized -- issue surrounding the future of the human race is highlighted in a CBC documentary that features two Windsor researchers who've studied the phenomenon.

Titled The Disappearing Male, the documentary includes interviews with Jim Brophy and Margaret Keith, adjunct sociology professors at the University of Windsor.

They have been studying the decline in the birth of male children in the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community located next to the infamous Chemical Valley, Canada's largest concentration of petrochemical plants, near Sarnia.

A paper co-authored by Keith and published three years ago in the U.S. journal Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that exposure to various chemicals produced by industrial plants surrounding the Aamjiwnaang reserve land may be skewing the community's sex ratio.

The researchers looked at the community's birth records since 1984 and saw "a dramatic drop in the number of boys being born in the last 10 years, particularly in the five-year period between 1998 and 2003," Brophy said.

Of 132 Aamjiwnaang babies born between 1999 and 2003, only 46 were boys. Typically, about 105 boys are born for every 100 girls in Canada.

High miscarriage rates and a unusually high number of children suffering from asthma were also noted by researchers.

Although the link between pollutants and human reproduction has not been firmly established, there is growing evidence that the birth sex ratio can be altered by exposure to certain chemicals, such as dioxin, PCBs and pesticides. Brophy said studies done in the United States, Japan and Europe seem to support the theory that the so-called endocrine disrupting chemicals have a particular effect on males.

Some of these chemicals are found in commonly used products such as baby bottles and cosmetics. They can also cause miscarriages and a "whole host" of disorders in a male child, Brophy said.

http://www.canada.com/disappearing+male/949217/story.html

 

jerrym

Of course there is a lacking of funding for this tiny problem to ruling classes of which Sarnia is sadly far from the only example globally.

Approximately 40 per cent of Canada's chemical industry is clustered in the area, according to a 2007 report by the Canadian environmental group Ecojustice.

Located at the southernmost tip of Lake Huron on the border between Ontario and Michigan, activists say the area has become one of Canada's pollution hot spots — lined with chemical plants, manufacturing plants, and refineries.

A 2006 community survey by Aamjiwnaang's environment committee cited a number of health issues, including miscarriages, chronic headaches and asthma. Forty per cent of band members surveyed required an inhaler.

Elaine MacDonald, a scientist who co-authored the 2007 Ecojustice report, is hopeful Basu's study will encourage further research.

As it stands, it's difficult to draw a direct correlation between pollutants and health issues such as the low male birth rate.

"This is a start, and it's a great start, but to me there's so much that needs to be done, and there's no money," she said.

MacDonald said it's been difficult to get government funding at both the federal and provincial level. A more comprehensive study that includes the surrounding area, Lambton County, has stalled due to lack of funding.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/first-nations-exposed-to-pollutant...

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Demanding an investigation into Imperial Oil’s massive flaring in Chemical Valley

Imperial Oil released hazardous contaminants during a massive polluting event that left residents fearing for their safety.

On a cold and wet winter night in February 2017, the skies above south Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang First Nation were alight with massive flames spewing from Imperial Oil’s facility in Sarnia’s Chemical Valley.

Local warning sirens sounded at the start of the flaring, but suddenly cut out with no explanation. Despite the towering flames, concerned citizens were unable to get answers about what was going on when they called the Spills Action Centre, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (Ministry), and Imperial Oil. Many community members took to social media to try to find out what had happened and whether they were in danger. Some stayed indoors, fearing that their health was at risk.

During the heavy flaring, a grass fire appeared on Imperial’s property and that of a next-door facility. The flames rattled windows in Aamjiwnaang First Nation, created loud noises, and caused a bad odour. Light poured into residents’ homes at night, making it difficult to sleep, as black smoke and noxious fumes filled the air in and around the community.

The initial flaring incident was so massive that some residents feared the refinery itself was on fire — the flames were large enough that they could be seen from across the American border in Port Huron, Michigan. As massive flares pushed clouds of volatile chemicals, sulphur dioxide and sulphur compounds into the air, community members became frustrated with the lack of information.

Months later, residents are still in the dark about what exactly happened that evening....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Ontario investigates after Sarnia plant evacuated over possible leak

The Ontario Environment Ministry is investigating why a Sarnia-area plant failed to report a potential hydrogen sulphide leak as legally required, a spokesperson said Thursday.

Nova Chemicals in Corunna, south of Sarnia, evacuated staff to a “safe location” Wednesday after the leak triggered plant alarms, the company said. Hydrogen sulphide, which has a rotten egg odour, can paralyze the human sense of smell and cause death at high enough concentrations.

The ministry spokesperson said staff are investigating why Nova didn’t immediately report the spill.

“We are communicating to Nova that it is our expectation that in incidents like this they do notify us,” said the spokesperson.

quote:

The provincial government unveiled a policy proposal Thursday intended to toughen air pollution standards in Sarnia and Hamilton — two heavily industrialized areas. If approved, it would consider the combined effect of local pollution rather than focusing on individual plants’ emissions.

The policy would apply only to facilities that are new or expanding. It covers emissions of benzene in the Sarnia area and benzo[a]pyrene and benzene in the Hamilton area.

Both chemicals are known to cause cancer. Levels of the contaminants frequently breach provincial air standards in the two regions, the proposal said.

The policy wouldn’t require action from industry currently in the Sarnia area — only periodic review from the ministry, the proposal reads.

In May 2009, Lockridge and a partner secured a pledge from the ministry to review how it regulates the cumulative effects of Sarnia’s air pollution. After eight years and no review, Lockridge filed an application in July asking a judge to order the province to immediately complete the review.

“There is no change here at all,” Aamjiwnaang resident Ada Lockridge said Thursday. “Eight years of them thinking about this and that’s all they came up with?”

NDP environment critic Peter Tabuns said he doesn’t believe the policy would address pollution issues in Sarnia.

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