Monday, June 18, 2012
Bill 55 undermines environmental protection
According to a Greenpeace report, the current distraction about a summer election, the media spin on this and the focus on a balanced budget are designed to make sure there's little transparency about Bill 55 so as to allow the proposed legislation to pass. Together Greenpeace, the David Suzuki Foundation and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Wildlands league and Ontario Nature have urged the Liberal government and the other two major parties to work together so that there are legal rules in place to continue to protect the environment and Ontario's species.
By putting these environmental changes in an omnibus budget, a document containing 325 pages, the government can more easily avoid any public debate on the issue and hide the details about how Bill 55 will scrap several environmental protections. Surely many of the changes would be debated and challenged under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights. But if you avoid the debate, the government also avoids any disagreements and changes. You can be sure that if an election were called, the Liberals would never mention anything to do with Bill 55 because the very idea of trying to deceive the electorate would surely not help them get re-elected. Too often politics is the ugly art of deception.
The future of Ontario rests on having clean lakes and lands and the protection of wildlife and wilderness so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchilren can enjoy them too. This attitude is truly about a sustainable future. A good life comes from trying to live it virtuously. But to do this requires that we have laws to protect the environment: we need to protect the human body at all stages, other forms of animal life and nature. God's good earth is both our womb and our tomb. Human beings have no right to defile or to destroy the wonder, the gift and beauty of God's work. This is why every abortion committed is a sin: We kill God's creation. Polluting the physical environment we show disrespect for God's work. If we are good stewards of God's creation, we will naturally have the uncontaminated resources to nourish our bodies with clean water, good food, healthy air and appreciate the grandeur of Ontario and Canada's pristine wilderness.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church on respect for the integrity of creation is very instructive about this: "The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation." (2415)