Five things the McGuinty government should do now to help propane blast victims



    TORONTO, Aug. 15 /CNW/ - Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader
John Tory today made the following statement after attending the Ratepayers'
Town Hall Meeting in Toronto for victims of Sunday's propane explosions.
    "Following last night's meeting, rather than focusing on who is to blame
for this tragedy, the focus now must be on what can to be done to help the
people affected by the blasts and the more urgent issues that have to be
addressed.
    "Having been to the neighborhood on Wednesday, having spoken with
residents and businesspeople, and having attended the town hall meeting last
night, the following are five things Mr. McGuinty and his government should be
doing starting this morning.
    "An information and help centre should be established in the
neighbourhood immediately so people can get information on topics ranging from
asbestos to insurance, schools to vegetable gardens. No one is in charge right
now and giving people lists of phone numbers to call is not fair to those who
have been through this disaster. The province should lead in this effort.
Governments must work together to communicate properly with people.
    "The Ontario government should move now to make some funding available to
help people who are out of pocket as a result of this disaster through no
fault of their own. We do it quickly, and rightly so, when there are
international disasters. We did it in Caledonia. We should be doing it here.
    "The McGuinty government through the Ministry of the Environment should
move immediately to test soil and air in this area to satisfy themselves and
the public that no other toxic or dangerous substances were present or created
at the scene of the blast. Many residents asked questions about this and they
deserve answers. The Ministry must also publish material on asbestos which
describes standards and sets out instructions on how to clean it up. Doing so
at a town hall meeting alone is not good enough.
    "The McGuinty government must insist on a full review of the 911 call
system. Numerous residents I spoke with and who spoke at the meeting told of
calling the line at the time of the explosion and getting no answer. This is
not acceptable and an urgent review is necessary.
    "The McGuinty government should provide daily reports on the progress of
the inspections of propane facilities, which have finally been ordered by
Minister Takhar. Every one of those inspections should be jointly carried out
with a local Fire Department expert so we don't have the TSSA checking their
own work when the Minister himself has questioned it. The province should look
at whether it has the authority now to ask propane operators to post
performance bonds in the event of future incidents like this.
    "These are five things that come from the people, which would help them
and which would directly address some of their concerns. That's why we have
these meetings and I believe acting immediately on items such as these is the
least we can do to show good faith and to carry out our responsibilities to
the public. I look forward to the Governments response."





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For further information: Catherine Pringle, (416) 400-2804

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