Environmental groups set the bar for Ontario political parties

    Groups outline action priorities for the province

    TORONTO, March 18 /CNW/ - A group of leading Ontario environmental
organizations today released detailed policy agendas for the province in six
key areas: boreal forest protection, toxics, energy, Great Lakes protection,
waste and recycling, and urban sprawl and the Greenbelt. The priorities are
described on the newly launched Priorities for Ontario website at
    "We've developed these easily understood priorities to help both voters
and political leaders understand what needs to be done to ensure a healthy,
prosperous future for Ontario," explains Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director of
Environmental Defence, one of the 13 groups that combined efforts on the
    "We believe that these priorities should be at the centre of any
political platform meant to address the very real threats to the health and
prosperity of Ontario residents posed by climate change, loss of wild habitat,
pollution and urban sprawl," says Dr. Mark Winfield, Director of Environmental
Governance, Pembina Institute.
    Representatives from the 13 organizations have met with the leaders of
the four major Ontario parties to deliver the message that the environment
should be a central focus for all parties. "We've had a positive reception,"
says Bruce Cox, Executive Director of Greenpeace, "but we are still waiting to
see how the parties intend to actually follow through on our recommendations.
And we are not going to be satisfied with feel-good statements and vague
promises - the time for action is now."
    In fact, the organizations are already working on mobilizing their
combined memberships to push for action on the six priorities. "Our members,
like most of the public, are ahead of many political leaders in understanding
that cleaning up our environmental act can have big economic, health and
societal benefits," points out Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario
    "These priorities are central to the future of this province. They can
form the backbone of an effective and workable plan to create a healthy and
sustainable society or they can be ignored at our collective loss," concludes
Janet Sumner, Executive Director of CPAWS Wildlands League.

    The 13 groups who are collaborating on the Priorities for Ontario
(www.PrioritiesforOntario.ca) project are:

    Environmental Defence - www.environmentaldefence.ca

    Pembina Institute - www.pembina.org

    Greenpeace - www.greenpeace.ca

    Ontario Nature - www.ontarionature.org

    Pollution Probe - www.pollutionprobe.org

    Forest Ethics - www.forestethics.ca

    CPAWS Wildlands League - www.wildlandsleague.org

    Sierra Club of Canada - Ontario Chapter - www.ontario.sierraclub.org

    Canadian Environmental Law Association - www.cela.ca

    Ontario Clean Air Alliance - www.cleanairalliance.org

    Sierra Legal Defence Fund - www.sierralegal.ca

    Great Lakes United - www.glu.org

    Conservation Council of Ontario - www.greenontario.org

For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416)
323-9521 ext. 232 or (647) 280-9521, jfoulds@environmentaldefence.ca

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Environmental Defence

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