COP15 takes place in the shadow of Doug Ford’s reckless, autocratic environmental sabotage

As attendees gather at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal to develop solutions to save our ecosystems for future generations, the people of Ontario are sending a message to Doug Ford to get his “Hands off the Greenbelt” and stop his undemocratic assault on the environment and protected green space.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) stands with communities and grassroots campaigns fighting to get Ford to reverse his reckless record of environmental destruction.

“The time for climate justice and action to protect the Greenbelt is now,” said JP Hornick, President of OPSEU/SEFPO. “In more than 50 communities across Ontario people have come together in a show of collective action to protect the Greenbelt. Our collective action is our strength, and we must continue to use it to fight for the protection of our beloved green spaces, and our environment.”

Ford’s scheme to sell off the protected Greenbelt to his PC party donors follows his government’s cuts to conservation officers and environmental protections.

Part of Ford’s long record of deliberate sabotage includes weakened protections for endangered species and a significant reduction in funding for Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to enforce environmental protections.

Shawn Burr, OPSEU/SEFPO Chair of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks Ministry Employee Relations Committee (MERC), says that changes have eliminated pro-active enforcement of environmental safeguarding like species protection.

“Due to changes by this government, instead of a pro-active system of enforcement to ensure compliance, inspections only happen after a complaint is made,” said Burr. “We need new enforcement resources to identify the issues before it gets to the stage where a complaint is made. This government does seem to care that once a species is gone, it’s gone for good. Waiting for a complaint may be too late.”

Ontario should be a leader in protecting the environment and creating new green jobs, instead Doug Ford seems only interested in a irresponsible agenda that only benefits his circle of insiders and wealthy developers.

The second phase of COP15 – the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity – kicked off on December 7th in Montreal and continues until to the 19th.