(QUEEN’S PARK) - Randy Hillier, Ontario PC Critic for Northern Development, Mines, and Forestry, condemns the McGuinty Government for voting against crucial amendments to Bill 151 – Forest Tenure Modernization Act. Yesterday the Standing Committee for General Government met for only 40 minutes to complete the clause-by-clause amendment process for 151.
“The McGuinty Liberals have proved once again that this legislation is being pushed by Toronto elites rather than the voices of concerned families and companies in Northern Ontario” said Hillier. “The Committee Members made it quite clear that the purpose of this bill has nothing to with promoting economic support for Northern Ontario and the forest industry, and all to do with appeasing downtown environmentalists.”
During the committee hearing the McGuinty Liberals, led by Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Brown, voted against all Ontario PC amendments to the legislation that would have clarified the objectives of this new legislation. The clarifications were that the Local Forest Management Corporations were to provide economic development opportunities for northern and rural communities as well as to positively impact the Ontario forest product sector.
“What is even more alarming is that these same Liberal puppets voted against another Ontario PC amendment that would protect local forest licences” said Hillier. “The McGuinty Liberals have now given themselves the authority to seize any forest currently held by an existing sustainable forest licence holder.”
Mr. Hillier and the Ontario PC Caucus put forward an amendment that would have ensured that no LFMC could operate without the consent of the existing forest licence holder. In essence, by voting against this amendment, the McGuinty Liberals now have the legislated authority to seize the licence of any company to implement their new LFMCs, which are really just Forestry LHIN experiments.