Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2015
MPP Arnott proposes taking County’s Green Legacy
(Wellington-Halton Hills) – Wellington County’s Green Legacy Programme is a model for the rest of
the province to follow, says Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott.
With Ontario’s 150 anniversary quickly approaching in 2017, Mr. Arnott, who addressed County
Council on June 25, is proposing that the Province of Ontario mark the occasion by following
Wellington County’s lead.
“What could the Province do to celebrate the 150 Anniversary of its’ birth?” Mr. Arnott asked
County Council. “They could follow the lead of the County of Wellington and take the Green Legacy
“Imagine a province-wide effort to plant 150 million trees to celebrate the 150 Anniversary of
Ontario,” he said.
While Mr. Arnott admits that 150 million trees is an ambitious goal, he believes that it can be
“Could we do it? Could we actually plant 150 million trees in one year? My belief is we could, if the
lessons learned here in the County with Green Legacy were to be employed across the Province,”
“But not just the lessons learned. We’d also need the leadership, the community spirit, the
inspiration and excitement of a large, publicly-articulated goal, and the focus that County Council,
Staff, and volunteers have shown to make Green Legacy an ongoing, permanent program, and a
beacon of hope and leadership for humankind,” Mr. Arnott continued.
Established in 2004, Wellington County’s Green Legacy Programme plants 150,000 trees across the
County each year. It has grown into the largest municipal tree planting programme in North
“Wellington County should be proud of the success of the Green Legacy Programme,” Mr. Arnott
said afterward. “County Council and Staff deserve enormous credit for this remarkable
(Attached: Text of Mr. Arnott’s remarks to County Council, June 25, 2015)
– 30 –
Ted Arnott, MPP
Text of Mr. Arnott’s remarks to County Council, June 25, 2015
Good morning Warden Bridge, Members of County Council, Staff, and our visitors.
It’s great to be here, and great to see all of you.
Because of the high regard I have for the County of Wellington and the leadership you provide, I
consider it an enormous honour each time I have the chance to address County Council.
Because you give politics a good name.
Today, it’s very easy to contrast the way you do your business, with the way it’s being done in the
These days, when the Speaker calls the roll in the Senate, the Senators aren’t sure whether they
should reply: “Present,”
Or whether they should reply: “Not Guilty.”
But I’m not here today just to thank you for your public service. I came at the suggestion of Scott
Wilson, and thank you Scott for that.
I want to tell you a quick story, and then offer a proposal.
Just over a month ago on a Thursday night, I was at a meeting in Georgetown with the Halton
Hills Cultural Roundtable group.
They are getting an early start on planning events they want to have in Georgetown, just two
years away, in 2017, when across the country, we will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of
Our MP Michael Chong was also there, and in his remarks about the federal programs they’re
setting up to support community celebrations,
He looked to me, and reminded all of us that not only did a confederated Canada begin on July
But on that same date, the Province of Ontario,
As a part of the new federation,
Also came into being.
My immediate thought, of course, was:
“What is the Province doing to celebrate its’ own 150th Anniversary, in two years time?”
The first thing I that popped into my mind was:
They’re celebrating by selling off Hydro One and putting beer in the grocery stores.
But then I got serious again.
What could the Province do to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of its’ birth?
My next thought was they could follow the lead of the County of Wellington, and take the Green
Legacy Programme province-wide.
Imagine a province-wide effort to plant 150 million trees to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of
Imagine an invitation to every community group, service club, school board, church,
municipality, conservation authority, and so on,
The private and public sectors alike,
Indeed, every organization that seeks to do good works in the Province,
And, every resident of Ontario who cares about the environment, and greenhouse gas emissions,
and global warming and the planet we leave to the coming generations,
Imagine city residents leaving the GTA for a weekend, coming to small town, rural, and northern
Ontario to help out.
Inviting them all to help out with an organized and administered “Ontario Green Legacy.”
150 million trees to celebrate 150 years of the Province of Ontario, within a united Canada.
Now when anybody makes a public statement like this and attaches a huge number to it, there
will be naysayers who laugh and say it can’t be done.
I’m sure Scott and Brad Whitcombe heard some expressions of doubt when together, they
conceived the original idea of the Green Legacy,
With the objective of planting 150,000 trees to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the
But let’s break it down: to plant 150 million trees, you’d need to get a million people involved,
and each one on average would have to plant 150 trees.
In doing some preliminary research and preparation for making this announcement today, I
discovered that the Ministry of Natural Resources doesn’t seem to keep track of all the existing
tree planting that’s being done in the Province today, or at least they don’t report it in an easily
accessible manner on a website.
That would need to change.
For example, through the Legislative Library, we were advised that in 2011-12, the most recent
information their diligent researchers could find, nearly 50 million trees were planted as part of
the “renewal process,” which is far as I can tell, represents the replanting the forestry industry is
required to do where trees have been harvested.
That number, interestingly, was as high as 82 million trees planted in one year in reforestry in
Ontario as recently as six years ago.
I see no reason why reforesting shouldn’t be counted, as part of our effort to achieve our overall
Then, there is a group called Forests Ontario, that works with the MNR to support “large scale
tree planting activities.” They report that approximately 2.7 million trees were planted in 2013-
14 under this program, and 22 million trees have been planted since 2003. That number is
separate from the replanting efforts of the forestry industry, which I referred to a minute ago.
Forests Ontario’s goal is to plant 50 million trees by 2025.
There is no question that planting 150 million trees is a very ambitious goal and would be a huge
Just as clear is the need to coordinate our efforts, involve more community minded groups and
individuals, keep track of our progress, and make the results public to encourage even greater
Exactly how you do it with the Green Legacy program, only on a province-wide scale.
Could we do it? Could we actually plant 150 million trees in one year?
My belief is we could, if the lessons learned here in the County with Green Legacy were to be
employed across the Province.
But not just the lessons learned. We’d also need the leadership, the community spirit, the
inspiration and excitement of a large, publicly-articulated goal, and the focus that County
Council, Staff, and volunteers have shown to make Green Legacy an ongoing, permanent
program, and a beacon of hope and leadership for humankind.
If you concur, we could work together to approach the Minister of Natural Resources and
Forestry and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, working with Perth-
Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, and get the Province on board,
For a 150th Anniversary celebration that’s also a gift to the generations to come.
Thank you very much.