Government must commit to Ontario Green Legacy – Speech
Ontario Hansard – 07-December 2015
Mr. Ted Arnott: We know that humankind must reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it doesn’t end
there. We also know that trees absorb carbon dioxide, and humankind needs to plant more trees. On
October 22, I brought forward a private member’s resolution calling upon the government to establish an Ontario Green Legacy program to mark Ontario’s 150th anniversary as a province within Canada.
This initiative, which would be based on the county of Wellington’s Green Legacy program, would seek to plant 150 million trees starting in 2017.
My resolution was passed unanimously by the Legislature, with members from all parties speaking in
favour of it. I want to again thank the many people who support my resolution, both in this House and
outside of it. I especially want to acknowledge the role of the county of Wellington, and in particular Scott Wilson and the late Brad Whitcombe, for their vision and leadership in establishing Wellington county’s Green Legacy program.
Since my resolution was passed by the House, support has continued to grow. Last week, I met with
representatives from the Credit Valley conservation authority, the David Suzuki Foundation, Forests
Ontario and Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests. They were all very supportive of the idea of an Ontario Green Legacy initiative. On Wednesday of this week, I’m going to be meeting with
representatives from the Highway of Heroes Tribute and Landscape Ontario to discuss it.
I spoke to the Minister of Natural Resources on November 5 to follow up on my resolution, asking him to reach out to the county of Wellington and invite county council and staff and many of their
representatives to meet with them. I hope that he will do so, as well as publicly commit to moving
forward on this initiative. The year 2017 will be here before we know it; let’s get going.