Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2016
Ontario Green Legacy: MPP Arnott still pushing
(Queen’s Park) – Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott is not giving
up on the idea of establishing an Ontario Green Legacy Programme
and is continuing to push the Government to massively expand
Ontario’s tree planting efforts.
In October 2015, Mr. Arnott brought forward a Private Members’
Resolution calling on the Government to take the County of Wellington’s
Green Legacy Programme province-wide, with the goal of planting 150
million trees beginning in 2017 to celebrate Ontario’s 150 anniversary
as a province within Canada. The resolution was passed unanimously
by the Ontario Legislature, with the support of MPPs from all parties.
Mr. Arnott raised the issue with Natural Resources and Forestry
Minister Kathryn McGarry in Question Period on November 17.
“The government has now had more than a year since my resolution
was passed. What specifically has the Ministry done to begin planning
to implement an Ontario Green Legacy Programme?” Mr. Arnott asked
Mr. Arnott believes the proposal has widespread support, including from
“As members will recall, this past September at the International
Plowing Match, which was held in Wellington County, Warden George
Bridge mentioned our idea for an Ontario Green Legacy Program in his
remarks,” Mr. Arnott told the Minister. “I was sitting on the stage,
directly behind the Premier. She turned around and told me, “It’s a great
“My question is simple. If the County of Wellington supports it, the
Ontario Legislature supports it, the Premier supports it, and the David
Suzuki Foundation and many other groups support it, why aren’t they
doing it?” he asked.
Mr. Arnott remains hopeful that the Government will act to expand
Ontario’s tree planting, and take the County of Wellington’s programme
“I was encouraged by my conversation with the Minister after Question
Period,” he said afterward. “I intend to continue to push to expand
Ontario’s tree planting efforts. I hope the Government will do it, but
we’re running out of time if we’re going to launch something for next
(Attached: The Hansard record of Mr. Arnott’s questions and the
Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry’s answers, November 17,
– 30 –
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. In 2004, the county
of Wellington established a Green Legacy Programme which plants more than 150,000 trees across the
county each year. It has grown into the largest municipal tree-planting program in North America.
We need to take the county’s Green Legacy Programme province-wide. Last year, the House unanimously
passed my private member’s resolution calling to do just that to celebrate Ontario’s 150th anniversary
within a united Canada in 2017. Government members were very enthusiastic in support of the idea. This
past April, we followed up by arranging a meeting in my office with senior Ministry of Natural Resources
officials, including the deputy minister.
The government has now had more than a year since my resolution was passed. What specifically has the
ministry done to begin planning to implement an Ontario green legacy program?
Hon. Kathryn McGarry: I thank the member opposite for the question. We made a bold commitment on
this side of the House a few years ago to plant 50 million trees in the province of Ontario under the
Premier’s leadership, and we are starting to accomplish that. In fact, we’ve planted more than 22 million
trees so far, so we are well on track to be able to accomplish that.
I have spoken with the member and with some of the members of Green Legacy, and I really do applaud
that particular organization for their implementation program. They have a great way of getting the trees
out to schoolchildren and other community groups. I’m going to continue to work towards ensuring that
we have our commitment done, including the one million trees that we’re planting within the urban areas,
not only for beautifycation but also to try to fill in the gaps where there have been ash trees lost to the
emerald ash borers.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.
Mr. Ted Arnott: I thank the minister for that response, but I would say to her that we can do more—
much, much more. The intent of my resolution, which highlighted the excellent work done by the county
of Wellington, is to encourage the minister to provide the necessary leadership, urging Ontario residents
to get involved, to volunteer, to work with local community organizations and massively increase our
tree-planting efforts in Ontario. This would have so many benefits and serve as a tangible community
response to the challenge of climate change.
As members will recall, this past September at the International Plowing Match, which was held in
Wellington county, Warden George Bridge mentioned our idea for an Ontario green legacy program in his
remarks. I was sitting on the stage, directly behind the Premier. She turned around and told me, “It’s a
My question is simple. If the county of Wellington supports it, the Ontario Legislature supports it, the
Premier supports it, and the David Suzuki Foundation and many other groups support it, why aren’t they
Hon. Kathryn McGarry: Thank you for the supplementary, but we are already doing it. On this side of
the House, we are out planting the trees. As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, about a month ago I was at the
TD Tree Day in Cambridge, and over 300 people turned out on a chilly, windy, rainy morning to plant a
variety of trees. I myself planted a butternut tree in that area.
This is ongoing work in every single community. School groups in my riding and surrounding ridings are
out there. We are certainly on track to get that 50 million trees.
I know that a lot of people have been talking to me recently about using the opportunity of Canada 150 to
plant more trees as a legacy project in their area, but the benefits are beautification, greenhouse gas
emissions reduction, and certainly employing trees as—
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Thank you.