Ontario Hansard – 05-April 2017
Ontario Hansard – 05-April2017
ONTARIO’S GREEN LEAF CHALLENGE
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Point of order, the member from Wellington–Halton Hills.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Speaker, I’m seeking the unanimous consent of the House to allow me to display this white pine seedling—that was given to me by the Minister of Natural Resources last week—on my desk while I do my statement.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): The member from Wellington–Halton Hills is seeking unanimous consent to use a prop. Do we agree? I did not hear a no.
Members’ statements: the member from Wellington–Halton Hills.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Last week, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry announced the launch of Ontario’s Green Leaf Challenge, with the goal of planting millions of additional trees in 2017 to mark Ontario’s 150th anniversary within Confederation.
This initiative is inspired by the county of Wellington’s Green Legacy Programme, which is the largest municipal tree planting program in North America. Working with community partners, over two million trees have been planted in the county since 2004. This year, they plan to plant an additional 163,000 trees, which will help make our air cleaner and help to fight climate change.
I want to commend the county of Wellington staff, in particular Gary Cousins, Mark Van Patter and Rob Johnson, for their stewardship with Green Legacy. I also want to thank past warden George Bridge and current warden Dennis Lever for their leadership. We should also acknowledge the county’s CAO, Scott Wilson, and former warden, the late Brad Whitcombe, who together initiated the county’s Green Legacy Programme.
In May 2015, I attended a meeting in Georgetown to discuss how we might celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. It struck me that a great way to do this would be to take the county of Wellington’s Green Legacy Programme province-wide, with the goal of massively expanding our tree planting efforts as a community-building exercise, as well as getting people involved to help address the challenge represented by climate change.
Since then, working with our municipal partners, we have been pushing the government to establish an Ontario green legacy program. On October 22, 2015, this House debated my resolution calling on the government to establish an Ontario green legacy program. It passed unanimously, with support from all parties. Since then, I have been repeatedly and persistently following up with the government to urge them to implement our idea.
I urge the government to actively promote Ontario’s Green Leaf Challenge. We can do this creatively and cost-effectively through social media, by reaching out directly to possible partners, by advertising in community newspapers and on their websites and by MPPs holding events.
Let’s work together to build the promise of the future in Ontario. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): You can take your prop down now, to make sure that it doesn’t spring roots into your desk.
I thank all members for their statements, even with the props.