This Blog will discuss politics, government, corruption, police, S.I.U., courts, education, min. of attorney general, min. of labour, v.o.i.c.e. and other current and past events of interest to concerned citizens. In the "About me" section to the right and down I have included the names of persons whom I have tremendous respect for. Their influence on me however has been primarily environmental (and personal) and this is therefore a disclaimer that all words posted on this Blog/Website are mine and I alone am responsible for them. I say this with the greatest respect and affection to my friends.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
HOW MUCH OF OUR PROVINCIAL LEGISLATION IS FOR SHOW ONLY?
Affectionately known as FOI this legislation is actually named Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. Now isn't that quite a moniker? Several studies have been done showing that information from our provincial government is anything but free and easy. It's time consuming, frustrating and often unsucessful. Loopholes and exceptions are not very helpful nor is simple bureaucratic stalling.
The Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act came about after the Walkerton tragedy. It seems as if just about everybody had an excuse and pointed the finger at the next fellow but the failures started at the bottom with two incompetent, irresponsible brothers at the public works department, escalated at the municipal council level and ended with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment not doing their job over many years. Allegedly the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act was supposed to make everything transparent and the lines of responsibility clear. It also was supposed to remove surprises by making available a report that the public could read and comprehend. What we have while interesting certainly isn't foolproof. There are literally hundreds of chemicals which no one is testing for or at least publishing the results of. This includes all kinds of petroleum hydrocarbons resulting from ubiquitous discharge of gasoline and diesel fuel into the subsurface of almost every service station in the past. Underground tanks have rusted, connections broken and losses only stopped when the leaks became big enough to warrant removal and replacement of tanks. The most obvious chemicals here in Waterloo Region which have been ignored by all include ethylbenzene, xylenes and toluene. NDMA which shut down the Elmira, Ontario wells twenty-four years ago has been found in groundwater in Cambridge and should be on the list. Dioxins as well as pharmaceuticals are not on the Annual reports published each year in Waterloo Region. Also the newspaper ads describing these reports each spring talks about tests conducted each year. That sounds appropriate to me yet numerous wells are going two years between testing.
In hindsight it appears once again as if provincial legislation is primarily for the purpose of fooling Ontario residents into believing that our authorities care and are in control of problems when the reality is much more complex and difficult.