Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott’s proposal to establish an Ontario Green Legacy Programme to mark Ontario’s 150th anniversary within Canada has been endorsed by the Ontario Legislature.
On October 22, the Legislature voted unanimously to pass Mr. Arnott’s Private Member’s Resolution calling on the Government to take Wellington County’s Green Legacy Programme province-wide by planting 150 million trees beginning in 2017.
“An Ontario Green Legacy Programme could be a legacy that all of us in this House can claim as our collective gift to the generations to come,” Mr. Arnott said during his closing remarks in the debate.
With Wellington County CAO Scott Wilson, Green Legacy Committee Chair Mark Van Patter, and Green Legacy Nursery Manager Rob Johnson on hand to watch the debate, Mr. Arnott acknowledged the work of County officials.
“I want to once again express my admiration for the County of Wellington, for the outstanding leadership they have shown in launching their Green Legacy Programme and maintaining it on an ongoing basis, such that it has grown into the largest municipal tree planting programme in North America,” Mr. Arnott told the House. “They have shown us the way.”
“When the County of Wellington first started down this road, it was a large challenge. But we found that we could succeed with the involvement of the community. With the support of the House and Mr. Arnott’s Resolution I find that I am hopeful and know that we in the Province can succeed,” said Mr. Van Patter.
The Ontario Green Legacy Programme has also been endorsed by the David Suzuki Foundation, NeighbourWoods on the Grand, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, the Professional Foresters Association, as well as Halton Hills community leader Laurent Thibeault.
Mr. Arnott intends to continue to follow up with the Minister of Natural Resources to see that the Government follows through.
“Passing my resolution today was the first step towards an Ontario Green Legacy Programme,” Mr. Arnott said afterwards. “Now we need to see a positive response from the Government. I intend to continue to raise this with them until they commit to making Ontario Green Legacy a reality.”
The Green Legacy Resolution is the second consecutive Private Member’s initiative brought forward by Mr. Arnott that was successfully passed by the Ontario Legislature. In November 2013, the Legislature passed his bill honour former Lieutenant Government Lincoln Alexander by proclaiming January 20 Lincoln Alexander Day in Ontario.