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Trash Inaction
18/10/2005

If you can go by the discussions taking place at Queen's Park, there isn't much hope for an adult solution to the garbage problem in Ontario.

Consider the following report of Dalton McGuinty's reaction when John Tory pressed him on Ontario's lack of plan in the event of a ban on Toronto's garbage entering Michigan:

McGuinty said the government was monitoring the situation closely, but insisted garbage was a municipal problem, not a provincial one. He then tried turning the tables on Tory.

"If the leader of the Official Opposition has specific sites in mind, I would ask that he put those communities on notice today so that they have some understanding of where it is he thinks Toronto's waste should be delivered," he countered.

Rather than get the provincial government involved in selecting a possible landfill site, our leaders would rather play a game. It's like passing a hot potato. "I'm not going to solve this problem, Mr. Tory, but which communities are you targeting?!?" Instead of addressing the issue, McGuinty would rather play the scare game.

It's fine to point out that garbage is technically a municipal problem. However, there is something peculiar about the province of Ontario that prevents municipalities or businesses from opening landfills here. Let's face some facts: Ontario is not running out of land. Ontario has not run out of locations that would be environmentally-safe landfill sites. However, Ontario does seem to have run out of locations that would be politically-safe landfill sites. A responsible government would step up to the plate.

In any case, it is likely to be a moot point. As John Barber writes today, it is unlikely that Toronto trash will be stopped from crossing the border, and the deal we have for sending it is a fairly good one financially. We're just lucky a neighbouring jurisdiction is more reasonable that we are.


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