To-nights news triggered an example of a catastrophe that perfectly illustrates why voters need to
be informed and why the media falls short.
Mike Harris was Ontario Premier in the nineties. Among other measures, he abolished Ontario Water Resources Commission to cut government spending.
The agency was set up to ensure water quality. Public health was too important to leave to municipal councils whose main pre-occupation was to keep taxes down and be re-elected. Education was the biggest expense and they had no control there.
Subsequently In Walkerton Ontario , a small rural municipality, numbers of people died horribly from the town's contaminated water supply.
It hadn't been treated properly. E-coli had seeped into the wells from surrounding fields dressed
In animal manure.
The person in charge of treatment,brother of a volunteer fire-fighter , was charged, tried, found guilty and was sentenced to jail.
He wept with remorse during the trial. He was not capable of handling the serious responsibility assigned to him. He was hired notwithstanding.
It would not have happened if the OWRC had not been abolished.
No politicians were called to account.
Subsequently, the Province passed legislation making local councillors criminally responsible for any future failures.
The Ontario Water Resources Commission was never re-instituted.
Higher levels of chemical treatment in water were established in law for all water systems.
Public health is a provincial responsibility. It was the Provincial Premier who made the decision
that put public health at risk in the very places that needed OWRC resources.
The Ontario Municipal Board has a similar responsibility although lives are not at risk. The purpose is to ensure decisions made are based on logic and consistency.
Not all Municipalities follow that rule .Aurora's decision to exempt St Andrew's College from development charges is an example. A recent one to relieve a hotel from development charges
to spur economic development is a classic example.
The decision to lease away the hydro property for thirty years which was needed for municipal purposes Is another example that flies in the face of logic.
They were elected to represent the community's interest. What hidden reasons caused them to sell out the people they were elected to serve.
In the absence of satisfactory explanation, people are entitled to speculate the worst.
Without the OMB , what warranty is there developers and speculators will not receive the same
unequal ,irrational, inequitable treatment?
More municipal Councillors might end up incarcerated for various improprieties and how would
that contribute to the well- being of society?