Correction Regarding Budget Priorities

Dear members and supporters of NDACT:

I want to be absolutely clear that one of the Green Party’s top priorities is to protect Ontario’s class 1 farmland and source water regions.

I’m proud to be Ontario’s first and only provincial party leader to sign the Food and Water First pledge (at a news conference on May 9, 2013).

I have and will continue to challenge the other party leaders to sign the Food and Water First pledge. I believe this is a pledge that all parties can and should support.

I recently made a mistake in an email about the Green Party’s 2014 budget priorities. I created confusion by using the header Food and Water First while writing about fiscal tools the province can use to protect natural resources. The legislation to protect prime farmland and source water regions is out of the scope of the budget. And I should not have used “Putting Food and Water First” in this context.

I apologize for my mistake.

I want to thank NDACT for your leadership in defeating the Mega Quarry and putting food and water on the political agenda. I’m honoured to have the opportunity to support your work in creating a lasting legacy for Ontario.


Mike Schreiner


Green Party of Ontario

2014 Provincial Policy Statement is Released

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Announce:

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is pleased to announce the release today of the new Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 (PPS, 2014).

The new PPS, 2014 comes into effect on April 30, 2014 and contains the province’s policies concerning land use planning for Ontario. It provides a strong and clear foundation for land use planning and development in Ontario. It is the cornerstone of Ontario’s land use planning system, as all planning decisions are required to be consistent with these policies.

The new policies give better direction for supporting healthy active communities, strong economies and the responsible management of resources in a clean and healthy environment.

The PPS, 2014 recognizes that different regions of the province face different challenges and provides clear direction and additional flexibility to help all communities prosper, including northern and rural communities.

We have also prepared two complementary draft documents for discussion. These highlight the policies in the PPS, 2014 that affect planning in Northern Ontario and rural Ontario, particularly those that have been added or revised since the Provincial Policy Statement, 2005. The discussion period for these draft documents ends April 25, 2014.

The PPS, 2014 and the draft Northern and Rural primers are available for download at


Deflections & Disappointment

When the review of the Aggregate Resources Act was released last fall, Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones praised the report from the Standing Committee on General Government despite its many omissions. The report contained no protection for prime farmland or source water regions. It ignored the significant submissions made by agricultural stakeholders yet enthusiastically endorsed the aggregate industry for assisting the Committee with its research and visits to aggregate sites. If adopted, the report’s recommendations would permit a Mega Quarry on Ontario’s prime farmland. It was the Mega Quarry battle in Dufferin-Caledon that prompted the ARA review.

Sylvia Jones appeared before Melancthon council on January 9th to discuss the ARA report. Rancher Carl Cosack attended the meeting and has written a strongly-worded letter to the Orangeville Banner about her presentation and commitment to her constituents.

By News Team
Posted on the Food & Water First website:

Put farmland first to preserve province’s productivity (2013)

Only 5% of Ontario’s land base is suitable for agriculture. And since we have no way to make more soil, we need to hold on to all the productive land and soil we have.


Successful activists inspire Pickering airport opponents

Land Over Landings working to broaden support


PICKERING -- Carl Cosack knows what it's like to be David fighting Goliath. And he knows what it's like to win.

He recently headed up a citizens’ coalition that successfully stopped a massive limestone quarry from being built on prime farmland in Melancthon Township.

"We were very fortunate to be able to change the conversation ... instead of fighting against something, we were fighting for something," says Mr. Cosack, chairman of the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce.

On Oct. 22, he brought that success story to the Claremont Community Centre for an event hosted by Land over Landings, a group opposed to plans for an airport in Pickering.

More than 150 people showed up, eager to hear how a tiny township took on a big corporation.

Mr. Cosack's advice? Come armed with solutions, not complaints. And make the goal something everyone can get on board with.

"In this case, your ask is very simple -- take class 1 farmland off the table for development of any kind," he said. "It costs the government nothing and it will strengthen the community. It's a win-win."
 Land Over Landings has reignited a four-decade struggle after a June 11 announcement that saw the federal government renew its commitment to build a new international airport in Pickering.

The group's argument focuses on the need to protect prime farmland.

Members envision the federal lands being declared an agricultural and natural heritage preserve, a source of everything from meat and vegetables, to field crops and wool.

The last few months have seen Land Over Landings put out a call for volunteers, host community information meetings and take politicians and supporters on a bus tour of the lands.

"So far we have tremendous support from a number of groups, our next step is to keep building that momentum," says chairwoman Mary Delaney. "We need people to know this is not just a local issue .. .we want to garner support from all over and from all levels of government."

Shirley Boxem, vice-chairwoman of NDACT, said it will take time for Land Over Landings to take root with its new look and feel, but believes the group can "absolutely" achieve the same results that quarry opponents did.

"I had members of my own family tell me I was wasting my time, that money always trumps community interests," she said. "But slowly we got that support. I would drive down the same old street and suddenly see a new person had a lawn sign. That can happen here too."

Land Over Landings still needs donations and volunteers, in particular a volunteer co-ordinator.

For more information, visit

By Jillian Follert

Published on the Durham Region website, Oct.24, 2013