The Toronto Star
NEWS, Wednesday, April 12, 2000
silence Tories, group charges
Earthroots claims donors influence moraine issue
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU
from developers is muzzling Premier Mike Harris and his government
when it comes to protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine, the environment
group Earthroots said yesterday.
director Lee Ann Mallett told a Queen's Park news conference that
from 1995 to 1999, Ontario Tories received at least $2.5 million
in political donations from developers, $700,000 from companies
with direct interests in developing the environmentally sensitive
we really haven't heard anything from Premier Mike to address
the concerns of many people who live on the Oak Ridges Moraine
. . . we've seen no movement in terms of a preservation scenario,
and we began to ask ourselves why," she said.
the only conclusion to be drawn is that developer donations are
influencing government. The donation figures, she said, were culled
from public records.
Affairs Minister Tony Clement defended the donations yesterday,
saying there is nothing sinister about developers or anyone else
donating to political parties.
can't bribe or buy favours . . . in our system. You can't do that.
They donate to political parties because they expect good government.
If they expect any more, they shouldn't."
moraine, arcing north of Toronto, contains the headwaters of 35
rivers and streams, including the Humber, Don and Rouge.
donations from developers jumped sharply from $312,000 in 1995,
when the Harris government was first elected, to $1.13 million
last year. Over that time, the party received $20 million, a tenth
of it from developers.
obviously, would exercise a significant amount of influence,"
she said. "We may be looking at a government that is receiving
undue influence from the development community and their desires
for the urbanization and development of the Oak Ridges Moraine."
Party MPP Marilyn Churley (Broadview-Greenwood) is to introduce
a resolution in the Legislature today calling the government to
freeze moraine development.