Open letter to Steven Guilbeault and Kyle Seeback

October 6, 2022   ·   1 Comments

Dear Steven Guilbeault (Minister of Environment and Climate Change) and Kyle Seeback (MP, Dufferin – Caledon); 

Over the past few weeks, I have watched in horror as Pakistan flooded and millions are displaced, as the Eastern Provinces were pummelled by Hurricane Irene and as Hurricane Ian destroyed parts of Florida and the South-East Coast of the USA.

Today, I attended the Harvest Walk in Brampton where many protested the proposed Highway 413.  

I can’t help but connect these events. At this point, only the willfully ignorant can declare that Climate Change is not real. We are seeing the four deadliest components of Climate Change – floods, fire, drought and extreme weather – in action. None of us will remain unaffected, whether directly or as a result of the migration of others to safer areas. 

The Conservative Government of Ontario seems determined to build this new toll highway. While I certainly agree that the current public highways are extremely congested, I can’t help but wonder why this short-sighted solution is their only option. 

The proposed route, starting from Halton Hills through to the north end of Vaughn, runs directly through 400 acres of our “protected” Greenbelt. It will pave over 2000 acres of prime farmland, at a time when we are losing farmland every day to urban sprawl. The 50 km route will destroy rivers, wetlands, conservation and forested areas. In turn, species that live nowhere else will be at risk. 

From what I understand, this Highway is actually redundant and unnecessary. We currently have the under-utilized Highway #407. Why would we build another highway that is predicted to create 17.4M tonnes of emissions, when we have one that we are not using to capacity? 

Mr. Seeback and Mr. Guilbeault, I urge you, at minimum, to take two immediate actions to help Stop the 413.   

1. Endorse a campaign to convince the provincial government to provide some form of incentive or subsidies to truckers to use the under-utilized Highway 407. Diverting these commercial vehicles away from Highway 401 and other east/west regional roads would provide immediate congestion relief and negate arguments that Highway 413 is actually needed. This is a realistic proposal for you, given that our Canada Pension Plan Investments, a crown corporation, is a 50.01 per cent majority shareholder in the Highway 407. 

2. Ensure that a full environmental impact assessment is completed before construction can commence. The current provincial government is trying to exempt Highway 413 and future highways from provincial environmental assessments and can’t be trusted to adequately address the environmental impacts of this mega-highway.This means you, as the federal government needs to step in and ensure  a “full panel review’, the highest tier of the environmental assessment process, is conducted. 

I thank you, in advance, for your support in preventing this environmental disaster and await your response. 

Tracy Armstrong 

Orangeville, Ontario

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Kevin Smithson says:

    “The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them.” Turkish Proverb


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