43 PCs were warned their cuts would "increase risk to human health"

Canada News-Wire Sun 14 Sep 2003 TORONTO

Ernie Eves and the entire PC caucus were warned in 1996 that Eves' cuts in environmental protection "increased risk to human health and the environment as a result of decreased compliance and enforcement." But they did nothing to warn their constituents of the dangers they faced, going so far as to swear an oath to keeping the truth secret.

"Forty-three Harris-Eves MPPs were warned that Ernie Eves' cuts put
people's health at risk," said Liberal MPP George Smitherman. "They even
swore an oath to keep it a secret."

"The people of Walkerton paid the price for the Harris-Eves MPPs silence."
"Now we find out that the Ernie Eves PCs ignored warnings that our meat
inspection system was broken. Even worse, Ernie Eves admitted last week
that he plans on cutting health and education to fund his giveaway to our
largest corporations. One media outlet calculates those cuts at $7 billion."
In testimony at the Walkerton Inquiry on June 29, 2001, Mike Harris
admitted that all the members of the PC caucus were shown a secret report
warning Ernie Eves' cuts put human health at risk.

The document shown to the entire PC caucus on April 1, 1996 was the
"Ministry of Environment and Energy - Business Plan and Estimates," a
confidential report presented on to the entire PC caucus outlining Ernie
Eves' cuts to the Ministry of the Environment and their impact on
environmental protection. Copies were submitted as evidence in the
Walkerton Inquiry.

Slide 14 lists key impacts of the Ernie Eves cuts:
"Increased risk to human health and the environment as a result of
decreased compliance and enforcement activities (i.e. when illegal
actions are neither detected or controlled through orders and

"When your PC candidate knocks on your door, ask them why they ignored
warnings that your health was at risk and kept it a secret," Smitherman added.
"Ask yourself if the PCs will put your interests first, when every member
of the PC caucus showed they don't."

Testimony from former Premier Mike Harris at the Walkerton Inquiry.

June 29, 2001.

Q:   Okay.  Now if we follow through with the process, at the next tab we have the -- it's really March 15th, 1996 it's the Notification of the Minute and then
finally on tab 24 we see on April the 1st of 1996 that Caucus was presented with the Ministry Business Plan. And if you refer to page 14 and 15 you will see that Caucus was also advised of the key impacts?

A:   Yes.

Q:   For example, on page 14 it says in the third bullet up:

"Reduced Ministry capability to monitor and assess environmental and energy trends give early warning of long serious threats, ensure compliance with environmental regulations and develop policy and programs in response to emerging issues".

Next page: "increased", third bullet down: "Increased risk to human health and the environment as a result of decreased compliance and enforcement. Public may perceive government's ability to protect Ontario's environment has been

substantially reduced. Reduced level of front-line service, slower response times to complaints, reduced technical assistance".

A:   Yes.  These -- these -- let me put this into context too. Cabinet -- or the Caucus were sworn in an Oath of Secrecy similar to the senior staff or to -- to
Cabinet for this process, because not only was this the first time business plans had ever been shared outside the Ministry; normally Caucus would just put out the estimates that we're spending --

Q:   Hmm hmm.
A:   -- but it was also the first time that Caucus, to the best of my knowledge, had ever been had ever been sworn in for the purposes of reviewing the plans. So the direction was

Q:   Hmm hmm.
A:   -- put similar information before Caucus, put all the impacts that were there. This same document before Caucus, on page 10, indicates on the management of change of the business --

Q:   Hmm hmm.
A:   -- position the Ministry has set overall direction and standards. Focus on core businesses, assign new innovative approaches, no compromise on standards. So all of this information --

Q:   Hmm hmm.
A:   -- both on the impacts and how the Ministry was to be restructured was put before Caucus as well.
(Pages 65-66.)

These PCs were all warned, and are running for re-election:
1. Arnott, Ted (Waterloo-Wellington)
2. Baird, John (Nepean-Carleton)
3. Barrett, Toby (Haldiman-Norfolk-Brant)
4. Beaubien, Marcel (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex)
5. Chudleigh, Toby (Halton)
6. Clement, Tony (Brampton West-Mississauga
7. Cunningham, Dianne (London North Centre)
8. DeFaria, Carl (Mississauga East)
9. Ecker, Janet (Pickering-Ajax-Uxbridge)
10. Elliot, Brenda (Guelph-Wellington)
11. Eves, Ernie (Dufferin-Peel-Wellington-Grey)
12. Flaherty, Jim (Whitby-Ajax)
13. Galt, Doug (Northumberland)
14. Gilchrist, Steve (Scarborough East)
15. Guzzo, Gary (Ottawa West-Nepean)
16. Hardeman, Ernie (Oxford)
17. Hudak, Tim (Erie-Lincoln)
18. Jackson, Cam (Burlington)
19. Johns, Helen (Huron-Bruce)
20. Johnson, Bert (Perth-Middlesex)
21. Kells, Morley (Etobicoke Lakeshore)
22. Kless, Frank (Oak Ridges)
23. Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South)
24. Martiniuk, Gerry (Cambridge)
25. Maves, Bart (Niagara Falls)
26. Munro, Julia (York North)
27. Murdoch, Bill (Bruce-Grey)
28. Mushinski, Marilyn (Scarborough Centre)
29. Newman, Dan (Scarborough Southwest)
30. O'Toole, John (Durham)
31. Ouellette, Jerry (Oshawa)
32. Runciman, Bob (Leeds-Grenville)
33. Sampson, Rob (Mississauga Centre)
34. Spina, Joe (Brampton Centre)
35. Sterling, Norm (Lanark-Carleton)
36. Stewart, Gary (Peterborough)
37. Tascona, Joe (Barrie-Simcoe-Bradford)
38. Tsubouchi, David (Markham)
39. Turnbull, David (Don Valley West)
40. Wettlaufer, Wayne (Kitchener Centre)
41. Wilson, Jim (Simcoe-Grey)
42. Witmer, Elizabeth (Kitchener Waterloo)
43. Wood, Bob (London West)


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