Media Release

CELA Shocked at Selection of New Environmental Commissioner

Dec 15 1999

Toronto.The Canadian Environmental Law Association was shocked to learn today that Gordon Miller has been offered the position of Environmental Commissioner of Ontario. The Environmental Commissioner is the sole watchdog of the Environmental Bill of Rights, a law that governs public participation in environmental decisions. The position is for a five year term.CELA is concerned about information indicating that Mr. Miller has been an unsuccessful Tory candidate in both provincial and federal elections. Mr. Miller is currently President of the Federal Tory riding association in North Bay, the hometown of Premier Mike Harris."This is a blatantly political decision that is certainly contrary to the spirit of the Environmental Bill of Rights . We need a strong Commissioner who is the guardian of the public interest, especially at a time when Ontario is the second biggest polluter in North America," noted Paul Muldoon, Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association."Our concern is that the Commissioner's position will be transformed from a watchdog to a lapdog. There is a crucial need for an independent review of this Government's environmental performance to track the impacts of the many cuts they have made to environmental programs, staff and budgets," said Richard Lindgren, a CELA lawyer. Both Mr. Lindgren and Mr. Muldoon were members of the multi-stakeholder task force that assisted in the drafting of the Environmental Bill of Rights. CELA campaigned for over 25 years for a citizens' Environmental Bill of Rights.- 30 -For more information:Paul Muldoon, Executive Director, (416) 960-2284Richard Lindgren, Counsel, (613) 385-1686Sarah Miller, Coordinator, (416) 960-2284