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UPDATE: What do the Ontario election results mean for the Great Lakes?

Last night, Ontario elected a Liberal minority government. With 53 seats in the 107 seat legislature, the Liberals will need to work with the NDP (with 17 seats) and the Progressive Conservatives (with 37 seats) to pass legislation at Queen’s Park.

During the election, the Liberals promised to “defend Ontario’s precious water resources for future generations with a Great Lakes Protection Act and launch a fund that will reduce water pollution and make our beaches cleaner.” They committed $52 million to the clean-up.

The NDP promised to “designate a Minister responsible for the protection of the Great Lakes and establish clear objectives and legislation to ensure that decisions by all Ministries protect the quantity and quality of the Lakes.” They also said they would “not proceed with any approvals for the transport of radioactive steam generators on Ontario’s roads and waterways until a full provincial environmental assessment has been conducted.”

The Progressive Conservatives spoke about protecting several rivers and generally about water quality, but made no specific promises about the Great Lakes.

As such, the Council of Canadians will be looking at opportunities – with the Liberal government and the NDP opposition – in this new minority context to push for better legislation on the Great Lakes and to stop the proposed shipments of radioactive waste on the Great Lakes.

The previous Liberal majority government in Ontario had not issued their required permit to Bruce Power for the shipments, but neither have they called for an environmental assessment on the matter. The permit granted by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to Bruce Power to ship radioactive waste on the Great Lakes expires within the next five months.