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Council of Canadians presses Ontario Liberal Party leader candidates to take position against fracking before leadership convention

In under three weeks the Ontario Liberal Party will choose a new leader, and a new Ontario Premier, but most of the candidates vying for the position remain silent on a crucial issue: the future of fracking in Ontario.

Glen Murray, the only candidate to speak out on fracking in Ontario, has said: “From our understanding, the best places to look for shale in Ontario are in the Greenbelt and the Niagara Escarpment. No government led by Glen Murray is going to open these areas to any kind of exploration.” However, Murray stops short of calling for a province-wide moratorium. The Council of Canadians is calling for a ban on fracking in Ontario and is urging candidates, at the very least, tocommit to a provincial review on fracking and a moratorium until the review is complete.

“It’s shocking the candidates have ignored this crucial issue,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson for the Council of Canadians. “People across Ontario are very aware of the risks fracking would pose to the Great Lakes and watersheds across the province and we hope candidates pay attention to these concerns.”

The Council is opposed to fracking happening anywhere in Ontario because fracking has the potential to contaminate drinking water, methods to dispose of fracking wastewater pose a risk to freshwater sources, and fracking contributes significantly to climate change through leaks of methane into the atmosphere.

“The Ontario government has tried to hide the fact that they’ve promoted shale gas development in the province,” says Emma Lui, Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians. “We want to know how much public money was sunk into the drilling programs that assess shale gas potential and why this was done without the consent of First Nations or Ontarians.”

The Ontario Geological Survey, an arm of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, recently released a summary of their field work, which detailed the results of a drilling program that took place in 11 locations around the Great Lakes. In the past, the Ministry of Natural Resource released an aerial survey with the purpose of promoting shale gas development in the province.

The Ontario Liberal press secretary responded on Twitter that “No indication Ontario hosts economic reserves of shale gas. If proposal comes fwd, would look take long look at scientific evidence.” After the Water Campaigner for the Council of Canadians, Emma Lui, pressed for answers on why the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) promoted shale gas without consulting Ontarians, the Ontario Liberal press secretary passed the questions off to MNR, which has yet to respond.