Mr. McGuinty acknowledged Ontario
businesses will have to assume additional responsibility if his
legislation on toxins passes. But there should not be a choice
between a healthy environment and a robust economy, he said.
"Our determination on behalf of
progressive, ambitious, health-conscious Ontarians is to ensure
that they have the best of both worlds, which is a strong
economy and a safe and clean environment," he said.
The Liberals' environmental plan also
includes a provincewide ban on the cosmetic use of pesticides on
lawns, gardens and parks, which can pose a health risk. Golf
courses and farms would be exempt.
Critics say Mr. McGuinty has already had
four years to implement a ban on pesticides and wonder why he's
only acting now.
There are now more than 125
municipalities that have adopted or drafted some form of
anti-pesticide bylaw. The province of Quebec has also banned
The College of Family Physicians of
Ontario released a report in 2005 saying that various pesticides
had adverse health effects. The pesticide industry argues that
the chemicals are safe when used as directed.
Yesterday, Mr. McGuinty made three
campaign stops across the province to discuss some of his
environmental pledges and boast about his party's record.
His visit early in the day to Walkerton,
a town that seven years ago was hit by a tainted-water tragedy,
was the second in four years. He was there last time under
similar circumstances - to woo voters in the hopes of being
Mr. McGuinty said his government has
made great strides to protect the province's drinking water
supply. The Liberals have implemented all 121 recommendations of
an inquiry led by Justice Dennis O'Connor, who was appointed by
the former Progressive Conservative government, he said.
The Liberals have hired 33 new water
inspectors and provided more than $2-billion to upgrade
municipal water infrastructure. They have also established a
centre that has trained more than 5,000 people in best practices
when it comes to clean water, Mr. McGuinty said.
"Justice O'Connor gave us a thoughtful
and detailed road map and we implemented every one of 121
recommendations," he said.
Meanwhile, at the Walkerton stop, Mr.
McGuinty was asked about the sale of beer and wine in the
province's corner stores.
His main rival, Progressive Conservative
Leader John Tory, has floated the idea of selling alcohol in
convenience stores to boost the profile of homegrown alcohol.
Mr. McGuinty dismissed the idea,
reiterating his previous stand that the province already has an
efficient system in place to sell liquor.