By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Beaches-East York MPP Mary-Margaret McMahon has announced plans to propose a motion for an all-party committee at Queen’s Park focused on tackling climate issues.
She made the announcement on Thursday Oct.13, a day recognized by the United Nations as the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.
In a press release, McMahon highlighted the growing number of incidents surrounding extreme heat, floods and forest fires witnessed worldwide.
Just recently, coastal towns in eastern Canada were left devastated after Hurricane Fiona, which was later downgraded to a tropical storm, hit areas with torrential rain and winds of up to 160 kilometres per hour.
“These are no longer once-in-a-lifetime events and the effects of them are catastrophic – to agriculture, housing, healthcare, and all facets of our life,” said McMahon. “We must take bold action now.”
She pointed out that this “is not a partisan issue” and urged her colleagues in the Ontario legislature to come together to ensure they are doing whatever is necessary to combat today’s climate crisis as well as to prepare the provincial government for future emergencies.
According to her statement, the motion proposes that the all-party committee consist of seven members. Four from the Progressive Conservative Party–one of whom will serve as chair for the committee; one member from the New Democratic Party; one member from her own Liberal Party (which is expected to be herself) and a member from the Green Party. This strategy aims to ensure a united front in the battle against climate change while also reflecting the percentage of the number of seats held by each party in the Ontario legislature.
Following a decision at Queen’s Park on the motion, McMahon said the committee is expected to “hold public hearings, write a report at the call of the chair, and table a report within six months of it being established”.
“I truly hope that the government understands the importance of this proposed motion and the part it can play in keeping Ontarians safe,” said McMahon.
“I’m asking the government to table this motion themselves once the house is sitting again and show the province that they are willing to work together to build a better future.”
Members of Provincial Parliament return to Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
McMahon said she will discuss the proposal at the next meeting with the hopes of gaining the full support of Premier Doug Ford’s ruling Progressive Conservative government.
“I just think that they might want to lead on it,” said McMahon. “And, let’s be honest, if it comes from the government, it has a better chance of being passed.”
In the case that the motion is denied, although this would make the process more difficult, she has pledged to table it independently as she continues in her quest towards contributing to a greener environment.
McMahon returned to politics earlier this year after a four-year break following eight years as Toronto Councillor for the former Ward 32 Beaches-East York.
She identified climate action as the catalyst for her decision to run for the MPP seat in Beaches-East York in the June 2022 provincial election.
“I just want to build a resilient Ontario and I really want to focus on climate adaptation and emergency preparedness,” she said.
Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.