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Opening comments:  More at the end.

    It is always interesting to read how different news papers can cover the same story and present the FACTS in very different ways.
By doing so the reader is left with a different understanding as to how serious the issue is.
In this case the Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller makes very serious statements as to the unlawfulness of the Ontario Realty Corp. way of doing business and because they are not quoted by the media, the public is largely in the dark about something they should not only care about but be involved in stopping.

    The wording in this News article, by the Sun, is much stronger than what is found in the Toronto Star article.

The Toronto Sun, pg. 24 - November 2, 2000


The scandal-plagued Ontario Realty Corp. ignored provincial environmental laws when it sold off $200 million worth of public land last year, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller charged yesterday.

"The ORC appears to view government lands as nothing more than garage clutter," Miller said.

Public property on the Oak Ridges Moraine and other environmentally sensitive areas were sold without a proper environmental assessment, he said.


"Provincial law requires the Ontario Realty Corp. to follow a Class Environmental Assessment process that is intended to engage the public in decisions involving the sale of environmentally significant lands," Miller said.

"We found that the Ontario Realty Corp. broadly disregarded this environmental legislation."

Environment Minister Dan Newman promised to investigate the allegation, but ORC president Tony Miele denied his agency had done anything wrong.

"During this reporting period, the corporation has not sold any property that was environmentally sensitive at all," Miele said. "We have complied with all of the requirements."

However, the ORC has failed to file environmental reports with the province since 1997.

Miele also promised to meet with Miller to discuss the watchdog's concerns but failed to do so. Yesterday, he appeared to deny the promise.

He was hired to clean up the agency but instead has been embroiled by controversies, including a probe of staff "kickbacks" and "bid rigging," questions about improprieties over land sales and personal expenses ranging from expensive wine to grilled salmon lunches with municipal officials.

Meanwhile, Miller also harshly criticized the province for failing to protect endangered species, Ontario's groundwater and the Great Lakes ecosystem.

"We cannot continue to convert vast areas of rural land to golf courses, intensive agriculture, highway corridors and urban landscapes," said Miller, whose annual report concludes Ontario's government isn't doing enough to protect the environment.

Instead, a "confused patchwork of ineffectual, outdated laws and policies as well as poor co-ordination between Ontario ministries and other levels of government" are hampering environmental measures.


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