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Walker says Bill is a step toward restoring local powers

May 4, 2012 — Media Release

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says he was pleased to support a bill about requiring municipal referendums on casino development, introduced by his colleague and MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, Monte McNaughton.

The bill, entitled “Ensuring Local Voices in New Casino Gambling Development Act,” passed second reading today at Queen’s Park and was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

The bill, which requires a successful municipal referendum prior to any new casino development, received support from the Ontario PC caucus and the NDP.

“This is about standing up for local communities and ensuring that councils are able to take steps in protecting their community and residents. It’s a step toward restoring local powers that have deteriorated under the Liberal government,” Walker said in reference to decision-making powers that were taken away from municipalities when the Green Energy Act (GEA) was passed in 2009.

Walker said the McNaughton’s bill has gained wide support since its introduction on April 26, including Wellington Warden Chris White, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, North Middlesex Mayor Don Shipway and other local leaders.

“Our position remains that local communities and residents are best suited to make decisions and that local decision-making powers should be protected and honoured. It’s a shame the Liberals will not consider the GEA and thus respect democracy and the will of the local people in relation to that Act,” said Walker.

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