Skip to main content

Letter to the Editor re: Pandemic has proved we don’t need red tape, Toronto Star, June 19, 2021

Below is the text of my original letter to the Toronto Star in response to Jamie Watt's June 13, 2021 column. The text was heavily edited in the version printed in the Star.

June 13, 2021
The Editors
The Toronto Star
Dear Sir/Madam,
Jamie Watt's column today ("Pandemic has provided we don't need red tape") is stunning in its failure to grasp the concept that the fundamental purposes of regulatory regimes in areas like public health, safety and the environment are preventative - they are designed to head off disasters before they happen. The consequences of their dismantling, as Mr. Watt so proudly highlights Doug Ford's government has done, may not be immediately visible. Rather the effects may be felt years down the road. The consequences of the changes to the drinking water oversight regime made at the height of Mike Harris's 'common sense revolution' were not evident until five years later in the Walkerton disaster. Both the catastrophe that struck Ontario's long-term care facilities through COVID-19, and indeed the front-page article in the very same edition of the Toronto Star as Mr. Watt's column, regarding the failure to contain a COVID-19 outbreak at a mine site in Nunavut ("How outbreak at Nunavut mine send 'sparks' flying across Canada"), make it clear that we needed stronger regulatory regimes to protect the public from threats like COVID-19, not the remnants of regulatory regimes left after the Ford government's brutal, lobbyist-driven ax work. Ontarians are likely to suffer the consequences of that which Mr. Watt celebrates for decades to come in the form of a less safe and healthy, and more polluted, province.
Yours sincerely,

Mark S. Winfield, Ph.D.

Senator, York University Senate

2020-21 York-Massey Visiting Scholar

Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative
Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change
York University
Toronto, Ontario

Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Dish with One Spoon Wampum