Your Lack of Interest in Responding to Concerned Citizens

Your Lack of Interest in Responding to Concerned Citizens
Posted on April 30, 2014 | Joe Wallach | Written on April 30, 2014
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Letter type:
Personal

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

The person to whom this letter is being written is the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch of MOE. In replying to serious letters germane to the proposed landfill in eastern Ottawa she or her sometime replacement just send the same message over and over again. This letter makes that point.

Agatha Garcia-Wright    
Environmental Approvals Branch
Ministry of the Environment
2 St. Clair Avenue West        
Floor 12A
Toronto ON M4V 1L5

 

SUBJECT: Your Lack of Interest in Doing the Right Thing

Ms. Garcia-Wright:

I must tell you how much I “admire” your tireless attempt to convince the people who are concerned about different aspects of the proposed Taggart-Miller landfill in eastern Ottawa that you are dispensing good advice, even though your replies have almost nothing to do with what is written to you or to the Minister. Because you love repetition so much, as expressed in your telling me that you are pleased to reply on behalf of the minister and in your incisively “good” advice about bringing my concerns directly to the proponent I feel that I should accord you the respect that you so richly deserve by replying in kind:

Your letter of August 9, 2012 to the Vars Community Association:

“I appreciate your efforts to keep the ministry informed about your concerns with the TMES proposal. At this stage of the EA process, the community should continue to share your concerns about the proposal directly with TMES” .

Ian Parrott, who was acting on your behalf as the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch wrote in a letter dated May 2, 2013 to the Ottawa Chapter of the Council of Canadians:

“I appreciate your efforts to keep the ministry informed about your concerns with the TMES CRRRC proposal. At this stage of the EA process, I would encourage your continued participation in the EA process, and urge you to share your concerns about the proposal directly with TMES.”

Your letter of October 4, 2013:

“I appreciate your efforts to keep the ministry informed about your concerns with the TMES CRRRC proposal. At this stage of the EA process, I would encourage your continued participation in the EA process, and urge you to share your concerns about the proposal directly with TMES.”

Ian Parrott, who was, again, acting on your behalf as the Director of the Environmental Approvals Branch wrote in a letter dated November 12, 2013 to another member of the community:

“I appreciate your efforts to keep the ministry informed about your concerns with the TMES CRRRC proposal. At this stage of the EA process, I would encourage your continued participation, and urge you to share your concerns about the proposal directly with TMES.”

Your letter of April 4, 2014:

“I appreciate your efforts to inform the ministry about your concerns with the TMES CRRRC proposal. At this stage of the EA process, I would encourage your continued participation, and urge you to share your concerns about the proposal directly with TMES.”

There are more such letters and each, including those cited above, contains more repetitive advice, but this is simply to illustrate the banality of your replies. They are meaningless.

Imagine that you overheard three people discussing their plans to rob a bank. You took that information to the Police Chief who thanked you for your concern and advised you to bring your concern directly to the planning perpetrators. If that does not seem to make sense to you, neither do the replies from you or your acting director. In fact, they make it abundantly clear that you simply DO NOT CARE.

At the very least, the absolutely VERY LEAST, you owe the person who writes to you a reply in which you address, honestly, the specific points made in each letter. Instead you, or your replacement, reach for the boilerplate. That does not inspire any confidence in the part of MOE that deals with landfills. Its painful to continue to have to pay your salary and yet not seem to be able to hold you accountable.

Sincerely,
 
Joe Wallach

 

About The Author

I have trained as a geologist and worked for the federal nuclear regulatory agency, formerly named the Atomic Energy Control Board