Holland River Chris Luna

Confused, Ontario? We’re here to help

Recent announcements by the Ford government have left many wondering what exactly is happening to Ontario’s environmental protections. Reporters Fatima Syed and Emma McIntosh are making sense of it all

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Aerial view of Holland Marsh north of Toronto
“What am I missing? Why is this happening?”

“You know, I’m really asking myself the same question.”

It’s been a confusing year few weeks in Ontario. And that exchange between CBC Radio Here and Now host Gill Deacon and Narwhal reporter Emma McIntosh just about sums up the chaos.

Deacon was trying to make sense of Doug Ford’s plan to build homes on Greenbelt land in southern Ontario — a decision that breaks the premier’s promise to keep the critically important protected area intact. So, like an increasing number of Ontarians, Deacon turned to The Narwhal for answers.

“I’ve asked the government to show its work and to show the evidence it has that this is both needed and good for the environment and that it will actually work,” Emma said. “So far, they haven’t given any of that work over to the public.”

There are plenty of things the Ford government isn’t sharing as it skewers long-standing environmental measures in the name of housing. Thankfully, because of the support of our members, Emma and fellow Ontario reporter Fatima Syed have been able to work around the clock to uncover those details and share them with all of you.
Photo of Fatima Syed and Emma McIntosh in the woods wearing toques with a logo of The Narwhal
Here’s a snapshot of what the two have uncovered: a massive gutting of conservation authorities that protect vital flood-mitigating watersheds; ignored warnings from public servants about risks to parks, farms, Indigenous territories and more; and plans by the government to limit Ontarians’ ability to appeal development decisions while letting developers call playgrounds built on top of garages “parks.” 

And if that wasn’t enough, we also brought you the news about significant damage done to a protected wetland — a wetland that was supposed to be protected from development.

Fatima and Emma broke these stories through hard-nosed reporting, including poring over pages and pages of documents leaked by sources who trust them, and The Narwhal, to clearly and fairly explain what’s at stake.

This public interest reporting is more vital now than ever. Nobody is reporting on Ontario’s environment like Emma and Fatima — and that’s because they have the time and resources to get the story right. And judging by the tens of thousands of you reading these stories, their work is as important to you as it is to us. 

But investigative reporting isn’t free. The Narwhal’s business model only works because thousands of people like you donate whatever they can afford. If you believe in what we do, now is the time to chip in to ensure we can keep our journalism free for all to read. It would make a world of a difference as we continue to bring you scoops from Ontario and beyond.

Take care and don’t turn parks into parking garages,

Arik Ligeti
Director of audience

P.S. You can become a member for the price of a coffee a month. Will you consider joining our pod today to support non-profit, independent journalism?
Tweet from Jordan Heath-Rawlings: I'm super stoked we could make this happen. One of the things we heard in the listener survey is that there's not enough in-depth climate and environment coverage in Canada.  NOBODY does that better than  @thenarwhalca . (And it's a joy to get  @fatimabsyed  back for a week, too!)

The Narwhal 🤝 The Big Story

If you’re still feeling a little lost in the Ontario chaos, which is totally normal and fine, Emma and Fatima will talk you through it on-air, again! 

Our friends at The Big Story podcast have invited us to share some of the most important stories The Narwhal has covered all year. From Nov. 14 to 18, Fatima will be taking over hosting duties to chat with an all-star cast of Narwhal reporters about all things environment — from flood-prone communities to Indigenous-led conservation efforts

“I’m so excited to share our national coverage on the climate emergency we do on a daily basis with The Big Story’s audience,” Fatima says. 

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this. Go here to add the show to your favourite podcast app, or check out this page where we’ll be posting fresh episodes every day next week.


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