Mr. Speaker, it is long past time for the government to start cleaning up the air in my community of Hamilton.
Just a week ago, residents of the beach strip in my riding observed a tall column of black coming their way from across the harbour. This was no tornado. Residents observed this black cloud form and grow as it passed over the coal piles of Stelco and Dofasco.
Soot fallout is so regular in the north end of Hamilton that residents are trying everything from access to information requests to find out what is being done to pursuing legal action to clean up the air.
Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour needs $90 million to clean it up, but in the last budget it received a mere $11 million of the toxic sediment cleanup fund.
It is estimated that poor air quality in Hamilton causes 300 deaths a year. Hoping that air quality concerns will just blow away is costing the Conservative government hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs each and every year, not to mention the environmental impact.
Whether natural or man-made, whether local, regional or international in cause, it is time for the government to step up, work with all parties and all stakeholders, roll up its sleeves, take out its pocketbook and clean up Hamilton Harbour.