Gord Miller (environmental commissioner)

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Gord Miller
Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, 2011.jpg
Environmental Commissioner of Ontario
In office
February 1, 2000 – May 18, 2015
Preceded by Ivy Wile (interim)
Succeeded by Dianne Saxe
Personal details
Born (1953-03-27) March 27, 1953 (age 64)
Alma mater University of Guelph

Gord Miller (born March 27, 1953) was the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Canada from February 1, 2000 to May 18, 2015. He was appointed to a five-year term in 2000 and was reappointed to this position in 2005 and 2010 for two consecutive five-year terms.[1]

Environment Commissioner 2000–2015[edit]

As environment commissioner, Miller issued strongly-worded reports annually, calling the province to account on its environmental commitments. Starting in 2008, he added special reports on greenhouse gas emissions and energy conservation.[2]

Miller did not shy away from direct criticism of government decisions and longstanding abuses in law. An early example was his direct condemnation of SLAPP lawsuits for their negative effect on public advocacy. Miller's reports very strongly supported "environmental activists" who argued "the practice is widespread in the development industry and used to pacify activists and environmentalists"[3] [6] , that is, silence them with fear of civil liability. Ontario passed an anti-SLAPP law in 2010.

In 2013 Miller called to public attention the fact that Ontario’s cabinet had allocated to itself, in the 2012 budget, the power to turn over public land to the exclusive control of private, multinational corporations. In a formal report Miller said that this, combined with cuts to staff and programs at Ministries of Natural Resources and the Environment , all "quietly and without public consultation", led to a situation with "no rules". Other actions were, Miller said, “gutting” protections for species at risk and that it was time for hydraulic fracturing regulation. [7]

In 2014 Miller warned that Ontario had done "very little" other than closing coal plants to meet its 2020 emissions targets, and had failed to build transit and other efficient infrastructure. [8]

2015 federal candidacy[edit]

On May 19, 2015, Miller sought the Green Party of Canada nomination for the seat of Guelph in the upcoming Canadian federal election,[4] and on June 8, 2015, he was selected to run.[5][6] He had gone to university there in 1977-79 and helped found the Ontario Public Interest Research Group in Guelph.[7]

Miller had also previously run for provincial Progressive Conservatives in 1995 and in 1997 for Jean Charest's federal Progressive Conservatives. He said the 2015 Conservative Party of Canada "is not like and doesn't represent the points of view" of those parties:[7] "We thought we were uniting the right, instead we united the wrong".[7]

Guelph had lost its incumbent MP and was the riding most provably affected by the 2011 Canadian federal election voter suppression scandal, as the "robocalls" originated from a Guelph bulk phone service provider and "an IP address belonging to the Conservative campaign in Guelph"[8] for which Michael Sona was subsequently convicted of electoral fraud. In July 2015 local voters called to re-open the investigation[9] as the judge in Sona's case ruled he "did not act alone".

Miller was considered a star candidate by local media. From his first public appearance he sharply criticized all the other parties for "committing to pursuing an economy based on bitumen from Alberta that we'll never be able to extract", echoing former Bank of Canada head Mark Carney's formal raising of this issue at the Financial Stability Board and Bank of England in 2014.[10][11] Miller also accused the government of "silencing" scientists and called Bill C-51 "a terrible piece of legislation."[12]

Appointment controversy[edit]

Miller's sharp turn on the Harper government ended a longstanding controversy. Due to his two prior candidacies, Miller's initial appointment raised the perception by the NDP and Liberal caucuses that he was a Conservative partisan. Opposition parties at Queen's Park accused the Harris government of using its majority to name a Conservative as Ontario's environment commissioner. Miller was, in addition to a former federal and provincial PC candidate, the current president of the federal Conservative riding association in Nipissing, home riding of then-Premier Mike Harris.[13] Miller was subsequently re-appointed twice by two successive parliaments headed by Liberal governments,[1] whom he sharply criticized.

Prior career[edit]

Before his appointment, he worked for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for 14 years as a scientist, manager of training and development, and as a district manager.[14] He also helped to set up the advocacy organization Ontario Public Interest Group Guelph.[15]

Education[edit]

Miller received an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1976 and a Master of Science degree in Plant ecology in 1978, both from the University of Guelph.[16]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Lloyd Longfield 34,303 49.1 +5.73
Conservative Gloria Kovach 18,407 26.4 -6.25
New Democratic Andrew Seagram 8,372 12.0 -4.68
Green Gord Miller 7,909 11.3 +5.01
Libertarian Alex Fekri 520 0.7 +0.38
Marijuana Kornelis Klevering 193 0.3 +0.01
Communist Tristan Dineen 144 0.2 +0.03
Total valid votes/Expense limit 100.0%     $238,871.52
Total rejected ballots
Turnout 69,848 72.94%
Eligible voters 95,761
Source: Elections Canada[17][18]
Canadian federal election, 1997
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Bob Wood 19,786
Reform Laurie Kidd 7,390
Progressive Conservative Gord Miller 5,666
New Democratic Art Campbell 2,280
Source: "Thirty-sixth General Election 1997: Official Voting Results: Synopsis". Elections Canada. 
Ontario general election, 1995: Cochrane South
Party Candidate Votes % ±
New Democratic Gilles Bisson 12,114 52.44%
Progressive Conservative Gord Miller 6,587 28.51%
Liberal Jim Brown 4,958 17.56%
Independent Joel Vien 339 1.46%
Source: "Summary of Valid Votes by Candidate". Elections Ontario. [permanent dead link]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]