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Former Corner Brook councillor says it’s time for the province to implement ban on single-use plastic bags

Cormier - The Western Star

Keith Cormier said it’s going to take more than municipal will to have a ban on single-use plastic bags implemented in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The former Corner Brook councillor and longtime advocate of banning plastic bags said it’s going to take the province to step up and make it a reality.

Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) passed a resolution at a meeting in Corner Brook on Nov. 4 in favour of a plastic bag ban. Earlier this week the St. John’s city council passed a motion in support of that resolution.

And Cormier said “hats off” to both organizations for doing so.

“It keeps it on the agenda. It keeps it in the front of mind.”

But the recent MNL resolution is not the first the group has passed, and even with the repeated lobbying the province hasn’t acted.

At the MNL meeting, Cormier said, Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce was quoted as saying the door is always open and the group’s voice will always be heard.

So Cormier said it’s time to live up to that and take the request of MNL, which represents 89 per cent of the province’s population, under advisement and implement a ban.

Cormier said the province’s action is needed because the municipalities don’t have the power to do so alone.

If Corner Brook were to introduce a ban it would have to be voluntary, and there is no guarantee municipalities around it would follow suit, Cormier said, and it would hold no real consequence for those who don’t comply.

“The province hasn’t given the City of Corner Brook the enforcement piece to enforce the ban,” he said.

He said the leadership is there from the municipal side and now he’s looking for it from the province.

“This is an important piece for our children and our grandchildren, that we don’t leave this plastic mess for them to clean up.”

He said there is no doubt it will have to be cleaned up.

“It’s not if, it’s when.”

And he’d like the city’s new council to take the same leadership role as St. John’s and support the MNL resolution.

“Just to have it on the record.”
But Mayor Jim Parsons said city council doesn’t have plans to put the issue on its agenda right now.

Parsons said the issue is an important one, but the new council has been busy with other things.

“We’ve been consumed with the budget for the last little while and some of the pressing infrastructure concerns and things that we have to deal with in the next year,” said Parsons.

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