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Abstract

Critical analysis of the Ontario government’s Lands for Life public consultation process uncovers the myriad ways in which the government put forward an economistic construct of Crown land, privileging industrial interests over all others. By reflecting on how this process went awry, future consultation processes might be further democratized, such that they would stand up to ethical scrutiny. This paper details several prescriptive suggestions and reflections as constructive input towards democratizing future land use planning processes. Specifically, it addresses a number of considerations that might be taken into account when posing the following questions: Who should consult the public? Who should be consulted? What should they be asked? And how should they be asked? Moving along the continuum towards greater inclusivity of marginalized social actors, representing a broader range interests, and mitigating power differentials ensures at the very least a more robust and deliberative democracy. This analysis challenges the entrenched government-industry collusion that has now become so prevalent, and explores how practices of ecological citizenship can be either promoted or constrained by the state.

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