In defence of our community and our council

Response to Chris Pidgeon, GSP and Xinyi

January 15, 2021

A statement from Wise Communities founder Loreena McKennitt, in response to January 15 remarks to the media from GSP Group’s Chris Pidgeon.


Summary of Xinyi Glass Factory Issue

Chapter One - December 15, 2020

At the core of this story is a proposed float glass factory by a Chinese company called Xinyi. It would be situated on the outskirts of the bucolic city of Stratford, Ontario, renowned for its famous Stratford Festival.

The scale of this plant is unlike anything Stratford’s manufacturing community has ever seen. There are many controversial aspects to this plan, including massive water consumption required to cool the glass, a 10-storey chimney which would emit gases for a long distance, and a possible live-in dormitory on site. It would entail the paving over of prime agricultural farmland and require the City of Stratford to agree to Xinyi’s proposed $5.8 million cost- sharing agreement. And then there are the thornier issues related to the decline of Canada -China relations.


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The Latest


Decision on controversial Stratford glass plant delayed by lockdown, city says

Glass Plant

January 14, 2021 - Chris Montanini - The Beacon Herald

A controversial proposal to build a $400 million glass plant in southwest Stratford is still on hold, for now.


The City of Stratford

"UPDATE (Jan. 13, 2021):

The City of Stratford continues to receive feedback on the proposed development and cost sharing agreement with Xinyi Canada Glass Limited.

However, given the ongoing Provincial lockdown and subsequent Provincial emergency stay-at-home order, City Council will not be making a decision on the proposal at this time. The focus on the health and safety of our citizens is our top priority.

The City will provide appropriate notice to the public when the matter is being brought forward."


Rally #6

With the provincewide shutdown and the limitations to outdoor organized public events, Wise Communities Stratford presented Rally #6 virtually. It was live-streamed from Stratford's Market Square with host Loreena McKennitt (Wise Communities), Mike Sullivan (Get Concerned Stratford), Anne Carbert (Climate Momentum) and youth speaker Effie Honeywell.


Get Concerned Stratford

Community Meeting - January 7

January 9, 2020 - Get Concerned Stratford

"Hear updates from the Get Concerned team, an enlightening presentation by lawyer David Donnelly, comments from the Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson, and different actions you can take to ensure Town Council says No to Xinyi and the MZO!"⤵️


Loreena McKennitt Rally #5 Remarks

Dec. 21, 2020 - Loreena McKennitt


Former First Nations chief speak out against proposed glass factory

Dec. 21, 2020 - The Beacon Herald - Galen Simmons

Leslee White-Eye, a former chief of the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, and Perth County Federation of Agriculture vice president Sara Wood spoke at a rally behind city hall Monday against the proposed $400-million float-glass manufacturing facility.


Get Concerned Stratford

Community Meeting - December 16

Dec 18, 2020 - Get Concerned Stratford

Hear the latest updates from Get Concerned Stratford's No Xinyi, No MZO campaign, including the Stratford poll results, air quality information, and a presentation contextualizing the use of MZOs province-wide. ⤵️


Stratford activist group alleges Chinese glass maker Xinyi is national security threat

Dec 15, 2020 - CBC News - Colin Butler

A Stratford, Ont., citizens' group is demanding the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology conduct a review of glassmaker Xinyi Canada, alleging the Chinese-owned company behind a proposal to build a float glass factory in the community is a threat to national security.


Loreena McKennitt
Rally #4 Remarks

Dec 14, 2020 - Loreena McKennitt


VIA Press Progress (

‘I wish I could say it’s my idea, but it was their idea as well,’ Ford told Ontario PC gathering


David Crombie's address at Wise Communities Rally #4

December 14, 2020

via telephone from Toronto, Ontario


open letter

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

DEC 14, 2020 - Mr. Patrick O’Rourke and Ms. Loreena McKennitt

It outlines concerns over a proposed foreign company setting up operation in the City of Stratford, who are quickly working their way through the process, with little or no oversight.  The company Xinyi, may be in conflict with the Investment Canada Act. Further, it appears that many aspects of the company could contravene the national security of Canada.


As angry protests continue over Chinese glass factory, Stratford's mayor voices his regrets

DEC 8, 2020 - Colin Butler · CBC News


Stratford has complete authority to deny Xinyi proposal

DEC 3, 2020 - David Donnelly (via Get Concerned Stratford)

It is the ’unequivocal opinion’ of environmental lawyer David Donnelly that ”Stratford Council has the complete authority without legal liability to deny Xinyi’s proposal for a $6 million cost sharing agreement.” Donnelly, one of Canada’s leading environmental lawyers, stated this in a letter to Mayor Dan Mathieson and Stratford Council on behalf of Wellington Water Watchers and a number of citizens of the City of Stratford.


Stratford musician pushes for answers about glass factory discussion

NOV 27, 2020 - Chris Montanini - The Beacon Herald 

A controversial proposal to build a float glass manufacturing facility in southwest Stratford continued to raise concerns from residents this week, including prominent Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt and local lawyer Paul Parlee.


Restrictive zoning order ties Stratford's hands: Mathieson

NOV 23, 2020 - Chris Montanini - The Beacon Herald

Minister's Zoning Order limits permitted uses of Stratford site to glass manufacturing

see below Letters


Loreena McKennitt
Speeches & Remarks

Rally #6 Remarks (PDF)

Jan 11, 2021

Rally #5 Remarks (PDF)

Dec 21, 2020

Rally #4 Remarks (PDF)

Dec 14, 2020

Rally #3 Remarks (PDF)

Dec 7, 2020

Rally #2 Remarks (PDF)

Nov 30, 2020

Rally #1 Remarks (PDF)

Nov 23, 2020

Hope Needs Trust (Video)

Nov 22, 2020

Loreena McKennitt CM, OM, CD

is a member of The Order of Canada and Order of Manitoba, She is The Honorary Colonel of The Royal Canadian Air Force and the Director of The Falstaff Family Centre in Stratford.


Stratford Mayor
to The Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Correspondence between Stratford Mayor and The Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing from 2018 to 2020, as uncovered by The Beacon Herald in their November 23, 2020 article above.

November 20, 2018

Stratford Mayor to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing requesting an MZO. The letter states that the City of Stratford, County of Perth and Township of Perth South, has secured an agreement in principle with Xinyi Glass Canada to build that company’s first manufacturing facility in North America.

March 11, 2020

The letter informs the Minister that the City of Stratford and two municipalities have approved the proposed annexation of lands from Perth South into the City of Stratford. The letter from the Mayor informs the Minister that the requested MZO is “critical in order to meet key construction deadlines, as Xinyi expects to break ground in Spring 2020”.

April 16, 2020

It is clear that the MZO requested by the Mayor in his November 20, 2018 and March 11, 2020 letters were denied. This letter is an appeal from the Mayor, requesting the Minister to reconsider the position taken to refuse the issuance of a MZO. This letter requests a MZO specifically and solely for the lands proposed to be used by Xinyi to construct and operate its glass manufacturing plant [111.17 hectares of 130 hectares annexed].




The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

An open letter from Mr. Patrick O’Rourke and Ms. Loreena McKennitt

December 14, 2020

The Minority is Often Vocal, But it is Often Right

Tori Sutton - An Open Letter to Stratford City Council Re: Xinyi Glass Holdings

December 12, 2020

It is our unequivocal opinion that Stratford Council has the complete authority without legal liability to deny Xinyi’s proposal for a $6 million Cost Sharing Agreement
Get Concerned Stratford: Environmental lawyer David Donnelly has written a letter to City Council

December 3, 2020

Stratford musician pushes for answers about glass factory discussion

Loreena McKennitt and former City Solicitor Paul Parlee write to Stratford Mayor and Council

November 26, 2020

Former City Solicitor Paul Parlee writes to Stratford Mayor and Council

November 23, 2020

Perth-Wellington MP John Nater writes Stratford Mayor, Council and Constituents

November 16, 2020

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture writes to Minister Clark regarding Stratford and Perth MZO

August 10, 2020


What is an MZO?

A Minister's Zoning Order (MZO) is part of Ontario's Planning Act and allows the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to make a ruling on how a piece of land is to be used in the province, with no public consultation required and only amended or revoked at the minister's discretion. speaks with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark

July 10, 2020

Excerpt: "For now, we’re quite happy with the dozen or so I’ve done, that have been driven by a local council decision in a public council meeting before it comes to my desk. That makes sure the public is aware there is a request, it communicates there is a priority of a council, and then it’s up to us to decide whether we want to move forward."


MZOs In The News

November 29, 2020

Once again, the Ford government is putting developers ahead of Ontario’s environment


November 25, 2020
Why is Ontario letting developers do what they want to the environment?


November 23, 2020
Restrictive zoning order ties Stratford's hands: Mathieson


November 21, 2020

MZO 'a weapon of mass destruction in the planning world,' critics say


November 4, 2020
Greenbelt adviser quits over fast-tracking of Durham wetlands development by Doug Ford’s government


October 20, 2020

Save the Duffins Creek Wetland


August 28, 2020

You may have never heard of a Minister’s Zoning Order and that used to be ok – but not anymore


August 10, 2020
Letter to Minister Clark


Take Action


The local community group Get Concerned Stratford has created an online petition which we invite you to sign and share with friends and family. READ MORE / SIGN



Stratford Mayor and Council

Mayor Dan Mathieson

519-271-0250 x5234

Councillor Brad Beatty

519-271-0250 x5245

Councillor Graham Bunting

519-271-0250 x5363

Councillor Jo-Dee Burbach

519-271-0250 x5428

Councillor Tom Clifford

519-271-0250 x5421

Councillor David Gaffney

519-271-0250 x5427

Councillor Bonnie Henderson

519-271-0250 x5420

Councillor Danielle Ingram

519-271-0250 x5424

Councillor Martin Ritsma

519-271-0250 x5422

Councillor Cody Sebben

519-271-0250 x5426

Councillor Kathy Vassilakos

519-271-0250 x5423


Hon. John Nater

Peth-Wellington MP


Hon. Randy Pettapiece

Perth-Wellington MPP



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