Doug Ford is committing infrastructure suicide in Ontario
As a resident of Ontario, I share the disbelief and outrage of many of my neighbours at Doug Ford’s ham-fisted style of governing. How this guy ever won with a majority is proof positive of the effects of low voter turnout. We have no one but ourselves to blame.
That said, the latest – and im my view, unforgivable – governance blunder is this Bill 23 “More Homes Built Faster” Act that Doug Ford is ramming down the throats of Ontarians.
At the top of the list of lunacy is this evident fact that Doug Ford actually advised the developers in Ontario who are some ofhis biggest campaign donors that he would be removing land from the Greenbelt and rezoning it for development. The developers – notorious for their utter disdain for nature and conservation – of course starting snapping up the land.
This, besides being a flagrant violation of the Ontario Conflict of Interest Act, could be prosecutable under the criminal code. It certainly demands police and Integrity Commission investigation – and fast. That in and of itself should be enough to cause the cancellation of the removal of the land from the Greenbelt.
But then of course, there is the ecological protection aspect.
Now I know developers as a species are more or less incapable of considering future generations, but let’s help them out here.
- As is widely published, spoken about, and even taught in schools, the preservation of waterways and natural habitat is directly correlated to the quality of drinking water, air and life itself. Removing land from the Greenbelt is to directly reduce these qualitative aspects for current and future generations.
- The removal of farmland in a province whose population is growing rapidly is to diminish the food security of all Ontarians. The correct economic approach should be to protect all arable land from development until food self-sufficiency is reached. Immigration should be regulated by food production capabilities – not by building more homes faster.
- By arbitrarily removing land from the Greenbelt, the Ford government single-handedly causes the speculative price of all rural real estate in Ontario to spike beyond its already inaccessible heights for young would-be home owners. Developers will now circle round and drool over any patch of farmland – Greenbelt or not – knowing that Doug Ford is corrupt and dumb enough to be coerced into removing it from any protections.
Doug Ford is apparently ignorant of the fact that farmland is infrastructure, and arguably far more important than highways and condos. If we stand idly by and let this historic travesty of democracy and law pass, then we all become complicit in the reduced quality of life our children have to look forward to.
Is that something we can wear to our graves? I can’t.
What Can We Do to Stop Them?
The Conflict of Interest Rules in Ontario that govern the conduct of elected officials is outlined in Ontario Regulation 381/07. The regulation is administered by the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario.
I wrote an email to them as follows: (Feel free to cut and paste and send your own version to [email protected])
As a private citizen of Ontario, I am writing to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner to report a violation of the Conflict of Interest rules by Doug Ford and/or members of his government or his/their affiliates, associates or family members.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and/or members of his staff, and/or individuals with direct relationships with any of the foregoing, did, or is/are likely to have, advised and disclosed to the 6 Developers who bought farmland within the Greenbelt of Ontario that Doug Ford proposes to now remove from that protection, prior to, and confidentially, that this change was going to be made by the Ford government imminently.
The evidence pointing to the violation is currently only circumstantial, as, for example, it was revealed by the Toronto Star et al that the De Gasperis family’s TACC group borrowed $100 million from CIBC at a reported interest rate of 21 percent to buy a parcel of lands which, at the time of the loan and purchase, were still within the Greenbelt.
Such a high interest loan would only be contemplated by a sophisticated business group such as TACC if they knew in advance that Doug Ford was going to remove that parcel from the Greenbelt.
It could likely be determined by your office in its official capacity, whether or not such was indeed the case, and as I’m sure you agree, the circumstances warrant just such an investigation.
Furthermore, if it is determined that there were any exchanges of value among the Development Group or any member of the Ford government or their friends and relatives, or promises of such an exchange, then the matter should also be referred to the appropriate police agency for criminal investigation.
James R. West
The response I received advised that investigations by the OICO could only be initiated by sitting MPP’s. So I wrote to my MPP more or less verbatim what I wrote above. I think its important for all Ontarians to write to both the Integrity Commissioner and their MPP so that all are aware of just how important this outstanding issue is to Canadians.
And if Doug Ford is willing to sell out to developers (watch his resume for the payoff once he leaves office) this early in his second term, what other damage will he do to the future of Ontario?
The Bill 23 Act is so chock full of instances where democracy is trampled that its positively outrageous. Doug For d is basically anointing himself Ontario dictator, and if nothing is done, only developers will be cheering. Let’s get it together Ontario. This is government overreach that is a bald faced power and land grab.
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