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LETTER: Greenbelt fiasco 'a gut punch to the taxpayers'

Letter writer calls out premier, local MPPs for roles in 'sketchy deal' to sell off land in the Greenbelt to developers
People rallied at Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop's Orillia office Monday.

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We live in a representative democracy. This means we elect people who, by means of their demonstrated intelligence, integrity, and commitment, will work on our behalf to manage affairs for the betterment of the whole.

We don’t always agree with them, we often pillory them over decisions they support, but we generally accept that they are acting on our behalf. When we see elected officials acting out of greed, favouritism, and outright corruption, it’s a gut punch to the taxpayers.

Recent revelations about how decisions were made within the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing make it clear that backroom dealing, collusion, and grifting have become mode d’emploi for this government. Deals were made that benefit a few friends and contributors — allegedly by a chief of staff and without the knowledge of the minister or the premier.

All the ministers signed off on this sketchy deal — including our own Doug Downey and Jill Dunlop. One must suppose they were also unaware of, or unconcerned about, the backroom deals. Given their degree of communication with constituents, we may never know.

Ministry staff (at the least) and developers, who were poised to pick up land, discussed in advance which parcels would be removed from Greenbelt protection. This is so blatantly illegal within government protocol that it is almost laughable — except the laugh is on blue voters who continue to place blind trust in Progressive Conservative politicians.

Minister Steve Clark says he didn’t know about the discussions until they were posted in the media. Premier Doug Ford says he was not informed. The scapegoat will be the chief of staff and further down the line. The losers will be the people of Ontario and those municipal taxpayers who will be shouldered with the cost of building infrastructure in these rural areas.

But, If you are the head of a corporation (or government) and don’t know that a deal this big is taking place, who is to blame? Either Ford and Clark are lying, grifting, or incompetent. Whichever, it will be interesting to see if conservative voters have the will and the self-respect to call these losers into account. Somehow, I imagine not.

Dennis Rizzo