There has been a lot of media coverage lately about the Greenbelt and rightly so.
The removal of 7,400 acres of Greenbelt lands to build housing is very troubling when there is already sufficient existing development land currently available to support GTA housing objectives (and that does not require the huge municipal investment in new infrastructure to service these Greenbelt subdivisions).
But what I and many Ontarians find extremely and even more troubling is the corruptness of the process that resulted in a select number of developers (some connected to the Doug Ford conservatives) that benefitted immensely from the release of these lands for development. We have all heard it before, but it is worth repeating – a staggering $8.3 billion.
So, after the Auditor Generals damning report, Steve Clark’s Chief of Staff resigns in an attempt to make this scandal go away. So, what do you believe – were Ford and Clark aware of this corrupt process or are they just plain and simple, incompetent? Keep in mind HOUSING is their number one priority these days - so you would think they would be well aware of what was going on.
The stakes subsequently get raised with the issue of the Integrity Commissioner’s report which indicates among other things that Clark effectively decided to withdraw from the supervision and direction of the highly significant initiative within his ministry. So, what do you believe – incompetence or was he seeking plausible deniability over a process that results in a very shady, questionable, and perhaps an illegal outcome. We will let the RCMP decide if there was corruption.
So, Clark resigns, but the issue just won’t go away for dirty Doug and his team. So, we now have a new Minister of Housing and a minor cabinet shuffle. Are we supposed to have any more confidence in this new team? Are we all idiots? I think that is what they are betting on.
Well Clarks resignation was not enough to quell the outcry. So now there is going to be a full review of the Greenbelt with the suggestion (or tactic) that even more Greenbelt land may be released. Question – do you really believe Ford and his team, the same ones that perpetrated the 7,400-acre Greenbelt release scam, to do a proper and fair review this time around. How does that saying go - fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me? Unbelievable!!!
I also wonder where the senior Ministry of Housing staff were in all of this were. Did no one have the courage to speak out on something as perverse as this? Is there not a proper whistleblower process within our provincial government?
Doug Ford and his team are hoping that a few resignations, a cabinet shell game, a promise of an impartial and fair (ha ha) Greenbelt review, some veiled threats, and some good media spin - that this will finally all go away. Well unless we as voters and taxpayers continue to speak up, to demand accountability, to keep the question of the Ford governments honesty and integrity under investigation, they might be able to sweep this under the carpet. The stakes are high. To permit this type of behaviour to go unchallenged sets the stage for future abuses of power, for continued unethical behaviour and questionable processes and outcomes.
So, speak up! Contact the premier, minister of your MPP. Post your views on social media. Discuss with your family, friends, and colleagues. Attend a rally or online event supporting good government and/or preservation of the Greenbelt. Do what you are comfortable doing to prevent the Ford government from using the “need for housing” to justify their totally unacceptable behaviour.