Will Ontario’s PC Leader Change His Mind Again Before Next Breakfast?
Another Commentary on this Doug Ford vs. the Greenbelt mess by Doug Draper
Posted May 1st, 2018 on Niagara At Large
I barely finished posting a commentary this May 1st, critical of Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford for saying he would allow “big chunks” of the province’s Greenbelt to be sold off for “affordable housing,” when Ford and his handlers circulated the following statement –
“This afternoon (Tuesday, May 1st), Doug Ford announced that after consultation with the people of Ontario, an Ontario PC Government would maintain the Greenbelt in its entirety.’
“I looked at it as making sure we have more affordable housing,” said Ford. “There have been a lot of voices saying that they don’t want to touch the Greenbelt. I govern through the people, I don’t govern through government.”
“The people have spoken – we won’t touch the greenbelt. Very simple. That’s it, the people have spoken. I’m going to listen to them, they don’t want me to touch the, we won’t touch the greenbelt. Simple as that.”
The following wording will be included in the upcoming Ontario PC Platform: “Increase the supply of affordable housing across the GTA while protecting the Greenbelt in its entirety.”
Within half an hour after receiving this 3:30 p.m. statement, I had already received about half a dozen emails from people asking; ‘Okay, what are you going to post now? Are you going to put this on too?”
To which I’m thinking; “So what if I post this statement before by the end of the afternoon and he changes his mind again before the sun goes down?”
I’m not trying to be cute when I say that dear readers. It was only about 36 hours before that statement was released that members of the province’s Liberal Party shared a February 2018 video with the media, showing then PC leadership candidate Doug Ford assuring a group of developers that if he becomes Ontario’s next premier, he will allow “big chunks” of the province’s protected Greenbelt lands running through and around Niagara, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area to be sold off for housing.
By the following morning (this Tuesday, May 1st), following widespread public outcry and a flurry of negative media reports, Ford modified his position to he likes the Greenbelt enough to commit to replacing an equal amount somewhere else for every “chunk” that gets paved over.
Then in the afternoon, we are treated to a complete 180 with the statement I recited above, and why? Well, because apparently Ford was “in consultation with the Ontario people” and “that’s it, the people have spoken.”
One wonders how anyone can consult enough with the Ontario people between breakfast and mid-afternoon to make such a dramatic turn as this. Doug Ford must have been an awfully busy man.
One of our NAL readers joked that perhaps we should organize a huge wave of people to consult with Ford about their opposition to an urban development plan for Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, and we’d get a commitment from him to see that this place is left untouched too.
Somehow, though, I doubt that would happen, just as I doubt any pledge Ford makes now that he would leave the Greenbelt untouched if his PC Party wins enough seats in this June’s provincial election to form the next government.
If I had to choose between the positions we’ve been treated to over the 48 hours since this commentary was posted, I’d put my money on the position Ford outlined secretly to members of the development industry in the video he was either not aware of or thought would never be released.
That position sounds a hell of a lot more like the Ontario PCs I have come to know going back to the time, in the 1990s, when Mike Harris led the party to power. And never mind the baloney in Ford’s latest statement about ‘listening to the people.’ That first position – the one in the video – was being pitched to a development industry that has a record of supporting the PC Party the most.
If you want to know what a politician like Ford is going to do, forget all of the populist hogwash. Follow the money.
So I will stand by the commentary I posted on this issue earlier this May 1st, which you can check out for the first or possibly for the second time by clicking on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/05/02/doug-fords-plan-to-open-a-big-chunk-of-our-greenbelt-to-urban-development-should-doom-his-pc-partys-ontario-election-chances-2/ .
For another media outlets take on this issue, click on – https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/05/01/greenbelt-about-face-speaks-volumes-about-doug-ford.html .
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .