The Premier’s Tone May Change but his Conservative Party’s War on our Environment Rages On
A Commentary by Doug Draper, professional journalist, veteran environment writer, and publisher of Niagara At Large
Posted October 28th, 2019
After almost half a year of shutting Ontario’s legislature down, Premier Doug Ford has re-opened its doors today with a promise to strike a “new,” less nasty tone.
What does that mean? Are Ford and his 75 Tory Party minions going to do less yelling and desk pounding when they are pressed to answer for themselves during question period?
No amount of playing up the nice is going to mask the havoc this Ford government has been wreaking, and is continuing to wreak on common sense services across this province, including programs for protecting our environment and addressing the existential climate catastrophe younger generations will face if climate deniers and laggards who make up and support this government have their way.
Ford may try to change the tone (and let’s set our watches and see how long that lasts), but just four days before this October 28th when the legislature was re-convened, and three days after a federal election in which a majority of voters across Ontario and Canada cast their ballot for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and other parties in favour of placing a price on climate changing carbon pollution, the premier has already vowed to double down on a Supreme Court challenge against what his government chooses to cast, in a more negative light, as a “carbon tax.”
Ford is vowing to move this time and money-wasting court case ahead even though the federal government has repeated over and over again that most people will receive a rebate that makes up for any extra they spend at the pump.
“I ran on making life more affordable for people,” he told reporters this past October 24th, to justify his decision to follow through on an estimated $30-million legal and p.r. fight against federally implemented carbon pricing measures Ford and company see as an important pocketbook issues for members of their base, including suburbanites who commute back and forth to work by truck or car.
Yet, before the October 21st federal election, when federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer needed far more than members of Ford’s base to win enough seats in Ontario, and also needed Ford to tone his usual bluster down (if not remain completely silent), the premier suggested that he might scrap his campaign against carbon pricing if the Trudeau Liberals were returned to government.
“Once the people decide, I believe in democracy, I respect democracy, we move on. The people will have the opportunity, not the court,” he declared a few weeks before the federal election race got officially underway in September.
So much for that.
Ford continues forward with this costly, anti-environment fight against carbon pricing, which his government has already lost in the lower courts, and he continues to move forward with so many other measures that will please at least some of his big business donors but may destroy more of our natural heritage and related life-support systems forever for our children.
They include such ‘To-Hell-With-Mother-Earth’ moves as weakening planning rules to allow more low-density sprawl in our countrysides, completely closing the office of Ontario’s independent environmental watchdog, weakening the province’s endangered species legislation and deconstructing a Green Energy Act meant to encourage a shift to more renewable forms of energy and greener transportation.
If and when Ford and his Conservatives succeed in cutting and gutting our province’s environmental safeguards, the majority of Ontarians, including younger generations, who did not vote for this war on our environment and our future, will curse them.
The majority of us who live to suffer the consequences will curse these anti-environment Conservatives for all time for what they have done.
And we won’t give a damn what tone they struck while they were doing it.
When it comes to anything to do with protecting what is left of Ontario’s natural heritage and life-support systems for wildlife and present and future generations of people, this Ford government is almost completely tone deaf. – Doug Draper
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