A National Observer/Torstar Investigative Story Takes a Deep Dive into Ford’s Willingness to Sell Off Ontario’s Natural Heritage to Greedy Developers
Thanks to Ford and his Friends in Ontario’s Money-Grubbing, Morally Bankrupt Development Industry, Countless Thousands of Acres of Our Province’s Food-Growing Lands Could Be ‘Open for the Wrong Kind of Business’
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted April 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Even before Doug Ford won enough seats in the June 2018 Ontario election to form a government, Niagara At Large posted commentary warning that a vote for Ford and his Tories represents nothing less than a vote against protecting and preserving what is left of our province’s precious natural heritage for present and future generations.
Indeed, this Niagara At Large publisher and veteran environment reporter went so far as to colour Ford and his fellow travelers as an existential threat to our waters, to our air, to our wetlands, woodlands, to food-growing lands and to all other natural resources that are absolutely essential to our health, and to the overall health and prosperity of the communities we live in.
Yes indeed, the warning signs were there, even back then, with klieg lights on them, and for anyone to read if they cared to.
Ford and his climate-denying Tories were already threatening to oppose any move by the federal government or others to place a price on climate-ravaging carbon emissions, and they and their spin doctors were already peddling this snake oil that we have to make a choice between protecting natural spaces and ‘opening Ontario for business.’
Then there is the infamous video of Doug Ford, a few months before the2018 election, boasting about his willingness to shove down our throats a false choice between building more affordable housing and gutting pieces of Ontario’s internationally recognized Greenbelt to a group of developers and land speculators he was meeting with.
To watch Ford, in a video he did not suspect at the time would go public, making this 2018 pitch, to open up “big chucks” of the Greenbelt for development, click on the screen immediately below –
Since Ford and all of his puppets, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff most un-shamefully among them, have been in government, we have witnessed them slashing funding for growing trees across the province, gutting the Endangered Species Act, weakening our Conservation Authorities as protective bodies for our precious watersheds, and on and on.
Now I urge you to turn to this must-read investigate piece, put together by a team of reporters from the Torstar newspaper chain and the National Observer, documenting the close ties between the Ford government and some of the most powerful developers in Ontario around pushing ahead with a 20th century plan to build a costly multi-lane highway – Highway 413 – in the Greater Toronto Area.
I commend the reporters at Torstar and the National Observer for their work on this piece because it is one of the deepest dives yet into the reasons why we, the people in this province, are never going to see this Ford government take serious issues around conservation, environmental protection and the climate emergency seriously.
Before I post the link for the whole investigative piece, I want to share at least the first few paragraphs of it here –
“Eight of Ontario’s most powerful land developers own thousands of acres of prime real estate near the proposed route of the controversial Highway 413, a National Observer/Torstar investigation has found.
Four of the developers are connected to Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government through party officials and former Tory politicians now acting as registered lobbyists.
If built, the road will raze 2,000 acres of farmland, cut across 85 waterways and pave nearly 400 acres of protected Greenbelt land in Vaughan. It would also disrupt 220 wetlands and the habitats of 10 species-at-risk, according to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.”
Just one more message before I hope read the rest of this story by clicking on the link below.
Niagara residents should keep in mind that this Ford government, in collusion with local parties like Niagara Falls Jim Diodati and others, may be poised to slap down ‘Minister’s Zoning Orders’ in our region to clear the way for gutting the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, and other precious natural resources in this region.
Please also know that the 20th century idea of building a multi-lane highway called the Mid-Peninsula Highway – a highway that would cost the residents of this province billinos of dollard, and would cut through the heart of some of Niagara’s best food-growing lands and natural heritage, has not gone away either.
Remain on guard against that.
Now here is the link to this important investigative report –https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/03/investigations/developers-ties-ford-government-benefit-highway-413 ….
If that link doesn’t work, due to possible paywall issues, try this – https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/03/investigations/developers-ties-ford-government-benefit-highway-413 .
Finally, the next provincial election is now only a year away.
In June of 2022, those who care about a healthy, prosperous future for our communities across this Niagara region and province have got to get rid of Doug Ford and his phony, “pro-life” representatives.
Another four years of Ford and this climate-denying, anti-environment enablers would be too much for the life-sustaining resources of our great planet and this province we live in to endure.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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