“Will the Premier tell the people of Ontario the true nature of his motives in putting their farmland, food security and conservation lands in jeopardy when his own experts are saying that we have plenty of land available for development?” – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch
Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch, from Hansard in the Ontario Legislature, November 15th, 2022
Posted November 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
Mr. Jeff Burch: “Speaker, through you to the Premier: Despite promising the people of this province not to quote “touch the Greenbelt,” this government has put forward a plan to remove 7,400 acres of land from the greenbelt, claiming they need more land to build housing.
“Yet the province’s Housing Ability Task Force reported that a lack of land was not the problem. We have already had all the land we need for housing. The Greenbelt was created to preserve valuable farmland and connect the forest and wetland ecosystems. Every expert is saying that removing parts of it threatens all of it.
“Will the Premier tell the people of Ontario the true nature of his motives in putting their farmland, food security and conservation lands in jeopardy when his own experts are saying that we have plenty of land available for development?”
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Associate Minister of Housing.
Hon. Michael Parsa: “Thank you very much, Speaker, and I thank my honourable colleague for the question.
“Yet again, you will see the NDP find any excuse to object to building houses. After the previous government failed the people of this province, we made a commitment to the people of this province. We will not follow their path. We will not let down the people of this province. We have a shortage of homes here in this province right now.”
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Opposition come to order.
Hon. Michael Parsa: “We will have a further shortage if we don’t do something about it, after they failed.
“They held the balance of power, Mr. Speaker, for years. Was housing a priority, colleagues, for this government?
Hon. Michael Parsa: “Never. It took this Premier, this party to say, “We’re no longer going down that path.”
“We will not let down the people of this province. We will build homes for the people. We will build. As newcomers come in, we will build the homes that they need. We will not let them down. We will find ways to make sure that the people of this province have a home to go to every night.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order. The supplementary question.
Mr. Jeff Burch: Speaker, there are many places to build new condo towers and subdivisions that aren’t in the Greenbelt or on a wetland.
“Some of the owners of the protected land the government is opening up to development purchased the land just a few months ago. One parcel of land was bought by the RICE Group back in September and was described as a prime opportunity for “land banking.””
“What interesting timing, Speaker.
“Developers like the RICE Group CEO, Michael Rice, and TACC Development’s CEO Silvio DeGasperis have donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Ontario PC Party. Four companies controlled by members of the DeGasperis family own 20 properties on the land this government is opening up for development.
“Speaker, the Greenbelt is vital to keeping Ontario’s watershed systems and environment healthy and working. Without it, we increase the risks of flooding, droughts, and food security.
“After promising not to touch the greenbelt, why is the Premier carving it up and serving pieces of it to his hungry friends like one of his homemade cheesecakes?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Associate Minister of Housing.
Hon. Michael Parsa: “Mr. Speaker, maybe the opposition could spend some time reading initiatives, because if they had seen it: We’re expanding the Greenbelt by 2,000 acres while building 50,000 new homes.
“Whether it’s in Niagara-whether it’s east, west, north, in Toronto, GTA-the people of Ontario will not be let down by this government, Mr. Speaker. We will build homes for them.
Hon. Michael Parsa: “We will not let down the new Canadians that are coming here to look for homes, Mr. Speaker. We will not let down the previous generation.
“We will expand the Greenbelt. We will build homes in every corner of this province, Mr. Speaker, because that’s what we promised to the people of this province.
“Unlike the opposition-it doesn’t matter what the previous government did; they supported them along the way. With us it’s a little different; we’re for housing in this province.”
To hear and watch Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch asking questions on this issue, click on – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1B1bahQXbjhVf4IPa-s1gtG_Ev2ytTwjq/view .
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