The Ford government has betrayed the citizens of Ontario by passing Schedule 6, which rewards the worst developers and land speculators by incapacitating the system that protects source water and guards Ontarians against flooding, landslides, and other environmental disasters. The government of Ontario ignored a deafening chorus of experts, warning that we need to retain the mandate of the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities. The changes will let developers dump, build, and excavate largely unchecked in high-risk areas, risking impaired water quality, property damage, and environmental degradation.
In reaction to the Ford government ignoring expert opinion, the Greenbelt Council resigned. Steve Clark’s comments regarding this shows how little he cares about the opinions of others. He has been showing his true colours of late, and appears not to mind at all the job of being Doug Ford’s hatchet man, already having over 30 Ministers Zoning Orders under his belt.
The policies of the Ford government have nothing to do with democracy, and everything to do with ideology. They are systematically destroying our laws governing social and environmental protection, paving over farmland and wetlands, in order to cut the “red tape” of the laws that were in place to protect ourselves and our natural world, the latter of which we are more dependent on than this government wants, or cares to, believe. Then again, their focus is on money, and not the protection of the society that they are supposed to serve. Their mantra is business, small government, and lower taxes. Everything is done for the former, which leads to smaller government as they abolish the laws that protect us all and help business. And as for lower taxes, well, I have yet to see that. One of Ford’s favourite things, when he talks about taxes, is Hydro bills. Have you noticed how much of your bill is subsidized by this government? Have you ever wondered just where that money is coming from?
As for business being top of the Conservative agenda, the Kemptville jail debacle is a case in point. Ford has already admitted that this project is more about financial recovery than it is about the actual need for another jail. As the recent webinar on this subject has showed, the need for a jail at all could be negated by fixing the remand system, where currently 66% of all inmates are those on remand, that is, charged, but not convicted. This government is not interested in fixing the system, nor listening to other points of view that show that there is a better way to handle this problem without perpetrating more of the inhumane treatment that currently goes on in our prison system, and I’m not just talking about the prisoners, but the prison staff as well.
None of these, and the many other abuses of power, would have happened if we had a proportional representation election system, often promised, but that promise never fulfilled. If a party gets less than 50% of the electoral vote, as is often the case, then they would need to get support from others in order to pass legislation. Instead, we cling to our outdated first past the post system, and then get a government with only 40% of the vote getting 100% of the power. The abuses that this system has heaped upon the people of Ontario are legion, but it works well for the two main parties in our electoral system, which is why we still have it. If ever we get a referendum on proportional representation, just remember what dinosaur politics in government looks like, and consider using your vote elsewhere.