Letter to the Editor – Greenbelt


Dear Editor,

I see where the Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has issued a damning assessment on how the Ford/Clark provincial Conservative government selected sites last year for removal from the Greenbelt.

Lysky’s audit found that removing land from the Greenbelt was not needed to meet the government’s housing target, as previously noted by the Ford government’s hand-picked Housing Affordability Task Force. According to Lysyk, the government had already allocated the 1.5 million units to municipalities by October 2022, one month before the government announced its controversial Greenbelt proposal. The Greenbelt was meant to be off limits to developers, and it wasn’t that long ago that Ford promised that his government would not touch it. He lied. Again.

It transpires that wealthy developers have been lobbying Steve Clark’s Chief of Staff to get the lands that they bought inside the Greenbelt released for development, and they got most of what they wanted. They now stand to make an astounding profit of $8.3 billion on these lands, which rightly belonged to the people of Ontario. Steve Clark has denied all knowledge of what his Chief of Staff was doing, but that is hard to believe. It is the Minister who directs his Chief of Staff; that’s the way that the system works. If Clark doesn’t have control of his staff, then he shouldn’t be in government, and should resign.  This is just another case of Steve Clark saying one thing, and doing something else, and a further example of the lack of integrity in government.

Anyone interested in reading more information on the Auditor General’s report can find it at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-auditor-general-greenbelt-report-1.6930390.

Acquaintances of mine who identify as fiscal Conservatives don’t seem to be bothered by this debacle. I often hear that all politicians are corrupt, or if they aren’t when they get elected, then they become that way. What a dystopian view of our political system. When I try and engage these people on things like climate change, or the need to change our way of electing those who are meant to serve us (as opposed to serving major developers and corporations), or the paving over of farmland, wetlands and natural areas, or the privatization of our Health Care and Education systems, I just get a look similar to deer in the headlights. They believe in fiscal responsibility and little else, and that government budgets are similar to their own (they aren’t), and the Ford/Clark government plays on this. They just have to throw these people a tax break now and again, such as removing the payment for a car licensing plate, and they go happily on their way.

Then there are the people who “don’t do politics”, abrogating any responsibility for the excesses of government. They don’t believe that anything will change, so they don’t bother to vote, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As someone once said, “Nothing changes if nothing changes”.

Humanity, with its excesses and wilful ignorance, is destroying our planet. I will forever remember a TV presenter asking a man on the street about climate change, and his answer was “It’s not my problem. It’s my kid’s problem”. Is this what we have become?

Colin Creasey, Kemptville



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