Today’s report by the Auditor General is damning. We’ve seen time and time again that the Premier can’t be trusted and is willing to put his friends ahead of what’s best for Ontarians.
Trading prime agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands put the wealth of developers ahead of Ontarians’ need for local food production, flood protection, and habitat preservation.
With this report, every action this government has taken on the Greenbelt since 2018 must be considered suspect and repealed. Likewise, they have lost the trust of the public on the housing file.
The amount of power that certain non-elected political staffers had during this process was nothing short of a threat to democracy.
That this power was used to bypass consideration of the value of agriculture and the environment, as well as input from the Ontario Public Service, to benefit the financial interests of partisan supporters is reprehensible.
Moreover, the secrecy and speed with which this took place, the exchange of packages at dinner functions, the lack of emails kept on government servers, and the use of private email all speak to suspicious conduct on the Minister and Premier’s part. Ultimately, they are responsible for not doing their due diligence and protecting Ontarians.
When the non-political staff of the Agriculture Ministry confirms that, “83% of the area removed is classified as Class 1-3 prime agricultural lands, which is of the highest quality and capability for agriculture”, there is serious reason to question the rationale behind this decision making. Farmland and wetlands will be lost forever, and our housing crisis won’t get solved.
The Premier isn’t just breaking up the Greenbelt, he’s breaking people’s trust and he’s breaking Ontario.
The Premier should halt all current and future land swaps. The Housing Minister should resign. Based on the evidence in the Auditor General’s report, it’s clear that this Minister cannot be trusted to do the job.