Cornish Letter to the Editor, 23 November 2022

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join the movement

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Ontario’s “permanently protected greenbelt is about to be carved up by Ford’s Conservative government.

Prime Minister Doug Ford has lied time and time again about his environmental commitments regarding the Greenbelt.

In February 2018, he said, “we’ll open up the green belt, not all of it, but we’ll open up a lot of it and start building.”

Ford said that developing portions of the 7,200-square-kilometre area of ​​protected land would help alleviate the housing affordability crisis in GTA.

In April 2018, Ford committed to replacing the soil it uses with new “Greenbelt soil.” Not all land is equal in terms of its ecological importance or its agricultural value. In May 2018, Ford said: “The people have spoken: We will not touch the green belt. Very simple. That’s it, the people have spoken…”

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In April 2021, Ford reiterated that he was not going to touch the green belt. In November 2022, he informed us that today we have a housing crisis that we did not have four years ago. Go back to April 2018.

What is it that Doug Ford doesn’t understand about speaking officially to the media? Or is it just that he doesn’t care? Or that he sees himself as the emperor of Ontario: once elected he can do whatever he wants, and bad luck if you don’t like him?

The Greenbelt Act was passed in February 2005 and consists of “two million acres of protected land that works to give us fresh air, clean water, fantastic local food and drink, and world-class outdoor recreation and tourism experiences.”

The Greenbelt Foundation has administered funds totaling about $47 million to permanently protect “remarkably productive farmland and environmentally sensitive areas” that provide health, prosperity, and climate resiliency for Ontarians. Greenbelt contributes $9.6 billion in GDP and supports more than 177,700 full-time jobs, according to a 2021 estimate from the Greenbelt Foundation.

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As Doug Ford announces his plans for the Greenbelt, his government approves more than 14,000 hectares of land for urban development in municipalities in Greater Toronto and the Hamilton Area, an area the size of Vancouver or Etobicoke.

So why do you need to go after the Greenbelt? The simple answer is that it doesn’t.

So why should we care?

If you want to better understand what is at risk, read this page from the Environmental Defense group. This move will be an environmental disaster on top of the climate emergency.

It will not solve the housing crisis in the cities. It will create a more car-dependent, McMansion-like urban sprawl that will cost more to service and will require increased taxes to pay for those services.

The only winners are the wealthy developers who bought land in Greenbelt areas when they were protected and cheap. They stand to earn billions if this plan is carried out.

In an effort to counter Ford’s land grab, Cornwall will be part of days of action rallies across the province to protest Ford’s land grab in the Greenbelt. Our local rally is Saturday, November 26 from 1-3 pm in front of the Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry MPP Nolan Quinn office, 120 Second St. W. For more information, check out the Facebook event page at www. facebook.com/events/872291804211772.

Louise Mignault

Cornwall

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