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Greenbelt: Get ready for the double-cross

"Trust me."
John Bell

October 1, 2023

The well-known Hegelian philosopher Samuel L Goldwyn once said, “An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it is written on.” 

And a promise from Doug Ford is worth less than that.

Keep this in mind when you consider Doug Ford’s apology and renewed “promise” to restore the Greenbelt lands.

On the first day of the fall session of Ontario’s legislature, Ford’s Tory caucus – slightly diminished and weakened due to a slew of scandal related resignations – voted unanimously to defeat an NDP motion to return the Greenbelt lands to protected status.

Ford tried to shrug it off and accuse the NDP of “playing politics” with the most political issue in Ontario. His right-hand man, Paul Calandra promises that their own legislation will be introduced “very soon”.

As for the real victims in the Greenbelt saga, the unfortunate oligarchs who miraculously bought the contested lands, they may be compensated for the $8.4 billion they planned to gouge out of the Greenbelt. Or maybe not. There are mixed messages coming from FordNation. Imagine that.

Weeks ago, when asked about the compensation issue, Ford rambled: “We’ll make it public, that’s for sure. The minister is working through those details and they’ll be pubic once we … uh … once we find out.” He made it sound like government policy was ordained by a Magic 8 Ball.

Calandra then contradicted the boss, sort of. He said there would be no compensation and all would be made clear when they tabled their own Greenbelt legislation “very soon”.

Let’s be real: anyone who believes that the Ford government will put the environment and the people of Ontario ahead of their billionaire friends has not been paying attention for the past 5 years. Their record for truthfulness is nonexistent. Their record for stealing publicly owned assets – healthcare, the Greenbelt, Ontario Place – and handing them over to big business profiteers is long and growing. 

So far all we have is an “oral contract” from Doug Ford and we know what that is worth. Most likely we can expect the Tories to delay in hopes that the scandals and anger subside, and then table legislation that still leaves the majority of the disputed lands in the hands of developers.

Get ready for the double-cross.


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