Doug Ford’s press conference earlier today was painful to watch.
His opening statement ends with a flourish invoking the Almighty:
“Thank you and God bless the people of Ontario.”
Now he is taking questions from journalists, mainly about the Greenbelt scandal.
He frequently moves off-topic giving us a torrent of statistics. Five to six million people coming to Ontario. 800,000 last year. Modular homes for under $500,000. Wartime homes. 60,000 new nurses 8,000 new doctors. Thousands and thousands of new educators. Over 8,000 this year alone. Four subway lines. $70 billion on transit. $30 billion on highways and roads and bridges. On and on he goes, gushing figures. Millions. Billions. Trillions. He will always fight for hard working blue collar people.
He reminds me of those apparatchiks in the former Soviet Union lauding the latest five-year plan and reeling off statistics on tractor production.
Re-evaluating everything. Consulting everyone
Oh yes...He also says he is going to review and re-evaluate all the land in the Greenbelt.
“We're going to review the whole system including the 14 properties. We're going to review all the properties. We acknowledge the process wasn't up to snuff by any means… (interruption) We're going to make sure that all properties are reviewed… all 700-800 is mandated in legislation that we should review. We're going to review them. We're going to make sure they stand with their merit and that's what we're going to look at.
…the provincial facilitator will continue working with the land-owners and the builders to move forward. But they are going to review the whole process, not just the 14 lands (but) the 700-800 applications and they’ll be able to sit down and talk to stakeholders, the indigenous communities, people that need homes. We’ll be talking to communities and we’ll do a complete review."
Phew! That sounds like a lotta work. And a lot of consultation for a Government that until today ignored what people had to say. They didn't even read or analyse the comments from the public on the Greenbelt proposals. Straight into the waste paper basket!
Community centres, hospitals, long term care homes, parks
Ford is asked if the Government entered into a legally binding agreement with any of those (ex-Greenbelt) landowners that they would have to build X amount of housing on that land.
Ford says it will be up to the facilitator to ensure that these lands include community centres, hospitals, long term care homes, parks
“and that’s something that we wouldn’t be able to do if a builder down the street, for instance, decides to build. We don’t go up and say you’ve got to build this. You’ve gotta build that. We rely on the municipalities to build homes to make sure that they get the permits out in a timely fashion. We’ve given them every single tool possible to make sure that makes their life easier to get homes built…”
Now we are into a stream of consciousness with Ford making it up as he goes along.
We are looking at the brain behind FordNation.
Personally, I want to see the plans for the development and servicing of the ex Greenbelt lands at Bathurst purchased by the developer Michael Rice on 15 September 2022 and which include a new hospital.
I am sure the Town of Newmarket will wish to see those plans too.
Update on 7 September 2023: from the Toronto Star's Martin Reg Cohn: Doug Ford's Attack on the Greenbelt hits a new low