LETTER: Government ‘bargaining away Ontario’s heritage’
‘Shame on this entire government for lying that this bill is necessary to create affordable housing,’ says letter writer
Protesters rallied against Bill 23 in Orillia on Nov. 20.
It is time for this government to conduct itself in the manner that it was set out to do.
According to the government’s own Ontario.ca website:
“The Government of Ontario recognizes that the province’s heritage tells us who we are, where we have come from and what we have accomplished. This knowledge is a source of strength and confidence.”
“Through the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the government complies with the Statement of Environmental Values, the principles of which are as follows:
- The people of Ontario recognize the inherent value of the natural environment
- The people of Ontario have a right to a healthful environment
- The people of Ontario have as a common goal the protection, conservation and restoration of the natural environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
While the government has the primary responsibility for achieving this goal, Ontarians should have the means to ensure that it is achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner.”
Clearly, the Government of Ontario no longer believes in these ideas, rights or values as with the passage of Bill 23, they have sacrificed them in the name of development and profit. It is glaringly apparent that Ontario’s heritage — be it farmland, wetland, historic buildings or forests — is no longer considered important, but rather an obstacle to be removed. They are expendable. With the passage of Bill 23, years of careful planning, establishing conservation authorities, building safeguards to protect property from floods, defending valuable agricultural land from urban sprawl, preserving wetlands and forest habitat and species, and ensuring thoughtful growth have been dismissed.
Shame on you, Mr. Ford, Minister Clark, Minister Piccini, Jill Dunlop, Doug Downey and the rest of the PC caucus. Shame on this entire government for lying that this bill is necessary to create affordable housing when your own housing commission stated more land was not required to address the housing crisis, and previously pledging as recently as 2020 to protect the Greenbelt. Shame for being Judas and bargaining away Ontario’s heritage that rightfully belongs to the people of Ontario and our children. Shame on you for stifling democracy by limiting public input to the narrow time period after recent municipal elections when the old councils are impotent and new ones not yet sworn in.
If this current housing crisis is to be addressed, it needs action that will actually result in creating more affordable housing units in existing settlement areas, areas already well served by roads, schools, and parkland. Withdraw this bill now and get to work fixing the problem, not creating more problems that will last for generations to come. It’s time to live up to the words that define Ontario’s expectations of its government.