Reader says Ford’s pro-development bills are hurting environment, seniors

By Lindsay Advocate

There is an old adage that goes way back in time and that has been used by political leaders of all stripes. That adage is, ‘never waste a good crisis.’

The basic premise is that in times of crisis the public’s attention is almost totally focused on the crisis at hand, and a government in power can often push through legislation that would normally get much more scrutiny and public attention/outcry, were it not for the singular focus on the given crisis. War is a good example of this.

Our current crisis is, of course, COVID-19. Our provincial government under Premier Doug Ford has made good use of this technique in 2020, largely through omnibus bills where legislation is hidden, often under the guise of dealing with the pandemic.

The passing of bills like Bill 197, greatly weakens the Environmental Assessment Act with deregulation that reflects neither the values nor long-term interests of Ontarians. Even the way it was enacted is under scrutiny because its passing did not comply with current notice/comment requirements under the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights.

As well, Bill 229 severely curtails the role of conservation authorities threatening Ontario wetlands, woodlands and farmlands. This has great potential to benefit corporations, executives and cronies. The Ford government has also banned the use of ranked balloting by municipalities in elections, should they choose to do so.

Most recently, Bill 218 was forced through the legislature at lightning speed, and was made retroactive to March 17, 2020 making it virtually impossible for residents and families to prove “gross neglect” that has occurred and that may continue to occur in our long-term care and retirement homes.

These for-profit corporations such as Revera, will not be held accountable and responsible for the injustice suffered and the lives lost by our seniors. Only 15 of 58 people were allowed last week to express their concerns before the standing committee of the Ontario Legislature.

In short, I am one constituent who does not feel well represented by our premier or by MPP Laurie Scott. That is, after all, their job.

As constituents, we should consider contacting Scott and asking her some serious questions.

— Greg J. Roe, Concerned Citizens of Haliburton County

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