Integrity is a catch word for accountability. The report of Ontario’s integrity commissioner does much more than impeach the honesty of the minister of municipal affairs and housing. It brings into question the decency and honesty of every single conservative party member in the Ontario legislature. These are the people responsible for allowing Doug Ford to continue to occupy the premier’s office at Queen’s Park. A simple vote of confidence by the legislature can determine if Mr. Ford has the continued support of the majority of that body to stay in office.
And, we suspect, he does not have that confidence. It must be clear to all members of the legislature that it was Mr. Ford who selected those of his developer friends who would be rewarded with parcels of land out of the Greenbelt. It is Mr. Ford who keeps the inept minister Steve Clark in office as his shield against direct attack on him.
The premier keeps referencing the 1.5 million homes needed to be built in Ontario, but we have seen little progress. It is hardly just land that is needed to have homes for people. That land needs services, such as sewers and electricity and transit. It needs convenient schools and stores and recreational facilities. It needs the conveniences of modern living in a progressive country such as Canada.
There is no way that Mr. Ford can bluff his way out of this mess. It is his mess. And the conservative members of the legislature can hardly ignore their responsibility.
If they are they really “honourable” members, they will hold Mr. Ford to account. They pay themselves about $150,000 per year plus various stipends and fulsome expenses. We put our trust in all the members of the legislature to help us be protected from those who would abuse our trust. They have never had a better opportunity to show us that they can earn our trust.
The person who has got off the easiest in this mess is the former chief of staff for the minister of municipal affairs and housing, Ryan Amato. His resignation earned him a severance package which has not been disclosed. His boss, Steve Clark, the minister, has expressed his regret for not supervising the situation. The only problem is that we all know the developers benefiting from this farce are Mr. Ford’s friends.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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