Media Statement: Auditor General on Greenbelt Take-Outs

Local MPPs complicit in $8.3 billion dollar Greenbelt land grab.

August 9, 2023 - Simcoe County

Local MPPs complicit in $8.3 billion dollar Greenbelt land grab

Today’s Auditor General report outlined that the Greenbelt land grabs were a “biased” exercise that gave “certain developers preferential treatment”. Not only were rules changed to allow certain developer lands to be included in the exercise, but environmental oversights were removed as well to ensure the process benefited a select few without any consideration for the integrity of the Greenbelt or the lands it protects.

Local MPPs, specifically Cabinet Ministers Doug Downey, Caroline Mulroney and Jill Dunlop and the rest of the Executive Council, signed off on these Greenbelt removals and this biased exercise, which will see the value of land taken out for developers balloon by at least $8.3 billion. Why did they support these takeouts?

The Premier, along with the rest of his government, have said that this land is needed to build the houses Ontario needs for future demand. The Auditor General refuted this claim, however, confirming what SCGC, along with other environmental organizations, have long said, which is that there was already enough land within urban boundaries. So again we ask, why did our local MPPs support these takeouts.

Do these MPPs and this government take Ontarians for dupes? How can we trust them with the care of our province when they are so clearly willing to lie to the public, to make backroom deals with their rich friends, to sell out to the highest bidder regardless of whether it benefits the rest of us? Beyond the Greenbelt, we’re seeing similar decisions by this government targeting health care and education.

We also see duplicity regarding the need for new highways, such as the Bradford Bypass, for which the government has so far refused to release traffic studies, which it’s exempted from a proper environmental assessment, and which it’s routed around a golf course owned by the father of one of its MPPs.

Based on the evidence that the Auditor General revealed today, it seems clear that this government places the need to take care of their rich friends well above looking after the public’s interest, fiscal responsibility and transparent, honest decision making. This is something that all MPPs need to be accountable for, including those representing ridings in Simcoe County.

There isn’t much that makes Ontarians angrier than elected representatives using government to benefit themselves and enrich their friends. And yet here we are. While people are struggling to make ends meet, an unnecessary, thoroughly biased process aimed at enriching a few was made a top priority. This government promotes itself publicly as “for the people” while behind closed doors it’s only the well connected that get the full benefit of the government’s help and power. We need no further evidence that this government is no longer trustworthy, from the top all the way to our local MPPs.

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