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Doug Ford: The Blank Cheque Premier

December 16th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, how many blank cheques can Doug Ford write before one bounces and sinks him?

Fair warning: If you are a Doug Ford fan, you may want to stop reading now. Frankly, why anyone – other than his private sector buddies who benefit from his wheeling and dealing – would support the man mystifies me. But admittedly that is my personal bias.

The hallmark of the Ford government has been going out of their way to skip public consultation, bypass any bothersome laws that get in their way and playing the part of the bully threatening anyone who stands up to them.

Case in point: Bill 154, New Deal for Toronto Act. This self-serving Bill gives Ford the power to fast-track the redevelopment of Ontario Place to ensure that construction of the massive private spa (to be built by Therme) can begin. The Bill includes exemptions from existing laws that stand in his way including enactment of the Rebuilding Ontario Place Act 2023.

This act expands the powers of the Minister of Infrastructure under the Planning Act, exempts the province from the Environmental Assessment Act and states that the Ontario Heritage Act will not be applied to portions of Ontario Place.

Translation: This is going to happen. We do not care what anyone, including taxpayers or the Auditor General, thinks. We have fired up the bulldozers. Get out of the way or we will run over you.

The Ontario Place redevelopment plan includes moving the Ontario Science Centre to the site. I thought this was not a reasonable idea when I first heard about it. But the Ontario Auditor General’s annual report points out that the Ford government is contractually obligated to meet certain requirements, including parking spaces, for Therme and amphitheatre-operator Live Nation’s sake.

So it turns out that moving the Science Centre to Ontario Place is being used to justify a taxpayer-funded parking lot for the private spa and the amphitheatre.

Ford’s get out of my way or else behaviour is also explicit in his push to build Highway 413. Exact quotes from Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey (one of Ford’s puppet mouthpieces):

To the federal government who assert that an environmental impact assessment must be done before the highway can be built: “Get out of the way so that our government can get shovels in the ground.”

To Liberal politicians, particularly in Brampton: “Don’t be left defending your opposition to Highway 413 in the next election. You will quickly be out of a job.”

The Ford government regularly creates blank cheque legislation to empower itself to do whatever it wants, to circumvent any other legislation that stands in its way and to run roughshod over anyone who objects. In addition to stinking fish (the Greenbelt scandal), this will be the history book legacy of Ford’s shameful time as Premier of Ontario.

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~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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