Thursday, August 10, 2023

Something's Out Of Joint

In a blistering report, Ontario's auditor general has skewered Doug Ford's government.  Rob Ferguson and  Rob Benzie write in The Toronto Star:

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives “favoured certain developers” in a controversial $8.28-billion Greenbelt land swap rammed through in a fashion the premier admits was “wrong,” the auditor general found.

In a searing 93-page report to the legislature Wednesday, Bonnie Lysyk concluded Ford’s opening up of 7,400 acres of environmentally protected land last fall “cannot be described as a standard or defensible process.”

That process was run by Ryan Amato, the chief of staff to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, without proper input from independent bureaucrats or land-use experts, she said.

But the premier and Clark, who took media questions for more than an hour, vowed to continue with the land swap — which will benefit Tory-connected landowners — despite the auditor general’s push for them to reconsider.

Ford has always been about transferring public wealth into private hands. The same was true of former premier Mike Harris. Paul Kahnert writes:

During the time the Mike Harris Conservatives were in power from 1995 to 2003, a record amount of public wealth was transferred to the wealthy. Just what is public wealth? Public wealth is our education system, our healthcare system, our water system and was once our hydro-electric system. It is our provincial parks, forests, lakes, rivers and the green is also the collective total of all our tax dollars in the provincial treasury. There is much more to public wealth when you add in things like long term care, community centers, hockey and curling arenas. The sum total of our public wealth is quite massive and the wealthy want it.  

Harris privatized Hwy 407 for a paltry sum. In a far worse deal Harris privatized the Bruce nuclear plant, where again the profits were privatized but the debt and risks remained public.  

Harris cut taxes massively for the wealthy and their corporations. In order to pay for those tax cuts, Harris slashed healthcare spending to the point where Ontario lost more than 10,000 nurses. Education was slashed by the education funding formula which to this day is still shortchanging the education system causing a crisis there. 

Harris changed the entire Hydro System from a non-profit at-cost system to a for profit corporate system packaging it up to be sold. Unbelievably after going fishing with Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, Harris installed an Enron designed electricity market which also is still plaguing us to this day. The list is much longer and includes a long list of a removal of laws and regulations that were designed to protect the public, including the removal of a law requiring a binding public referendum anytime a public asset was to be sold.

It seems like every day and every week; Ford is hell bent on breaking Harris’s record transfer of wealth to the wealthy. Long term care was privatized where thousands died during the pandemic, many from neglect. Given the horrific record of private long-term care, Ford gave these owners 30-year licenses and is allowing the building of more private long term care homes. 

On top of shortfalls caused by the funding formula, Ford is cutting education funding more. It certainly looks like he’s creating a crisis again so that education can be privatized by charter schools or online education services. 

We've known who these people are -- and we've known it for a long time.

Something's out of joint.

Image: TVO Today


zoombats said...

"We've known who these people are -- and we've known it for a long time". I've run out of words. In my seventieth year and as we hurtle towards decline and destruction of our planet we still elect these Fuckers. I once asked a west Indian friend of mine about the fact that they continuously voted corrupt people back in power. His answer was perfectly clear."because their pockets were already full". We Canadians are duped by "A buck a beer" promise. Conservatives have always sold off green space and I remember Harris's favourite spot to cleave out for developers was the Oak ridge sector. Gangsters and grifters everyone of them. Have a dream about a conservative, expect a disappointment.

Owen Gray said...

John Kenneth Galbraith wrote decades ago that modern conservatism seeks to make selfishness a virtue, zoombats. That's what it's all about.

Anonymous said...

Actually Owen, it was the Liberals who privatized Ontario Hydro, not the PC's. And isn't it interesting how the Toronto Star is now behind the AG. When Ms Lysyk was critical of the Liberals, they were singing quite a different song.


Owen Gray said...

It's true that the Liberals hopped on the privatization bandwagon after Harris started it rolling, AD. They simply didn't have the courage to raise taxes.

That said, Ford's alliance with land developers goes back a long way. The profits they're making from this arrangement are in the billions of dollars.

jrkrideau said...

I've been reading the Auditor General's report. The reek of corruption rolls of the pages.

This statement or similar is repeated I think three times in 14 pages.
"Typically, a Chief of Staff works under the authority of a minister and the Premier’s Office. Consequently, the Ministry’s non-political public service staff believed that directions or instructions provided by the Housing Minister’s Chief of Staff were provided under the authority of the Minister and the Premier’s Office."

I don't know what her legislative mandate is but in bureaucratic language she is accusing the Premier and the Housing Minister of orchestrating this theft.

The amazing thing is how utterly blatant all of this was. Clearly Doug and his accomplices just never thought anyone would challenge it. The GrenBelt Team being sworn to secrecy, the three week time frame and the changing criteria screams corruption

I get the impression that both political and non-political staff, (Exempt & Civil Service in Federal term)s were a bit shocked at this. They seemed to be very happy to talk to the AG's people.

And to top it off, Doug canot even lie competently.

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I understand that the Auditor General's term is over in September. She is leaving on a high note.

Owen Gray said...

Ford road to power lambasting Kathleen Wynn's "buddies," jrk. The hypocrisy is wide and high. And Ford doesn't see it.

jrkrideau said...

I do not believe that self-awareness is a Doug Ford strong point.

I just hope that a few media outlets kep this in the news for a few days. All NDP and Liberal MPPs keep pounding away for months. Each party leader need to have this report welded to their hand.

Owen Gray said...

You're right, jrk. Don't expect Doug to blame himself for this mess.