‘Just the facts, ma’am’

November 25, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

We learned a truth this week, and if that truth is the whole way, it is a serious matter, although the fellow who pronounced it had every reason to be sure of his facts:

Bill 23 is not about more housing; not about affordable housing; it is about the increased wealth of already wealthy people. It’s an outrageous claim, I know, but it is not mine; it comes from a source who understands what is happening.

Let me give you the facts, from Phil Pothen, J.D. M.L.A, Ontario Environmental Program Manager. He was torn at the extent of the outrageousness, as he described the proposal of Bill 23 and the facts.

Showing a chart with colours that outline very clearly the areas within urban regions of Hamilton and the whole of the GTA, where there is enough land within those urban areas to provide the space for new housing for the “next 30 years, with no need to infringe on the Green Belt.”

What a thing it is to be Ontario’s Premier… man oh man, it must feel so good to have that power and – wow – so many friends that will do their best by way of funding and promotion and get help from their friends to assure re-election plus appreciation with little gifts? Who knows for sure? The 2022 statistics say that Doug Ford’s “worth” is $50 million from “his businesses and his work as a politician.”

Certainly, the policies of the Ford government do align with the wishes of many of his friends in the fields of industry and real estate, especially with this latest (almost) coup of Bill 23. All comments have confirmed that those much-needed 1.5 million homes are unlikely to be built over the next ten years but the big one-family houses are likely already designed and just waiting for the inappropriate property to be drained, pampered and prepared, and damn the consequences. 

The proof of Machiavellian intent is curbing the Conservation Authorities and, indeed, public information and the right to appeal.

It doesn’t end there. Somehow, the Ford government has – is it comedy and sham? Proposed, as recompense for quite unnecessarily digging up the wetlands, to move them, as though they are so many bicycles, to another location. You cannot successfully move an ecosystem. Every scientist and environmentalist tells us: this cannot work and there is no need for it.

In other tragic news about our governments, federal and provincial, you may have heard this week that Canada – our Canada – where the opportunity and wealth of this tremendous land, is now number one in the world of people using MAID – medical assistance in dying.

Can you believe this? And we know because we are hearing about it all the time that this preponderance of folk opting to lose the rest of their lives is for sure not always due to terminal illness or intense and incurable chronic pain.

It is too often because the system of poverty and lack of government help pushes people to accept MAID. People who don’t want to die, they just want to live their lives out of filth and hunger. Particularly among Canada’s disabled communities, there is a growing number of souls being offered death as opposed to being cared for in an equitable fashion by the system of patchwork and always too little programs.

Back to housing in this matter: our governments legislate poverty – that is honestly what it is called, what it is: legislated poverty.

Why begins too many sentences.

Why dig up precious wetlands when the government experts say there is no need?

Why in this time of true climate crisis would a government intentionally damage the environment, adding to the crisis, putting so much at risk?

Why would we allow our governments to abandon people at risk and the disabled to languish in inadequate places, forced to move from one place to another, forced to move out and live on the wintery streets, rather than making sure they are well and safe?

Why are we offering them death instead of care?

There are plenty of options; of them one raises above the rest: to provide Basic Income of a better than basic life. To make the poor not poor but taxpayers, living on funds that are better than just enough but enough to contribute to the economy as viable human beings worthy of a life in this very wealthy country.

Canada is not a third-world country but our societal philosophy is rushing backwards. We have lost our grip on decency and our determination to do right by our fellow citizens and the land on which we live. The federal government is set on bringing in another million and more people into Canada. Yet, if we cannot or will not care for those who already live here, why would we add to their numbers with massive immigration?

The protest against Bill 23 is outside MPP Sylvia Jones’ office at 180 Broadway tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 25 at 1:00 p.m. I hope you attend; bring a sign if you can. For all the details about Bill 23, go to Ontario Nature or Environmental Defence.

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