3.4 BILLION phishing emails that are sent out every day.

By Pepper Parr

September 10th,2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Surprisingly, no one guessed the correct number of phishing emails that are sent out every day.

The actual number, as determined by Maleware Byte, an anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, Android, and iOS that finds and removes malware, is 3.4 BILLION.  With that kind of an onslaught the average person has to be very very vigilant.

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Is this the beginning of the end for Joe Dogs ?

By Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

After a decent summer break City Council gets back to the grind with Standing Committee meetings on two days of the week.

Approved at a recent OLT hearing for 27 storeys. Traffic will enter the underground parking from John.

One item that will get discussed is the 26 story tower that was approved at a recent Ontario Land Tribunal meeting recently.

It will have a major impact on one of the more popular watering holes in the city.

The NoFrills Plaza on the North side of the site will get developed at some point.  The thinking has been to move to supermarket closer to Brant Street with underground parking, some resident at the rear and a pathway along Rambo Creek which is on the eastern side of the site.

Mark Bales, the tough guy for most of the Carriage Gate developments is on the OLT appeal as representing Carriage Gate.

The development contemplates a mixed use development, including a 27-storey mixed use building (inclusive of a mechanical penthouse and elevator machine room) and a maximum of 259 residential units. The development includes retail / commercial / office uses on the ground floor and a maximum permitted height of 90 metres

 

 

This part of the city will look a lot different in five years. Someone will pick up the Joe Dogs site, it is owned by a pharmacist in Brampton whose interests are in renting properties – not in developing.

The tower will rise to the north of Joe Dogs – how they will manage to operate with construction taking place – not yards but literally inches away will be interesting.

Never one to miss a photo op, ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns lives a block to the west of the development site.

It’s a ward two development which will have Councillor Lisa Kearns all over the decision. Kearns sees that is as her turf – it will be interesting to hear what she has to say.

John Street, at the rear of the development, is not actually a street – officially it is a lane that some want to see pushed north right up to Victoria.

The two red lines show the boundary of the development. Joe Dogs isn’t inside those two red lines.

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Greenbelt protesters - not some rag tag group.

By Staff

September 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Doug Ford government is doing every thing it can to convince the public that Greenbelt lands might be needed to achieve the 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

The public accepts that 1.5 million homes are needed – but they don’t buy into using Greenbelt lands to make it happen.

There isn’t an opportunity to cast a ballot until 2026 but there are opportunities galore to protest.

And protest they did:

This is not a rag tag crowd – this is one of those occasions where size does matter.

Some of the locations where demonstrations are taking place are set out below:

Tuesday, Sept. 12th
Barrie – Grace United Church – 7:00-8:30 PM
Featuring special guest speakers: David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto and former chair of Greenbelt Council; Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada; Margaret Prophet, SCGC; Franz Hartman, Alliance for a Liveable Ontario.
RSVP Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uniting-for-a-sustainable-future-public-forum-on-the-greenbelt-tickets-699659128287?aff=new

Thursday, Sept. 14th
Ancaster – Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre – 5:30-8:00 PM

Saturday, Sept. 16th
Toronto – Queen’s Park – 11:00 AM
This rally is part of a globally coordinated action to demand that governments end fossil fuels – fast, fair, and forever.

Sunday, Sept. 17th
Newmarket – Intersection Yonge and Mulock – 11:00 AM – 1:00pm
Marching to MPP Gallagher Murphy’s office to deliver letters and petition for government to take better action to stop climate change.

Saturday, Sept. 23rd
Richmond Hill – Richmond Green Sports Centre and Park – 1:00-3:00 PM

Facebook Event Page:

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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What's the average number of Phishing emails sent per day?

By Pepper Parr

September 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The call it phishing.

A process that has someone trying to trick you into giving them some of your personal data and getting you to open an email that will do you nothing but harm.

How many of these do you get – and do you recognize them for what they are.

There is now some data on just how many of these things get sent out.
Malware Bytes, a service that we use to protect the Gazette web site.

Phishing is a type of cybercrime where hackers and cybercriminals trick others by pretending to be trustworthy sources to steal sensitive information like passwords or credit card details. They do this through fake emails, websites, or messages that look real.

Phishing uses tricks to manipulate people into sharing private information. To stay safe, it’s important to be aware of phishing tactics and verify requests to avoid falling for scams.

Send your guess to: publisher@bgzt.ca (that my address at the Gazette).  I’ll tally the answers and report back to you on Sunday.  The BGZT domain is an abbreviation for Burlington Gazette

 

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What does all the Greenbelt kafuffle mean to Burlington - not much unless a developer decides to get an MZO to build north of Dundas

By Pepper Parr

September 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wham, wham, wham, and wham and wham again.

Auditor General’s report
Integrity Commissioner’s Report
Premier and his Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing stand tough.
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing resigns
And the continued drip, drip, drip from the media is as they look for a Mr. X.

What does it all mean to Burlington? Immediately not all that much – the City Planning department could use a solid definition of just what affordable housing is and what is meant by attainable ? With that information some thinking and whatever creativity there is at Planning, Council and within the community can emerge.

None of the 15 sites that were taken out of the Greenbelt were within Burlington boundaries. However, there are a number of sites in Burlington that are cleared for development – but there isn’t a shovel with in a kilometre of a GO station – which is where this City Council wants to see the growth taking place.
In what the Mayor calls he Pipeline to Permits collection of data she said:

Burlington is committed to doing our share to meet the challenges of the housing crisis – so young people, newcomers, families, seniors, and everyone can call our fine city home. Burlington has an unprecedented 38,219 units in our development pipeline — everything from pre-consultation with developers for their land, up to approved units. Of note: there are currently 3,642 approved units, with another 3,112 waiting for site plan applications from builders. There are an additional 7,948 tied up at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Currently, the City of Burlington has under active building permit review, a total of 1,863 housing units.

Does the number of appeals at the OLT add up to a good excuse for the delay in developments seeing shovels in the ground?

The CSL site to the west of the Burlington GO station has some small site plan issues that need resolving.

There were no Official Plan problems with the application – no zoning issues either. Site plan differences are supposedly holding this one up.

The Molinaro development at the intersection of Brant and Ghent has yet to see any equipment on any of the properties.

Will the need for housing result in any movement on the Eagle Height opportunity?

What about the Bronte Meadows site where Upper Middle Road become Burloak Road – will there be any movement on that site?

Will the Emshie property at Guelph Line and Harvester Road be looked at differently?  Dr. Shie has been looking for a way to develop that site for a long time. We wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t already held a meeting with his planning consultants to consider what there might be in the way of options now that the Premier and his new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has said this is a crisis and we are determined to build that 1.5 million homes by 2031.

Premier Ford with Mayor Meed Ward: He did say she was a good person but that the City’s development record was dismal.

Burlington was singled out by the Premier for its dismal development performance. The Mayor and the Premier were going to have a conversation – no word on how that went from Mayor Meed Ward.

All the players are saying that going forward decisions will be based on planning principles – not politics. Development in Ontario is now a political issue – that has to be resolved if Doug Ford expects a third term in office.

Will the changes that are going to take place give Mayor Meed Ward an opportunity to reshape her public profile and find a way to depend less on photo ops and be in a position to make announcements that can polish and restore the image ?

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing wants to see development now so that the 2031 target of 1.5 million new homes can be met. Can Burlington help?

After listening to Paul Calandra, the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing did a Q&A with Queen’s Park media one couldn’t help with the sense that any idea that is reasonable will be warmly welcomed and whatever rules or regulations are holding things up – will get a more than a hug from the province.

The provincial government needs a couple of wins and Burlington just might be where that win takes place.

In one of her statements Meed Ward said: “This is the reality on the ground in Burlington that isn’t reflected in the housing permit numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Developers are investing in Burlington in record numbers. We’ll do our part to ensure planning and permits are in place so they can build.

“Council has unanimously adopted the Province’s housing pledge of 29,000 units by 2031, and I have no doubt that we will be able to issue permits for that amount, given what’s in our pipeline.

“We’re developing a plan to accelerate our permits. We’ll have more details to come on that.”

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United Way gears up for the launch of its 2023-24 campaign.

By Pepper Parr

September 9th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Next Saturday the United Way will hold their Big Pull – it’s the Kick Off event for the 2023-24  fund raising campaign.

At this point there are 15 groups registered for the event that has each group pulling a 200,000 lbs Airbus 50 yards along the tarmac at the Hamilton International Airport.

Brad Park, President & CEO OF United Way Halton & Hamilton.

Brad Park, President & CEO OF United Way Halton & Hamilton and his team are geared up for what will be a multi-month fund raising drive.

Brad points out that one in every six people in the Region have used a United Way service; that amount to 143,000 people who have had their lives impacted in some way by a United Way service.

Everyone knows about the United Way – it is almost taken for granted – which is part of the problem. Is as recognized is as the organization it – the funds that are needed to deliver those services don’t just fall off the back of a truck.

United Way is seen is as the service that holds communities together.

Seven years ago a decision was made to merge all the local United Way groups in the Halton Region – Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills and Hamilton into what is now known is as UWHH  –  United Way Hamilton Halton.

Pulling all these individual units together into one large organization meant that the back end services were combined: payroll, basic administration, grant distribution were now one – that resulted in lower costs and in the end better administration.

Park said that at first he wasn’t sure the amalgamation was the best opportunity to streamline the services. At the time he headed up the then Oakville United Way. It didn’t take Park long to realize the upside benefits with relatively few downside problems.

Brad Park, left, with Milton Mayor Gord Krantz

Park now heads up that single administrative organization – he is working within a much bigger picture. The problems in Burlington are not the same is as those in Milton – but the solutions are much the same. Resources from a bigger organization can be moved from community to community with a focus on just where they are needed.

The smaller administrative units didn’t always have the skill sets they needed. With the one organization – there is now much more depth.

“Scale has made a difference” said Park who has been part of United Way in some shape or form for 28 years. He started out giving his Mother a hand – she was part of United Way when he was a boy. “I was stuffing envelopes at the age of 10” he said.

Park did an Arts degree at Guelph University – majored in economics and expected to work somewhere in the corporate sector. Finding a job when he graduated was not is as easy is as he expected. His Mother suggested he help her out and he never left.

He started out in 1995 at the United Way of Cambridge and North Dumfries; spent a good decade as Campaign Director and went on to lead the Brant United Way as Executive Director in 2010 for two years, then took on the CEO of United Way Oakville in 2012, prior to amalgamation. In 2017, an amalgamation  brought Milton, Halton Hills, Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton into one United Way.  Park was appointed CEO of that entity in 2017. “So currently, this is my 29th year with United Way. Between my mother and I, there is almost 70 years of service to the community through United Way.”

Coming out of a pandemic “the UWHH is at the threshold of a new chapter in the community’s journey as they approach the launch of the 2023-2024 Campaign.”

Fifteen people need to pull the plane 50 yards.

The Plane Pull event symbolizes the collective strength and determination as teams come together to pull an airplane. Cogeco Inc. and TD are sponsors of the event this year.

Park said that “Through the 106 local programs and services, we have touched the lives of over 143,562 families and neighbours, providing crucial support and guidance. By focusing on local needs and basing our strategies on evidence, we mobilize our partners to create coordinated, connected, and seamless programs and services that address needs at their source.

“The crucial social services and resources across our local communities have been stretched beyond capacity with ever-increasing demand. we need your support and partnership to make a lasting difference.

“With every dollar raised this year, we create a ripple effect of positive change, improving the lives of those in need and ensuring a more equitable and thriving future for all.”

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One Charitable Organization Supporting Others - Performing Arts spreads its wings

By Staff

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is a little different.

Register HERE

They’ve chosen the largest open space at the Performing Arts Centre – the paid bar makes the event attractive to some.

Performing Arts Centre Executive Director Tammy Fox explains what she has put together this way: “I am always thinking of new ways to engage the community, to support causes that are important to the social fabric of our society and to increase awareness of The Burlington Performing Arts Centre and our incredible line-up of performers. Imagine my excitement in launching a brand-new initiative that accomplishes all three goals at once!

The Dare to be Youth people have a laudable mission message.

We will follow up with group and learn more about their what and why.

Tickets to the event are free: Register HERE

 

 

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Karina Gould: 'Stop by, say Hi

By Staff

September 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington MP Karina Gould has a few words for her constituents:

Dear friends, I hope everyone has had a wonderful summer and while the return to school and parliament are on the horizon, I was pleased to get to spend so much time in Burlington the past couple of months. I was delighted to host my annual Seniors Symposium, welcoming over 100 seniors in Burlington to share their thoughts on issues that matter to them as well as hear from experts and engage with community partners.

Burlington MP Karina Gould on her way to the Swearing in ceremony where she was named Government House Leader in the House of Commons.

I am very pleased to confirm that the Electoral Boundaries Commission listened to the voices of Burlingtonians and will not be changing the boundaries of our riding in the next election. Good work, Burlington and thank you to all who spoke up and participated!

With inflation and affordability on everyone’s mind these days, I’m pleased to share two important initiatives from the Federal Government that helped ease the burden on households in our community: the one-time Grocery Rebate, up to $467 for a family of four that went out on July 5th  and the increase to the Canada Child Benefit that took effect on July 20th.

This year, eligible families can receive up to $7,437 per child under that age of 6. I understand these are difficult and anxious times, and while inflation is impacting the whole world, the Federal government is acting to help with the high costs of living for Canadians right now.

July also saw a job change for me! While I adored my time as Minister of Families, Children and Social Development – and couldn’t be prouder of delivering affordable childcare for Canadians – the Prime Minister has asked me to take on a new role as the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. This will see me focused on delivering the Government’s legislative agenda and continuing to improve the lives, livelihoods and well-being of Canadians through legislation.

I hope to see you around town over the coming weeks with lots of community events in September. Please stop by to say hi and share your thoughts with me.

Karina announced earlier this year that she is pregnant with a second child – due sometime in January.

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Burlington Bulls were the Triple A 8U OBA Champions

By Pepper Parr

September 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With a 35-5-1 on the season the Burlington Bulls were certainly doing something right.

They played just is as well – even better – when they got to the Ontario Baseball Championships played out during the Labour Day weekend.

This is a group of boys that deserve to be watched. Great scoring record this season.

OBAs are the best 16 teams in Ontario competing for the championship. Played in Toronto all Labour Day weekend.

They beat Kitchener 8-5 in the final

The Bulls are A Triple A baseball team – 7 and 8 year old kids(2015 birth years) coached by 21 year old non-parent coach Phill Jankulovski

The team won all 3 tournaments they played in(including the OBAs)

Clearly a team to watch.

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Environmental Defence and Other Groups in Ontario to Rally Against Greenbelt Removals

By Staff

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In early November, 2022, the provincial government announced Bill 23 (“More Homes Built Faster Act”), the rollback of forward-thinking municipal plans in Halton and Hamilton, and the removal of 7,400 acres of protected land from the Greenbelt to build sprawl.

Public opposition to these attacks on Ontario’s environment is surging. Following the revelations by Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, and those of the Auditor General earlier this month, activists across the province began organizing another round of rallies to emphasize the urgency for protecting Ontario’s forests, farms and wetlands.

Local Activists will hold a rally during Ford Fest on Friday, September 8th to loudly voice opposition to removals of land from the Greenbelt and other issues. More rallies in the province will take place in the days following this action, with a full list below. Interviews can be arranged with local activists upon request.

WHAT: A series of “Hands Off The Greenbelt” rallies across the province, including the Premier’s Ford Fest in Kitchener, Queen’s Park in Toronto and MPP Christine Hogarth’s Office in Etobicoke. New events are being registered every day.

WHERE: A map of all events, with additional information about each event, is available here: https://environmentaldefence.ca/handsoffthegreenbelt/

WHEN: September 8th-23rd. Exact times and dates vary by location.

Friday, Sept. 8th

Kitchener – 425 Bingemans Centre Drive – 4:00 PM
Greenbelt Rally: Unions, teachers, nurses, political parties, health coalitions and environmental groups will be there.

Saturday, Sept. 9th

Etobicoke – MPP Christine Hogarth’s Office – 2:00-3:00 PM

Tuesday, Sept. 12th

Barrie – Grace United Church – 7:00-8:30 PM
Featuring special guest speakers: David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto and former chair of Greenbelt Council; Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada; Margaret Prophet, SCGC; Franz Hartman, Alliance for a Liveable Ontario.

RSVP Here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/uniting-for-a-sustainable-future-public-forum-on-the-greenbelt-tickets-699659128287?aff=new

Thursday, Sept. 14th

Ancaster – Ancaster Memorial Arts Centre – 5:30-8:00 PM

Saturday, Sept. 16th
Toronto – Queen’s Park – 11:00 AM

This rally is part of a globally coordinated action to demand that governments end fossil fuels – fast, fair, and forever.

Sunday, Sept. 17th

Newmarket – Intersection Yonge and Mulock – 11:00 AM – 1:00pm
Marching to MPP Gallagher Murphy’s office to deliver letters and petition for government to take better action to stop climate change.

Saturday, Sept. 23rd

Richmond Hill – Richmond Green Sports Centre and Park – 1:00-3:00 PM

Facebook Event Page:

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

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New Minister changed name plate on his office door - got away before he had to deal with an awkward Coroner's report that said 4335 residents and 13 LTC staff died from Covid19

By Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We have now heard from the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – he used to be the Minister of Long Term Care.

New Minister – Paul Calandra – During his media event yesterday – no one asked a question about how well he did at Long Term Care. Coroner’s report suggests he did a terrible job.

How well did he do at that job.

Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles wasn’t impressed and shared the following:

The Ford government failed Ontario’s seniors during the pandemic; the latest Ombudsman report confirms, finding that Ontario’s Long-Term Care inspection system “collapsed during the deadly first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls riding), NDP critic for Long-Term Care (LTC), released the following statement:

“Ford’s absolute failure to protect seniors during the pandemic contributed to an unconscionable wave of deaths in Long-Term Care. Today, we learned that many of these deaths were preventable.

“The safeguards meant to protect seniors failed entirely. Under this government’s watch, inspectors did little or nothing to hold these homes accountable. And thousands of our friends, parents and grandparents died.

“Make no mistake – the Ford Conservatives axed the level of LTC inspections when they took office, leaving the system already strained when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. They failed to respond to the clear crisis with the appropriate level of urgency and commitment. They also passed legislation to protect LTC operators from facing consequences.”

Paul Calandra was the Long Term Care Minister at the time.

The Ombudsman found that 4335 residents and 13 LTC staff died between March 2020 and April 2022.

Read the Ombudsman’s report on LTC here. 

The Ombudsman’s report found that the Ministry of Long-Term Care:

During this crisis, Ford passed the LTC file like a hot potato from Merrilee Fullerton to Rod Phillips, and finally to Paul Calandra (who has just been promoted to Housing Minister). None of them were able to work on serious solutions.

A quick peak at how Calandra was depicted by media:

Paul Calandra as the new Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs – a critically important file in the middle of a housing crisis with little in the way of relevant experience other than being infamous for misdirection.

Calandra’s qualifications as deflector-in-chief include:

  • In 2012, he was Stephen Harper’s shield from the Senate Scandal (Calandra’s non-answers gained so much notoriety they inspired a joke generator of meaningless talking points)
  • In 2014, he refused to answer so many questions about Canada’s involvement in Iraq, the Globe and Mail’s exasperated response was: “to call Mr. Calandra a clown is to do a disservice to the ancient profession of painted-face buffoonery”
  • In 2015, CBC’s Peter Mansbridge coined Calandra’s non-answers as ‘The Full Calandra’, following an interview about Mike Duffy’s trial

 

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Brock University expert shares children’s mental health tips for new school year

By Staff

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As children head back to school this week, Danielle Sirianni Molnar says it’s important to ensure they have more than just the proper school supplies.

The Brock University Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies and Canada Research Chair in Adjustment and Well-Being in Children and Youth says the changes that come with returning to school can lead to varying outcomes for children’s mental health.

A close watch on changes in a child’s behaviour helps parents understand when a child is having a difficult time.

“For some kids, back to school impacts them in a positive way, as they enjoy school, its routines and seeing their friends and teachers,” she says. “However, for others adjusting to being back in school is difficult and can negatively impact their mental health, especially for children who may not feel comfortable with their peers, have difficulties meeting the school’s academic expectations or have pre-existing mental health problems such as anxiety or depression that can hamper the ability to adapt to significant changes in their lives.”

For children who find the return to school more challenging, Sirianni Molnar says there is a key strategy they can use to maintain their mental health during the school year.

“One important strategy kids can use is to create routines that work for them that include eating healthy meals at regular intervals throughout the day, maintaining a healthy and consistent sleep schedule and scheduling consistent times for extracurricular activities and homework,” she says. “Routines are important for all kids because it gives them a sense of security, but they are particularly helpful for kids who are experiencing anxiety because routines reduce uncertainty, which fuels anxiety.”

While children are encouraged to pay attention to their routines, Sirianni Molnar says parents also play a critical role in providing positive mental health support by looking for changes in their children’s behaviour for a sustained period of time, including alterations in eating, sleeping and physical activity levels, or if they are engaging less with friends, family or activities they were once passionate about.

“It is especially important to recognize if these changes are affecting their academics, relationships with family and friends or their participation in their extracurricular activities,” she says. “Parents should also be on the lookout for pronounced increases in irritability, sadness, worry or anger as these may be a signal that a child is struggling with their mental health.”

Along with identifying if their child is struggling, the second step parents can take is regular communication, though this can be uncomfortable at first, Sirianni Molnar says.

“One suggestion for parents is to try and lessen the directness of the conversation by bringing up the topic of mental health when engaged in another activity,” she says.

For example, rather than sitting down face to face and having a formal discussion at the table, it may make the child feel less self-conscious by talking while going out for a hike, doing a household chore like folding laundry or for young children, playing with toys.

Playing with a child creates an opportunity to ask questions in a round about way to draw out any concerns, fears, issues the child might have at school.

“It is key that parents are approachable and ensure their children know that they are cared for and that they matter at all times,” she says. “Often, parents want to solve all of their children’s problems for them, but sometimes it is important for parents to simply listen and validate their children’s concerns.”

With these strategies in mind, Sirianni Molnar says a final step is for parents and kids to always seek additional help when it is needed.

“If parents have urgent concerns about their child’s mental health, they should reach out for professional help as soon as possible, such as local health-care providers or hospitals to ensure the safety of their children,” she says.

Danielle Sirianni Molnar

Danielle Sirianni Molnar, Brock University Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies and Canada Research Chair in Adjustment and Well-Being in Children and Youth.

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New Minister of Housing sticks to the Premiers' lead: 1.5 million homes by 2031 - some could be built on former Greenbelt land

By Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Paul Calandra told a group of media that: In fact as the premier stated yesterday, we’ve seen more home starts, new home starts over the last two years than we had seen in 30 years.

It was quickly evident that Calandra was going to follow the lead the Premier set the day before: home, home, home – 1.5 million if you were asking.

Calandra: “The Premier has directed me to begin a further review of the Greenbelt that was scheduled for a review by 2025.

As the newly appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Calandra said “It is a very important commitment that we’ve made to build 1.5 million homes across the province of Ontario by 2031. It is something that the premier has reiterated to me before I took the job. He also said to me that it is important that all of the work that we do is done in a manner that maintains the public trust.

“The Premier has directed me to begin a further review of the Greenbelt that was scheduled for a review by 2025 as part of the legislation that was put in place when it was created.

“We will begin that review very soon. I’ve spoke to my deputy minister yesterday and asked her to put in place a fulsome review of the Greenbelt to give me options for that review to ensure that it is a public open and accountable process.  Once I have that I will be coming to you – that review will start very, very soon.

“The review will include the 14 parcels of land that were removed from the Greenbelt. AgainI reiterated my commitment to ensuring that we get shovels in the ground, but also to ensuring that on the 14 sitesthe facilitator will continue her work – that work must include significant community benefits.

“Community developments have to include roads, schools, community centers, hospitals, and a protection of any natural heritage features within those sites. Once that work is completed – I’m hoping to have it completed by the end of the year – we will make that public. We will ensure that you have access to what it is that we are considering on those sites. And that will then be fed into the full review of the Greenbelt that will be underway by that point.

“So it’s two levels of accountability. At the same time, I will be moving to ensure that there are additional accountability measures moving forward.

“I’ve asked the Department to give me recommendations and options to revise the ministerial zoning order policy (MZO).

“I want to be able to restrict the transfer or sale of lands and make this retroactive to 2018. I want to ensure that any lands that have been rezoned using an MZO  for the purpose of meeting our goals of building 1.5 million homes are used for that purpose.

“At the same time and speaking with a number of our municipal partners. I have heard more than once as I’m sure many of you have the need to look at a new policy. Have a use it or lose it. We have heard far too often how the really the extraordinary good work that our municipal partners do and their time and resources that they spend in moving forward on development proposals, only to have developers sit on those allocations of water and sewage.

“I’m working with my department and I’ve instructed them to bring forward a use it or lose it policy. The Premier has said and all of us have acknowledged we are in a housing crisis. We have to put shovels in the ground and we are relying on our partners in the development industry to get those shovels in the ground faster.

“I will also be looking at further options for speculation and cancellation penalties that will be implemented through the fall economic statement. I also want to work with the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery to look at additional consumer protections. I’m looking at options for increased penalties for cancellation of purchase agreements and increased penalties for extortion of purchase agreement and I also want to work with the Minister of Finance to potentially increase the non resident speculation tax 

“We already have the highest tax in Canada, but we’re looking to see if we can make that even fair. So these are a whole suite of measures that that we are bringing in place to ensure not only the highest level of accountability in the process to re to build public trust, but at the same time to be able to live up to our commitment of building 1.5 million homes across the province of Ontario working with our municipal partners to respect the work they are doing and putting the development community on notice that bad actors will not be tolerated.

“Our intention to build is to build homes for the people of the province; all types of homes. We expect shovels in the ground and want our partners to work with us to get that done. And with that I’m pleased to take any questions.”

Reporters awaiting the arrival of the newly appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Reporter: Not much has been said about what the actual parameters the actual criteria for this review. Will be one review could be where I build housing everywhere we’re in a crisis, one review might be one criteria might be let’s look at the original goals of the Greenbelt environmental sensitivity and all that. We don’t know much about that.

And when you also haven’t mentioned the 800 applications that the premier mentioned yesterday, several times existing many long standing applicants was to remove that he said they’d all be looked at so this review actually where else can we chop up the Greenbelt review or what is it?

Minister: Well, look, it’s a mandatory review that had to take place as we said by 2025 accelerating that to to begin almost immediately. I will ask the department to give me a full suite of recommendations how that review can take place. As I said it will be a full open and accountable process it will look at the entirety of the Greenbelt. There really might be lands that need to be added to the Greenbelt there may be some some lands that are removed but it will be a fair and open process that will live up to the spirit of the original intent of the Greenbelt.

Reporter: That review will say these 14 sites, some of them don’t make the kind of 100% back in … and that you’re committing now?

Calandra: I’ve asked the facilitator to complete her work by the by the end of the year.

Minister: I want to I want to be clear on this. So the provincial facilitator, I’ve given the provincial facilitator a clear mandate as to what I expect to happen with these these 14 sites – it’s very, very clear.

We’re building communities I expect significant community benefits on these lands. I expect the natural heritage and the natural heritage features on these lands to be protected. I will make that public. Her work. I will make it public when it is completed and then I will feed that work into the review of the Greenbelt that will be commenced sooner rather than later.

Reporter: The Rouge lands should have been left as agriculture as they had been for decades. 

Minister: Look, I’m not going to I’m not going to presuppose what the work of the review is. What’s important is that we come up with a framework that is open and accountable. that respects the intention of of what we want to accomplish both not only in building 1.5 million homes, but also in preserving our natural heritage.

Reporter: Sorry, you’re saying that even if there is some significant construction on these lands, and your review process then determines that these lands should have been in the Greenbelt? What happened is that would you stop construction and revert the lands? Yeah.

Minister: Good question. Look, the reality is that I’ve asked the facilitator to complete her work by the by the end of the year. At that point, I will certainly make the results of her work. Shovels in the ground by 2025 is what my expectation is on those sites, but if they don’t meet the requirements under the Greenbelt review, as well, as I said that the mandated Greenbelt review, then they will not proceed and we will remove those lands from the Greenbelt at the same at the same time, as we said, on MZO  on speculation, we will not hesitate to remove lands whether it’s an MZO if they do not meet our goals of building 1.5 million homes. We will take action on both on those developers and on the on the on the process of language.

Reporters putting questions to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Reporter: Can you tell us what kind of screens you have put in your office to ensure that no one in your office has any direct communications or contacts or receives any kind of USB keys or packages from members of the development community?

Is there a hard cinder block wall now between your office and developers ?

Minister: The Premier was extraordinarily clear to me on what his expectations were. It took some time to read some of the recommendations in the auditor general’s report. And I will ensure by working with my deputy and in my team at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that we have a process that is public, that is open that is meets the highest ethical standards –  that includes myself and my office.

Reporter: Are you implementing any kind of wall here? Is there any instruction from you to your staff to not have any communications with developers. The chief of staff was named in the integrity commissioners report as having dinner with those in the development community. How are you going to prevent that from happening? What policies are you putting in place?

Minister: Once I undertake the review of the Greenbelt I will ask the Department to give me recommendations on how that review should proceed. And I will follow what the department has put in place at the same time. I expect everybody, my colleagues, myself reach out to the Integrity Commissioner to ensure the highest standards are met.  It’s been the way I’ve governed myself and that’s the way I continue to govern myself and have the exact same expectations of people that work with me.

Reporter: Are instructions you’re giving to municipalities contradictory here because on the one hand, I understand from mayors and local planning conditionals, that the province is negotiating community benefits, that they’re still going forward with planning the urban Boundary Expansion, some of which, which does go into land and the Greenbelt. And now you’re also doing the review. Isn’t that creating a greater degree of uncertainty for freedom municipality, and a lot more work for them to do down the line?

Minister: No, I think just the opposite – local municipalities that are assisting us with the provincial facilitators work right now have been very cooperative with us. But we have heard that if we are going to be building 1.5 million homes across the province of Ontario we have to get this work underway. Look, we’ve done a lot of work in the lead up to this with, you know, transit oriented communities or housing supply action plans every single year to move to move the obstacles to route to remove obstacles and help us facilitate our desire to build these 1.5 million homes by reviewing the Greenbelt.

Moving it up sooner helps to alleviate some of the pressures that might have been built up in the system. So I actually think it is it is the right time to do it. And we can gather all of that information from our municipal partners at the same time. I think they all share the same goal. I don’t think anybody has disagreed that we need to build homes across the province of Ontario. I think we’re all unified on that. My municipal partners are unified when I’m out in my community. People are saying we need more homes. People are nervous about it. I think we can do it in a way that rebuilds public trust.  But the ultimate goal is to build homes for people, and we will work with our partners and we will get that done.

Reporter: There’s an overwhelming sense that people don’t want building on the Greenbelt, your government is down in the polls. Why not follow that 15th recommendation for the Auditor General the premier didn’t mention yesterday and at least return these 14-15 sites to the Greenbelt. Now.

Minister: To be clear, what we are doing is we’re moving forward with the provincial facilitator and have asked her to continue her work that she has started, and I will submit her work after making it public.

I will submit her work to the Greenbelt review that will be underway by the ministry. I’ve asked the ministry to give me options for how that review would take place. It should be open and public. And it should allow us to have the highest accountability and public input as possible. So not only will that work continue with the provincial facilitator, but it will also then be submitted to the Greenbelt review that we are undertaking. 

Reporter: Is the government committing right now to not issue any of those until that review is done.

Minister: I want to have a review. I want to make sure that the MZOs that were issued for the purposes that we’ve established them to do.

When I was Minister of Long Term Care I asked for an MZO to help me build a long term care home where I ran into obstacles with municipal partners who just didn’t want long term care home for one reason or another. I’ve asked for a municipal zoning order so to help me on that way so no, they’re still an important tool but when it comes to our progress to building 1.5 million homes, I think we are very clear to our partners in the development industry when we issue an EMS it is used to help us gain makeup ground on building those 1.5 million homes.

That’s what they’re issued for. And that’s what we expect our partners to use them for at the same time. I think equally important I’ve heard it constantly from our municipal partners how much work they put into this, when they when they take the plans from from developers, the allocations of sewer and water and then the developer does nothing with the permit and sits on that and then thereby restricting other developments down the line. That is not acceptable to us. It is a waste of of taxpayers money is a waste of resources and does nothing to help us build 1.5 million homes. So we are putting the development community on notice as well. That we will be moving with a use it or lose it policy. At the same time that we have it we have a goal we want to build these homes. We’re going to build the homes. We will meet our targets and we will make progress on this.

Reporter: Is it possible more lands could be opened up for development during this review ?

Minister: I’m not going to presuppose,  I’m agnostic on what the final resolution will be. I think the outer agenda was very clear that politics should be removed from the process; that a thorough review should be undertaken. That was the mandate of the legislation when it was introduced. And that was what the tenure review is all about. We will put a fair open process in place to provide the accountability but and public participation in the process. And we will remove it in terms of being political decisions to one that are made with the support and assistance of our of the public service but more importantly, with people and rebuilds public trust in the process

Reporter: Who is responsible for the collapse of public trust in this process. He’s at fault for what has happened here

Minister: As I said in my opening, opening remarks, Minister Clark has put forward proposals to help us alleviate the pressures that we’re seeing on building across the province of Ontario, where there’s transit oriented communities each and every year a housing supply action plan that we as a government we as a cabinet and as a caucus have always supported.

We are in an incredible challenge right now. We have to build homes in every part of this province. And he has done remarkable work on that having said that, having said that it is very clear that the process that was undertaken for the initial 14 sites was not one that can be supported. And is not one that that builds public trust.

Calandra: I have to be honest with you I will not be stopped on our mission and building 1.5 million homes – this is a priority for us.

That is why we’re undertaking the the review of the Greenbelt. Now that is why the work of the provincial facilitator just to be clear, the work of the provincial facilitator right now will be made public and will be then further subject to the Greenbelt review.

But I will not be stopped I have to be honest with you I will not be stopped on our mission and building 1.5 million homes – this is a priority for us. And we will remove obstacles and we’ll find ways to do it. But we will do it in a way that ensures that we retain the public trust every single step and acknowledge that he is responsible for what has happened.

Reporter: How can we trust that you will do anything differently than he has done?

Minister: Look, I have the benefit of an auditor general recommendations. The premier has given me a clear direction on what his expectations are of me:  first and foremost, to build, 1.5 million homes to ensure that the height of that we rebuild public trust where it is required, but at the same time to ensure that we conduct that we hold everybody accountable. We’re going to hold developers accountable for the work that they’re committing to do for us whether it’s through EMS or whether it’s through the planning process. We are going to ensure that any changes that are made to the Greenbelt are done in an open and accountable way. This is this is an opportunity for us across the province to to really start to make even more significant headway and helping reach our goal of 1.5 million homes.

I’m actually quite optimistic of what we can do. We’re listening to our municipal partners who look at moi heard this constantly. You know, we, you we do all of this work. We put significant resources into getting permits, and then a developer will sit on that allocation for years and not get anything done. And then you we as provincial government come to them and say, move on. Let’s get it going. Let’s get it going. Let’s let’s build more homes.

We are responding to that today by putting the developers on notice that we’re gonna do that we can always have better processes. Absolutely. But that’s why I think they review the Greenbelt right now. Makes sense, right so that I can put those 14 parcels that were removed already, under the microscope, have a review as well, both in terms of what we are wanting to accomplish. And both in terms of what the Greenbelt review would do.

Reporter: You mentioned a number of things you’re having to speed up home, use it or lose it but there’s still so much stuff in the housing affordability Task Force, whether it be four storeys on every street, six to 11 on transit routes, limited by the major transit areas. Why isn’t that?

Minister: Look, I don’t disagree. There’s more work to be done on that. And an undertaking to review that as well and and I will, I will be happy to come back to you with some of the progress in the near future that we release it. I’ll go with you.

Reporters from media across the province take part in these sessions where questions are asked often with follow up questions. If one reporter doesn’t get the answer they were looking for a different reporter follows up.

Reporter: When you sat in cabinet and these 15 sites were brought to you did you have any questions?

Minister: To be completely clear, I was very supportive of removing lands for the purposes of meeting our goal of building 1.5 million homes. I think we can accomplish the goal of building 1.5 million homes while respecting our natural heritage at the same time. I’m very familiar with this. The site obviously it’s it’s in my backyard. I was a federal Member of Parliament in that area.

When we brought in the Rouge National Urban Park I was a federal member, the very same parties that are now there’s screaming and hollering about this all voted against the creation of the Rouge national urban park because they wanted to reforest the area. In fact, the provincial government at the time refused to transfer the lands into the Rouge National Urban urban park. The Liberals when they were in office were the only government that that evicted farmers from my riding.

Rouge National Urban Park

It’s unacceptable to me frankly. My own daughter thinks she will never have the chance to buy or rent a home that it’s out of reach. I think we can we can manage both right? I really do. I think we can manage both. I’m very optimistic about where we can go on this. I think we can manage our natural heritage while meeting the goals of building 1.5 million homes.

I thank you all thank you very much for being here today. Appreciate it.

And with that the Minister left the podium.

While Calandra put on a decent presentation and held his own with the media the New Democrat leader at Queen’s Park wasn’t impresed.  Maritt Stiles sets out part of the Calandra record of achievement:

Paul Calandra as the new Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs – a critically important file in the middle of a housing crisis with little in the way of relevant experience other than being infamous for misdirection.

Calandra’s qualifications as deflector-in-chief include:

  • In 2012, he was Stephen Harper’s shield from the Senate Scandal (Calandra’s non-answers gained so much notoriety they inspired a joke generator of meaningless talking points)
  • In 2014, he refused to answer so many questions about Canada’s involvement in Iraq, the Globe and Mail’s exasperated response was: “to call Mr. Calandra a clown is to do a disservice to the ancient profession of painted-face buffoonery”
  • In 2015, CBC’s Peter Mansbridge coined Calandra’s non-answers as ‘The Full Calandra’, following an interview about Mike Duffy’s trial

Stiles said: “Ford is playing games and shuffling the deck chairs because he is cynical, and he thinks Ontarians are too.  But Ontarians are smarter than that – they’re engaged and angry at Ford’s government. And they won’t be distracted by these cheap tricks meant to obfuscate and distract. “

 

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Another free tree giveaway - 500 trees to be handed out September 23rd

By Staff

September 7th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The always popular Fall Tree Giveaway is taking place again on September 23rd.

As part of the event, the City is giving away 500 trees of various species to Burlington residents to plant on their private property.

The giveaway is free. In order to receive a tree, residents must register in advance, show proof of registration upon arriving and have a vehicle to safely transport the tree. Quantities are limited. Residents are entitled to one tree per household.

Event details
Date: Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 (rain or shine)
Location: Roads, Parks and Forestry Operations Centre parking lot, 897 Cumberland Ave., Burlington

Time: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pick-up time is dependent on the species selected.

Registration opens on Friday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m. For details regarding available tree species and registration information, visit Get Involved Burlington.

The city event is tied into National Forest Week. National Forest Week  Sept. 17-23, an event  that is recognized across Canada to raise awareness about the ways forests contribute to our economy, culture, traditions and history.

Trees being planted at Tuck Park. Photo from City

This is the second free tree giveaway in 2023. Earlier this year, the City gave away 500 trees in the spring as part of the City’s Arbor Day/Earth Day celebration.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry

In 2022, the City of Burlington planted over 4,000 trees, with2,450 trees being planted through Community Supported planting initiatives.

This is an event that reflects what municipal participation with citizens can look like.  Staff have organized it very very well.  By asking people to register they will know where the person lives and the best kind of tree to be planted in their part of the city.  Kudos to whoever put this together.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry explains: “Placing trees in a location that suits their health is important to the long-term sustainability and protection of our urban forest. By providing a variety of tree species for residents to choose from and equipping them with resources to help them make informed decisions about which trees are suitable for their property, we are not only enhancing the beauty of our neighborhoods, but also ensuring each tree will flourish for years to come.”

Links and Resources
• For event details, visit Calendar of Events – Fall Tree Giveaway
To register, visit Get Involved Burlington on Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.
• For information about National Forest Week, visit www.cif-ifc.org/national-forest-week

 

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Burlington Public Library to Host Mega Book Sale - THIS WEEKEND

By Staff

September 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Public Library is hosting a mega book sale this weekend. Readers of all ages and interests can shop over 5000 gently used items Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 at Central Branch from 9am to 5pm.

The Library hasn’t sold any used books since the pandemic interrupted the sale displays it previously had at each branch. Customers have been asking when and how they can purchase books the library no longer needs, so BPL is answering in a big way.

“We always want to ensure our collections are relevant and desirable to our community,” says Cody Vanderslot, Digital Resources & Collections Manager. “During the pandemic, we did essential collection maintenance only, which meant we had some catching up to do when normal operations resumed. This gave us the chance to do a thorough review of our entire collection.”

With a physical collection of over 370,000 books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines, reviewing Burlington Public Library’s collection is a big project. Vanderslot and his team considered data such as the last date borrowed and the number of times an item has been loaned since it joined the Library’s collection. Other factors like relevance, condition, historic value, representation, and maintaining a complete series were also considered.

“We use a data-driven approach to ensure we keep what our customers want and remove what they don’t,” says Vanderslot. “All of this work behind the scenes makes our collections more searchable and enjoyable to browse so readers can find what they’re looking for.”

The main purpose of collection maintenance is to improve offerings for the community, not to remove items. This year BPL added over 17,000 new items, not including digital items or magazines. Many of the removed items were duplicate copies of less popular titles and outdated resources that have been replaced with more current information.

So, what’s in it for you… in addition to a freshly curated BPL collection? The Library is offering thousands of gently used items for booklovers to add to their home bookshelves at great prices!

The sale includes paperbacks, hardcover, large type, picture books, board books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and magazines for all ages. Everything will be on display for browsing in Centennial Hall and the tables will be restocked throughout the weekend.

Shoppers can stuff a sturdy Books Make Me Happy zippered canvas book bag full of sale items for $15—one price for the bag and the books. Alternately, items are priced individually for those toting their own bags:

• Print books: $1
• All audio-visual items (DVDs, CDs, audiobooks): 3 for $5
• Magazines: 4 for $1

The Library accepts payment by cash, debit, and credit.

The book sale is all about building a library collection that Burlington wants and enjoys. All book sale proceeds will go back into BPL’s collection budget. Shoppers who are thrilled with their bargain buys—and want to show their appreciation—will have a chance to make a donation in addition to their purchase to support BPL’s Kids Learning Fund.  This fund supports literacy and STEAM programming, children’s collections, and upgrades to the Library’s children’s areas.

Burlington Public Library has six full-service branches and a rural lending location. It offers welcoming spaces where visitors can explore, discover, reflect, learn, improve, create, and connect with others.

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City of Burlington updating the Burlington Community Engagement Charter

By Staff

September 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington’s Community Engagement Charter is now 10-years old and is in need of an update to reflect the growing and changing needs of the community.

The Charter is an agreement between Burlington City Council and Burlington residents. It supports better access to your local government. It also outlines the City’s commitments for engaging with people. Engaging people on issues that affect their lives and their city is important. The Charter seeks to make sure that residents can interact with the City in an accessible, inclusive and meaningful way.

There will be many opportunities to engage with City staff this fall about the Burlington Community Engagement Charter. The first opportunity is the Food for Feedback event on Sept. 16, 2023, at Central Park from noon to 4 p.m.

For those who cannot attend an in-person session, the materials will be posted online with questions to answer at getinvolvedburlington.ca/engagement-charter.

Engagement opportunities
Date: Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023
Location: Food for Feedback at Central Park, 2299 New St.
Time: noon to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 24 2023
Location: Appleby Arena, Community Room #1
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023
Location: Virtual via Zoom, link on the Get Involved page
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023
Location: Haber Community Centre, Community Room #2
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023
Location: Mountainside Arena, Community Room #1
Time: 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023
Location: Burlington Seniors’ Centre
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

To learn more about the Burlington Community Engagement Charter and details of the public engagement dates, visit getinvolvedburlington.ca/engagement-charter.

Background
In April 2013, Burlington City Council approved the first Burlington Community Engagement Charter. The Charter was created by residents with support from staff. It is an agreement between and among Burlington City Council and the community concerning resident engagement with City government and establishes the commitments, responsibilities, and fundamental concepts of this relationship.

Lisa Kearns, Ward 2 Councillor, Deputy Mayor, Community Engagement & Partnerships explains:
“As part of a growing region, we’re not the same city we were 10 years ago, and it’s time to ensure the Charter is reflective of our community needs and trends. Being able to have a say in your city, neighbourhood or community is the backbone of democracy. It is important this Charter is reflective of that.

This document will be reviewed and updated periodically and as needed. I would also like to thank everyone that provided their input into the current Charter.”

LINK to the Charter

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After an hour on his feet Premier Ford left the podium knowing that his 'we are going to build homes' message was never in doubt

By Pepper Parr

September 6th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Premier started his hour long media event sating: “They’re the right team to get it done” and went on to congratulate, at length, all the people who had been brought into his Cabinet or given new roles as Cabinet members.

He couldn’t say enough about them.

Premier Doug Ford on his feet for more than an hour with close to 1000 people listening to the web cast.

I want to congratulate ministers taking on new portfolios and welcome members of caucus who are new to the cabinet table. As Minister of long term care Minister Paul Calandra has been hard at work for residents and their families. Under his leadership, shovels are in the ground to build new long term care homes across Ontario, with new homes for over 10,000 seniors currently under construction. Ontario is on track to be the first province in Canada to deliver an average of four hours of resident care per day as we bring on 1000s of new nurses and personal support workers. For the first time, we’re bringing diagnostic services to residents rather than disrupting and moving them to appointments.

Its clear Minister Calandra has a proven record of delivering on tough assignments. He has a proven record of getting it done. He’s going to bring this same get it done approach to Municipal Affairs and Housing as he takes on the housing supply crisis, the biggest challenge facing governments in Canada.

Caroline Mulroney: President of the Treasury Board;

I also want to congratulate Caroline Mulroney, as President of the Treasury Board, where she’ll apply her years of work in the private sector and financial markets to her new jobs standing up for Ontario taxpayers. It’s incredibly important role and one of the most important in government and there’s no better suited person than Minister Mulroney

Congratulations to Prabmeet Sarkaria as Minister of Transportation who will continue Caroline’s great work and who knows firsthand from his constituents, the importance of building highway 413 alongside the Bradford bypass.

Congratulations to Stan Cho, who has done amazing work as an Associate Minister and will continue the work of supporting long term care home residents and their families. By building 1000s of new homes for our seniors.

He congratulated Rob Flack, Todd McCarthy and Nina Tangri, who are taking on important new roles associate ministers to build attainable homes modular homes, build transit, and support small businesses.

Steve Clark: “want to thank him for being such an important part of our team.”

I also want to give my gratitude to Steve Clark for his years of service and cabinet. I’ve always had so much respect for Steve, his dedication to his community and his unwavering belief in Ontario. His decision to step away couldn’t have been easy, but it only demonstrates his integrity, his maturity and his commitment to our province. For that I want to thank him for being such an important part of our team.

As I’ve said since day one of receiving the auditor general’s report, and as I’ve said again, after the integrity commissioners report, the process we use to make changes to the Greenbelt could have been better, the process should have been better. It’s why we agreed to implement all 14 recommendations from the Auditor General to improve our processes. At the same time have also said that nothing matters more than building homes. You’ve heard me say it before, Ontario is growing at a breakneck speed.

Last year alone we added 500,000 more people. And as we grow, we need to build at least 1.5 million new homes or the dream of homeownership for newcomers and young families in particular will slip further away. Our government will never stop working to build homes for our growing province. As we do. We’ll also do what’s needed to ensure that the people of Ontario that people will never stop serving, have confidence in the decisions we’re making.

When the previous government introduced the Greenbelt, they put in legislation, that mandated the province review it at least every 10 years.
I’ve asked my new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to launch this review. And as part of this process, reevaluate the remaining land swap sites. These sites will have to survive on their own merit. Last week, when we started the process of putting the Ajax lands back into the Greenbelt, we made it very clear. We have no tolerance for anyone who does anything that doesn’t support building homes quickly.

Minister Calandra will spend the coming days and weeks working with his officials to design and launch this review. It’ll be informed by recommendations put forward by the auditor general as ministry officials design and launch this review the government’s nonpartisan non political facilitator will continue her work (the facilitator was not named) with the remaining landowners and home builders. In fact, her work to ensure the landowners pay for important community infrastructure like parks, community centers, schools and hospitals will be an important part of this review.

Newcomers are struggling to find a place to live, young families not able to buy their starter home. That’s who we’re working for. That’s who will never stop working for.

Questions from reporters followed.

Rob Ferguson, Toronto Star. So this reevaluation and review of the Greenbelt lands will be a full and proper process? Well, what role will the housing Minister’s Chief of Staff play? What role will the bureaucrats play? What role will other land use planning experts play? And how will it be different from what just happened?

Premier: Well, we’re gonna go through the government, deputy ministers and government officials to review all lands. The mandate back in 2005was to review every 10 years. We’re following the recommendations of the Auditor General and we’ll continue to follow the recommendations – there’s going to be a complete review from top to bottom and then they’re gonna have to stand on their own merit. And it’s not just the 14 lands, it’s going to be the seven or 800 lands right across the board.

Reporter: Did you know that Steve Clark was going to resign yesterday morning or were you taken by surprise when it appeared on Twitter?

Ford: “No, Steve Clark called me. It shows the integrity, and the maturity of Steve Clark. He thought it’d be best for the government and for his family and his constituents that he step aside.

Laura Stone, Globe and Mail. I just want to be absolutely clear here. Are you pausing all development or assessment for development on these lands that you have removed? What are you doing? Are you not going ahead with your plan to develop on the ground?

Premier: The provincial facilitator will continue working with the landowners and the builders to move forward but it’s going to be based on the merits – they’re going to review the whole process, not just the 14 lands, the seven or 800 applications.

And they’ll be able to sit down and talk to stakeholders be indigenous communities, people that need homes. We’ll be talking to communities, and we’ll do a complete review.

Reporter: So is it possible that you would open up other lands for development as part of this review?

Premier: Well, first of all, we’re gonna see what the review says at the end of the review, and we’ll analyze it that will be up to the Minister to make that decision.

Colin Global News. I wanted to ask you about the mandate letter that you gave to Steve Clark in 2022. It specifically asked him to open up lands in the Greenbelt. Did he have the power to say no to that mandate letter?

Premier: Every minister has the opportunity to sit down with myself. I’m pretty accessible. I’m probably the most accessible premier that’s ever existed. I take calls from my MPPs, I take calls from my ministers. I take calls from mayors right across this province and I listen to their concerns. We have a great working relationship with 444 mayors and wardens across this province. I’m in constant communication with them, not just about building homes, even though that’s the number one issue.

Reporter: I wanted to ask about the relationship between the government and the owners of those 15 parcels of land. Did your government enter into any legally binding contracts with those owners to stipulate that they would have to build X amount of housing on that land? Was there a contract between the Ontario government and the owners or is it just a handshake?

Premier: That’s going to be up to the facilitator to make sure that these lands include community centers, hospitals, long term care parks, and that’s something that we wouldn’t be able to do. If a builder down the street for instance, decides to build. We don’t go up and say you got to build this you got to build that. We rely on the municipalities to build homes, to make sure that they get the permits out in a timely fashion.

We’ve given them every single tool possible to make sure makes their life easier to get homes built. And that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna make sure that we build those 1.5 million homes for people.

We’re going to go across the country to make sure that if there are modular home builders I want to bring them into Ontario.

Blaine Higgs, the premier of New Brunswick, that told me that they have for companies that build modular homes in New Brunswick, and after we exhaust all other avenues, we’re gonna go to the US and encourage them to open up their plants in Ontario to build modular homes.

Reporter, Trillium news Minister Clarke resigned for not keeping a close enough eye on his staff and letting this whole process get out of hand but your mandate letter told Minister Clark to come up with, and I’m quoting, “processes for swaps, expansions, contractions and policy updates for the Green Belt and to finish it all by fall 2022.”

Did you or anyone in your office communicate with Clark’s office along the way ? So are you not guilty of the same thing that Minister Clark resigned over?

Premier: I have confidence and our ministers. I don’t believe in micromanaging ministers that have confidence in our ministers and to follow the process. You know, Minister Clark came out admitted the process wasn’t, there. It could have been better. I came out and said the process wasn’t there.

We’ve taken 14 recommendations from the Auditor General. We’re moving as we speak on those 14 recommendations. And we’re gonna do a complete review of all lands in the Greenbelt, as it was mandated by the previous government.

We’re going to make sure that we review every single aspect of making sure that we follow the process.

But the most important thing is the people that are hurting out there that can afford a home on top of the interest rates that we’re seeing 10 hikes from the Bank of Canada in 18 months. You know, I pleaded with the Bank of Canada, the governor, go out there, talk to the average person like I do,meet the people that are struggling. People that can’t afford a mortgage, because the rate hikes, not just the hikes, but the speed that it did it at 10 hikes I can’t remember in living memory that the Bank of Canada or the governor raised rates 10 times in 18 months. If we don’t see a stop, people will lose their homes. They’re struggling, mortgages have doubled.

The federal government which is separate from the Bank of Canada should be investing in infrastructure like the 413 to get goods from point A to point B in a more efficient manner to make sure people can get home a lot quicker than rather than being stuck on the highway the 401 or stuck on the 400.

That’s the reason we’re investing over $30 billion unprecedented in building highways be at 413. The Bradford bypass high widening highway three expanding highway seven building highway seven from Kitchener all the way to Guelph, our province is growing like we’ve never seen. We’re the fastest growing region in North America, bar none. We have to make sure that we build the infrastructure. We’re building $70 billion of transit; the largest transit expansion in North America. There’s no one that comes close to that. We already have shovels in the ground on the Ontario line. That’s unprecedented at the speed that we’re moving. I can’t remember the last time any government is building subways and tunneling at the speed we’re doing. And we’re going to continue pouring money into infrastructure.

We’ve invested over $184 billion in infrastructure that includes $50 billion building 50 new hospitals and additions to those hospitals never been done before. That’s what we’re focusing on.

Reporter: I’d like to ask about the ongoing work of the facilitator integrity commission report said you guys have eight agreements in principle with the landowners. If these are still going forward. Will you commit to publicly releasing these agreements once they’re finalized?

Premier: Once they’re finalized, we’ll release them. We’re going to show how these builders these landowners are going to spend billions of dollars in supporting the community that they’re building. They’re going to be building parks, community centers; they’re going to be building hospitals and long term care.

The nonpartisan facilitator will be working hand in hand but we’ll also be reviewing all other applications right across the Greenbelt, like the previous government mandated, it should be reviewed every 10 years.

McIntosh from the Narwhal. So the housing affordability Task Force found that cutting into the Greenbelt isn’t necessary that Ontario already has enough land. But it did make 55 other recommendations, your government’s only finished three of them. Why not do that, instead of opening up Greenbelt land or reinstate rent control on newer buildings to improve affordability?

Premier: Thank you for that question. They did have so many recommendations. We’re going through 30 of them already. We’re going to follow up on the other 40 We’re working as we speak right now, but in saying that, even the person that headed the review would admit right now, when they did that review, they didn’t expect a half a million people show up to our doors.

And I always say that’s a conservative estimate. I believe it’s closer to 800,000. As a CIBC report came out saying we need to continue building homes right now with the volume that we’re seeing. And over the next 10 years at minimum, there’ll be five to six million people coming to our province. We do not have enough lands to be able to build enough homes for over five to six million people. Our number one goal for the people of Ontario, is to make sure they have affordable homes, have modular homes that they are going to be able to live in. I call them starter homes. They’re going to be basic homes, and they’re going to be affordable and attainable homes of under $500,000. They’ll be able to walk in through their front door, put the key in, they’re going to have a backyard. They’re going to have a finished basement that they can use as a rental unit. That’s what we’re going to focus on. But it’s not about just modular homes. It’s about building a community having more rentals that people can afford. We had more rental starts than we’ve seen in decades. We’re doing the right thing for the people that can’t afford our homes right now. We’re gonna fight for the hard working blue collar people that are getting killed right now by the interest rates from the Bank of Canada.

We’re gonna stand on their side. We’re going to make sure it comes down to supply and demand that we all know that’s out there. Right now. We’re gonna flood the market with new homes right across this province

Reporter: premier when it comes to Greenbelt land doing this review the reports from the Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General found that you know, you and minister Clark were not in control of what the government was doing as you undertake this new review. How can Ontarians trust that you are in control now?

Premier: Well, let me first answer the first question that I’ll get to the second question about trust. We’re going to work with our government officials where we’ve already admitted numerous times and I’ve said it today, I’ll say it again – I wasn’t happy with the process. We’re correcting the process and the 14 recommendations. Now let me tell you about trust and why the people can trust this government. You know, results speak for themselves. Folks. When we took office back in 2018 we inherited a bankrupt company. We had a healthcare system that was totally broken. Move forward to 2023 we’ve added over 3000 beds we’re adding another 3200 beds. We’ve hired and registered 60,000 new nurses 8000 new doctors registered last year alone 15,000 nurses which was a record registered here in Ontario, as I mentioned earlier we’re the only government that’s putting $50 billion no matter where you live in Ontario. You’re either getting a brand new hospital, or you’re getting in addition to a hospital. The previous government stopped talking to the Ontario Medical Association We have a great relationship but they all may. We’re in constant communication with the Ontario Hospital Association and the CEOs.

We’re making sure that when you go get a prescription, you don’t have to go to your doctor to get the most common prescriptions. You can go into a pharmacy and get them and we’re going to expand on that. We’re making sure that we’re giving people opportunities on diagnostics, that we’re gonna have convenient care closer to home. We’re changing the education system for parents. We’re making sure through the great leadership of Minister Lecce that we’re investing right now. $500 million building 100 new schools and that’s going to continue.

Over $700 million more is being spent on hiring educators. We’ve hired you know, 1000s and 1000s of new educators over 8000 this year alone. We are going to hire an additional 2000 educators.

We have three credit agencies that have given us a positive report for the first time in decades. Folks, when I took office, companies were leaving the province in droves – 300,000 families lost their jobs. They couldn’t get hired because companies were leaving in the droves. General Motors Oshawa closed their plant and left. The other ones are ready to leave. But we came in and we changed the system.

We took $8 billion of burden off the backs of companies to invest back here in Ontario. Since then $25 billion of investments in the automotive sector, in the EV sector has been invested in Ontario because they have confidence in our government. We’ll see probably in the next year $3 billion in life sciences, no matter if it’s Moderna or if it’s AstraZeneca, or any of the other pharmaceutical companies Roche investing here and creating more jobs.

The tech sector has grown to overtake Silicon Valley, San Francisco Bay Area. We now employ more people than anywhere in North America. We’re leading North America in job creation and economic development compared to back in 2018. As I mentioned, we’re spending $184 billion previous governments totally ignored it. We’re building for subway lines we’re spending over $70 billion in transit expanding GO train service. We’re just expanding $30 billion, the highways and roads and bridges. And when it comes to long term care, the previous government and their whole mandate of 15 years built about 600 homes for long term care. We’re going to build 30,000 homes that seniors can call home that we’re renovating long term care homes right across the board.
We we’ve graduated over 65,000 STEM graduates we’ve given the support to the colleges and universities that we have the best in the entire world. That’s just a few of the things. Our track record speaks for itself. That’s the reason the people of Ontario can trust our government.

Reporter: Alan Hale from Queen’s Park Today. So just to be clear, you’re saying that this is not a backtrack of any kind you’re not giving into demands for a revisit of the Greenbelt. This is a review that you would have been doing anyway.

Premier: We’re going to review the whole system including the 14 properties.

We’re going to review all the properties; we’re going to acknowledge the process wasn’t up to snuff by any means. We’re going to make sure that all properties are reviewed to make sure they stand on their merit, and that’s what we’re going to look at.

Reporter: You talk about how you don’t want to micromanage your ministers, but given the fact that you have had one minister give himself and many of your caucus and some other party loyalists,the title of King’s Council without you apparently knowing and now you’ve let another minister sleepwalk you into a scandal where it looks to many people like a corrupt deal has happened and maybe is it time for you to maybe check in a bit more with what your ministers are doing and read documents before they come to cabinet.

Premier: Well, thank you for that question. First of all King’s Counsel; people don’t care. I’m gonna be very frank about having KC beside their name that’s really in the legal sector.

We’re gonna make sure at the end of the day, we have the best interest of the people at heart. That’s the reason folks were building these homes.

We see a crisis; the other party’s, the Greens, the NDP and the Liberals put us in an absolute disastrous position in 2018. When I took office, we’re fixing everything that was broken. They don’t have a solution. All they do is get up and complain and criticize. Ask them what is your solution? We have a solution. We have a plan. The plan is working. The plan is working in healthcare. The plan is working long term care and transportation infrastructure, education, colleges and universities and I can go on and on and on. We’ve corrected the problems of the previous government of 15 years that destroyed this province. No one in the world wanted to invest in Ontario.

I work hand in hand with everyone.  I have a message at the Bank of Canada. You want to destroy people’s lives. You want to watch people go bankrupt and lose their homes. Just raise the interest rates. It’s going to be on your hands. We don’t need any more interest rates being raised what we need is infrastructure money to build highways. That’s what we need.

Reporter: Richard Southern. You said today that Ontarians can trust you but you’ve never told Ontarians exactly what you weren’t happy about with this process for three weeks. You’ve just said I’m not happy with the process. In your own words today. Can you tell us what went wrong here?

Premier: Well, there was 14 recommendations and I said we’re going to follow those 14 recommendations. You know, it was very clear with the auditor general’s report, the integrity commissioners report which I have a great deal of respect for the Integrity Commissioner, that these are the recommendations that they’re putting forward. You know, we realize it – we admit our mistakes. I’ve come out here with apologize.

We’re moving forward. But nothing is more important than building homes. And we have a record of getting it done. As sure as I’m standing here, folks, there’s going to be people that are going to be able to afford a home and attainable home. There’s going to be more rentals than there’s ever been. That’s our responsibility to make sure that we give the tools to the mayors and the wardens and councils all across this province. Get the tools to build homes. There’s no more important issue to the people of Ontario right now. There’s no more important issue for our government than to build homes. That people can afford at a reasonable interest rate.

Reporter: I didn’t get an answer there premier but I want to ask you about your new cabinet. Is shuffling Miss Mulroney out of transportation. Is that an acknowledgement about some failings on the Eglington Crosstown and are we any closer to finding out when the Crosstown is going to open?

Portions of the elevated part of the new subway line

The Crosstown had time line problems – has yet to be completed.

Premier: I’ll answer that in two parts. First of all, let’s talk about the Crosstown: GO CEO Phil Verster will be out frequently giving the people of Ontario an update. And as for Minister Mulroney. I think her record speaks for itself. You know something I’ve had the opportunity to know Minister Mulroney for the last five years. And make no mistake about it. She’s a brilliant person. She’s worked in the private sector. She’s worked in the financial sectors. And again, her record speaks for itself. Before we took office. There was no plans ever to build subways, under her watch under her leadership there’s four lines being built. There’s expansion and GP train services across our province to the tune of $70 billion. The reason that people in southwestern Ontario are getting highway three widen is because of Minister Mulroney’s leadership, the reason that we’re building the Bradford bypass that’s Minister Mulroney, the reason we’re doing 413 is Minister Mulroney. The reason we’re building highway seven that governments have talked about for years from Kitchener to Guelph is because Minister Mulroney She’s done an incredible job in transportation portfolio. She’s going to do an incredible job watching every single penny for the taxpayers of this province.

Reporter: Shavon Morris, CTV News. You said that lands will have to pass on their own merits. Can you explain what that means exactly given what we saw in the auditor general’s report and the integrity commissioners report that lands were removed from the Greenbelt that didn’t pass the kind of basics, first servicing and then speed of development.

Premier: First of all, I want to re emphasize the Greenbelt has expanded, it has not shrunk. There’s 2000 more acres in the Greenbelt that didn’t exist before. And as for the merit, we’re putting together a process, a process through government officials that we’re going to make sure that the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. We’re gonna make sure that there’s merit to every application that comes forward. But in saying that again nothing is more important than building homes for the people of Ontario.

Reporter: There are lots of pictures online now of you and former Clarington Mayor John Mutton, can you shed any kind of light as to what role he might have had in having lands removed from the Greenbelt?

Premier: Well, this is a message to anyone any other see work that people do. If you don’t follow the rules, then you’re going to be held accountable and I encouraged the Integrity Commissioner to hold people accountable who don’t follow the rules.

Folks, I meet with 1000s and 1000s 10s of 1000s of people every single year in every sector, no matter if it’s the health care sector, manufacturing sector. You know, making sure that we’re building homes and endless amounts of sectors. I meet with a common folks do you know what I do? I want to find out what the people are doing. I don’t go in with anyone I don’t go in with my detail or anything. I can wander the local Walmart’s, the Home Depot’s – I go into the Sobeys and the Loblaws and the metros to talk to people. I go into the Canadian Tires. That’s where you get how people are feeling. You don’t sit here in a bubble. You don’t not give your phone number out. I talk to 1000s and 1000s of people. I hear what’s going on. I talked to endless people on the weekends by going out into public and hearing what they have to say. And let me tell you something. I’ll tell you what the priorities are. Number one priority is home ownership. Affordability, affordability, when you go to the gas pumps.

I want to work with the federal government when we build these homes to eliminate the HST well the GST on their behalf and we’ll do the same to make it more affordable. We want to make sure that when they go to a municipality on development fees, they don’t get charged $130,000 to put shovels in the ground.

Reporter: Allison Jones with the Canadian Press. How long do you expect this review will take if every Greenbelt parcel is going to be part of it?

Premier announced that not only are the sites taken out of the Greenbelt going to be reviewed – everything is going to be reviewed.

 

Premier: Well, I’ve said it very clear, if we don’t see movement on the parcels that we see that will be under review that will have to stand on merit. Then they’re going back into the Greenbelt. I did it with the Ajax lands.

They’re going back and just a message to the 14 owners of this property. If I don’t see movement, you’re going back into the Greenbelt.

This isn’t about the builders. I don’t give two hoots about the builders, but they’re part of the process. Eliminate them. We don’t have homes. So we’re going to make sure that they follow the process that the facilitator is putting out, making sure that they’re investing billions of dollars. There won’t be a penny spent of government money when they put in the roads when they put in the water pipes and the sewer pipes. That’s going to be on them. All I want are more homes for the people. We have a crisis. You come up to Rexdale there’s 160 People living up at the mall. They’re newcomers, asylum seekers and a message to the Government of Canada. This is an emergency. You have to get these people working permits. They want a better life in Ontario, but they can’t be sitting in some mall living there without being able to have a shower.

It’s about the young people that are graduating of a university that are going to get a job that can’t afford a home. They’re gonna be living in their parents basement for the next 10 years. If we don’t build more homes, that’s what I care about. I don’t care about anything else. I care about the people. That’s why I got elected. And we’re going to continue focusing on what matters to the people.

Reporter: I just want to be clear on the timeline. So development is going to continue on these 14 parcels, while a review is underway to determine if they should in fact have been taken out of the Greenbelt based on merit.

Premier: The facilitator is going to be working, as she is right now, making sure that they have a responsibility to pay for the roads and the sewers, the community centers, the school’s the hospitals and long term care homes. And it’s going to be based on merit and all the other applications are right now.

There’s about seven or 800 applications, folks, there’s nowhere in the entire world outside of I don’t know, I guess Communist China and North Korea that a government comes in with no consultation and takes two million acres of privately held property off people. We’re going to review it.

Nothing should get in the way of building homes. As fast as we can. That’s what matters. A year down the road, folks, you’re going to see homes being built at an unprecedented rate. We’re going to make sure that there’s supply to meet the demands of over 500,000 new people that want to go out there and rent a condo or apartment or even better buy a condo or apartment, buy an affordable starter home. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to exhaust every single avenue we’re gonna use every single tool we have in our toolbox to make sure that happens. The worst thing we can do folks, is sit back, throw up the white flag and say we aren’t doing it. That’s not what I’m about. That’s not what our governments about. Our government is about working for the hard working blue collar folks. That I meet in factories every single week that I meet in the malls that I meet in the stores that I go into.

Reporter: Lorenda Redekop, CBC News. You praise Minister Clark’s integrity and his resignation but this wasn’t something you called for. You also didn’t call for his former Chief of Staff’s resignation. You stood behind both of them. What does this mean when it comes to your integrity?

Former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: Steve Clark

Premier: Something I believe strongly in is the work that Minister Clark has done from the day he got elected. When I talk about integrity, he could have sat back and said: Premier,I want to continue being the minister. I want to continue, even if you move me to another portfolio, but he didn’t. He took the best interest of the people of Ontario at heart. He took the best interest of our party at heart and said it’s time for me to step aside and let someone else move forward with this. We have one of the best people in our caucus Minister Calandra that has a proven record in anything he has done to make sure that he builds homes. We have great associate ministers with Rob Flack one of the brightest business minds that we have down here at Queen’s Park will be his Associate Minister.

Our environmental assessment is second to none in the world. There’s no reason in the world that the federal government should slap another environmental assessment to purposely slow down the build of the 413.We were elected to build the Bradford bypass and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Last question. Charlie Pinkerton: Who is paying for the legal fees for yourself and others in the government in the various investigations that have taken place and continue to take place and excuse me into the Greenbelt.

Premier Well, I can’t speak for anyone else. Right now. I don’t have a lawyer. So I’m just going to sit down when someone has a question. I’m going to answer it truthfully, just the same as when I sat down when the Auditor General I answered it truthfully.

I never hide from the media. I don’t run away for weeks and avoid the media. I’m out here addressing the media’s questions, tough, tough questions. But I’m always going to be transparent with the people.

Reporter: Yeah, back to the point. So do I gather correctly that you aren’t aware of whether it’s the government or the PC party or anyone else who’s paying the legal fees for everyone under investigation the government or is there an answer to that question again?

Premier: That’s up to the people if they get a lawyer. I’m not at liberty to discuss their private finances. We’re going to make sure that we cooperate with any investigation moving forward. We agreed the process wasn’t up to par but we also agree we’re gonna fix the process. We’re doing that right now as we speak – make no mistake about it. This is not going to deter me from building homes for the people that need homes. Talk to people about food prices going up and gas prices going up and how they can’t afford homes and another message to the Bank of Canada. Enough is enough. You’re trying to kill the economy. You personally are responsible for creating inflation.

I’m working my back off 24/7 to make sure we have a strong economy. We have a great healthcare system, great education system, and making sure people can put food on their tables. That’s what I can control.

And with that the Premier walked away – no one laid a glove on the guy. He was there to talk about building homes and that is what he did.

The Greenbelt is important to most people – Doug Ford thinks having a home is even more important to the people who don’t have one – and he appears to be betting that those people will carry the day.

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Mayor Meed Ward: City accepted assigned housing pledge of 29,000 homes in the next 10 years. Wants to get shovels in the ground

By Staff

September 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward released the following statement this afternoon.

It is critical in today’s housing affordability crisis to not only enable housing starts, but to do so in a way that is transparent, accountable and inspires trust in the people we serve.

On Aug. 30, the Office of the Integrity Commissioner released its report from its investigation of the process that led to protected Greenbelt lands in southern Ontario being removed and selected for housing development. The independently published report found the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing had violated two sections of the provincial Members’ Integrity Act.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in her City Hall office

I thank Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake for their thorough review. It is important to note that the Commissioner had no authority to recommend the land be returned to the Greenbelt. On Aug. 9, the Office of the Auditor General (AG) of Ontario released its report on the same matter. AG Bonnie Lysyk did recommend the provincial government re-evaluate the decision to remove these lands from the Greenbelt, as it is not needed to reach the Province’s housing targets. I echo that call.

Burlington Council and City staff are committed to doing our part to address housing affordability. We have unanimously accepted our assigned provincial housing pledge of 29,000 homes in the next 10 years. We are committed to issuing those permits as efficiently as possible so developers can get shovels in the ground, and we are equally committed to doing so in a way that protects our Greenbelt and rural area, with growth directed within our urban boundary at our GO stations, retails plazas and identified growth areas.

On behalf of Burlington City Council, I look forward to working with the Hon. Paul Calandra, the newly- appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Hon. Rob Flack, Associate Minister of Housing with a specific mandate on attainable housing and modular homes, to achieve these shared goals.

 

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Premier holds his ground during a one hour media event

By Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was another one of those hour long media events where the Premier stuck to his guns and stayed with the issue that he believes will keep him in office.

Home, home, homes.  The Premier even made mention of $500,000 houses with a back yard.

This is what people want to hear.

Premier Doug Ford during a one hour media event this morning.

The Greenbelt is a nice idea – but homes is what people really care about.

Is he right?

Only time will tell.  If he is – he will get himself and his government re-elected in 2026 – unless the RCMP find there are “irregularities” and start laying charges.  If there are criminal charges – all bets are then off.

The Queen’s Park media never really laid a glove on the Premier.  No matter what the question – basically every time the Premier responded to a question he was polite, used the reporter’s first name and before he had said more than 25 words he was back at “homes”.

It will take a bit of time to listen to the hour long event again and report on that.  For the moment the Premier walked away from the podium after an hour knowing that they didn’t have him yet.

Premier Ford consistently maintains that he doesn’t micro-manage; if what he managed to pull off this morning isn’t micro-managing – I don’t know what is.

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The politics of the Liberal leadership race is getting interesting

By Pepper Parr

September 5th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Provincial Liberal Association will meet on September 10th and hear leadership candidate Adil Shamji from 3:00 – 5:00PM at the , Haber Community Centre, community room 2, 3040 Tim Dobbie Drive, Burlington

All five leadership candidates will have addressed the Burlington Liberals.

The provincial Liberal party has an open membership policy. Anyone over the age of 14 can become a member of the Association; there is no membership fee.

Once they have become a member they can take part in the vote to determine who the next leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario will be.

That vote will take place late in November. During October and November there will debates at different location across the province between the five candidates.

Registering to vote in the leadership vote closes at 6 pm on September 11th. The link to register to vote is HERE

With the current differences over the property taken out of the Greenbelt by the Ford government – determining who the Premier of the province will be after the 2026 election takes place is will be a fierce battle. While the Minister of Housing has resigned – the Premier is still in office.

Liberals are surely thinking of how to get the leader they select in November of this year into the provincial legislature. Being elected by the party is as leader does not get one a seat at Queen’s Park. The leader has to win a seat in the Legislature.

Nate Erskine-Smith – MP for Beaches in Toronto wants to be the MPP instead. If selected he will have to find a constituency to run in.

Bonnie Crombie: Has been crisscrossing the province at a hectic pace. She was seen as the favourite at first – now she has a fight on her hands.

Frequently, a political party will have one of its elected members resign – which means a by-election has to take place. The selected leader would run in the now open riding and be in the Legislature to go toe to toe with the Premier on a daily basis.

Great political theatre.

There are two candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party in Ontario who appear to be leading the race.

One might ask – which sitting member would they approach to resign? There would be no promises of course, but an understanding, perhaps, that the member who resigned would be brought into cabinet in 2026 should the new leader become Premier.

There just might be an enterprising Liberal who would see this as a quick way into Cabinet.

The problem is that there aren’t all that many Liberals sitting in the Legislature.  There are a couple that deserve a close look.

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