NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo Urges the Ford Government to Repeal Bill 23
Dear Premier Ford and Ministers,
My office has been inundated with calls and letters about Bill 23 and your plans to tear up the Greenbelt. They are concerned about the fallout that will come should your government continue to ignore them. You and I both understand the importance of addressing the housing crisis. Not a single person who’s against the bill will say otherwise. But what I am hearing does not match up to what you are doing.
You have said that this bill will pave the way to more housing being built to meet the demand. What I’m hearing is how it enriches your developer friends and is poise to make the housing crisis even worse. All while sacrificing swaths of the Greenbelt, which you promised you wouldn’t touch.
Your Housing Minister, Steve Clark, is under investigation by the Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General because of this bill. While I await their conclusions, it’s hard not to draw our own.
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario estimated that municipal revenues would be reduced by $5.1 billion over nine years. All from Bill 23 cutting out developer fees and downloading the costs onto cities. You must have heard this. Our Housing Critic MPP Jessica Bell wrote it in her open letter to you. Will you reimburse municipalities for this shortfall as she asked for?
Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) put out an official statement calling on you to pause on the implementation of changes to development charges and parkland levies until cities have been properly consulted. Your Deputy Premier, Sylvia Jones, was in attendance when they made that statement.
The City of Kitchener had a housing plan with the Region of Waterloo that it finalized before the passing of Bill 23. Now that’s gone and the city is looking to raise property taxes even further just to make up for the shortfall. How is this helping the housing crisis? They sent you a letter about this. I was included on that letter.
They outlined the resolution that passed during a special meeting of city council. They requested you repeal Bill 23 and that a thorough analysis of the economic impacts on climate disaster be done. They asked for that because Bill 23 doesn’t even consider those factors as having any impact on future development.
The Ontario NDP are committed to addressing the housing crisis, but we are committed to doing it hand-in-hand with the cities and regions, and not at the expense of the environment and Mother Earth. I am adding my voice alongside the million others calling on you to repeal Bill 23. Will you listen?
Laura Mae Lindo, MPP Kitchener Centre