Recently the Ontario Government passed Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act. The purpose of the bill is to address the impending housing crisis where it is projected that there will be a major shortfall in homes coming online over the next decade. On the surface the bill appears to have genuine high level motives.
However, if one digs deeper into the bill, it has significant flaws. Primarily it centralizes housing development under the Ontario Government drawing responsibilities away from the municipalities and positioning them under the Ministry on Municipal Affairs and Housing. This would drastically reduce the involvement of the local community and their elected representatives in housing development. Decisions on the conservation and preservation of green space, woodland, wetland and farmland would be made remotely with minimum involvement of the local community.
There were protest rallies held across Ontario this past weekend. One such “pop-up” rally was held in our own constituency on Sunday (Dec. 4th) outside the office in Blyth of our MPP, Lisa Thompson. She also happens to be the Minister of Agriculture.
The rally was organized by Sharon Collingwood and addressed by the well-known activist and conservationist, Tony McQuail. It was attended by a lively group of about seventy people who braved the biting cold winds. It also attracted significant support from the “honk if you support” passersby.
Tony McQuail did an excellent job explaining why it is so important to preserve what we have. When the land is paved over, it’s gone forever. He said that he believed that greed was triumphing over the genuine motive of housing. He also mooted the possibility of a general strike. He ended his address by invoking Dr. Seuss. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”