Doug Ford donors benefit as fast-tracked developments override environmental concerns
The Ford government has used controversial special orders to allow developments on sites involving environmental concerns 14 times since 2018, an analysis by Canada’s National Observer has found.
In nine of those cases, the orders benefitted developers who donated $262,915 to the Progressive Conservatives and Ontario Proud, a third-party group that supported the PCs in the 2018 election, the analysis shows.
The directives — called ministerial zoning orders, or MZOs — allow Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark to decide how a parcel of land can be used, overriding local planning and existing zoning rules. An area set aside for agriculture can become a new subdivision. A protected wetland where development is usually forbidden can become a warehouse.
“It’s Steve Clark’s new magic wand. He points, says, ‘Shazam,’ and suddenly there’s a new building there,” said Ontario NDP MPP Ian Arthur, then the party’s environment critic, in a phone interview in late January. (Arthur took on a different critic role on Feb. 1.)
To read the rest of this article, view it at The National Observers Website