Vanthof: Once you pave Ontario's Greenbelt, it will NEVER grow food for Ontarians - ever again.
Updated: Nov 18
Premier Doug Ford's own housing task force even said it should be protected.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO - ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Monday 14 November 2022 - Lundi 14 novembre 2022
Land use planning
Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Minister of Agriculture. Ontario is losing 320 acres a day, every day, of farmland to development—320 acres of the best farmland in the world, every day, under the minister’s watch; farmland that we will need to feed our cities. You think food is expensive now? Wait, if we keep going at this rate.
Now the government has announced that it also wants to pave over 7,000 acres of farmland in our greenbelt, including at Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve—another 7,000 acres gone forever. Why is the minister so eager to pave over our food security?
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The Premier.
Hon. Doug Ford: I just want to thank the opposition for their question. Mr. Speaker, we have a housing crisis. We have a housing crisis that the majority of our kids can’t afford to buy a home. They can’t afford to live in Toronto or the GTA because the previous government didn’t have the backbone to make the changes.
We’re increasing the greenbelt more than 2,000 acres, unlike the previous government that changed the greenbelt 17 times—and you voted for it 17 times. You supported them changing the greenbelt to suit their buddies, to change it 17 times.
We’re creating 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. And I’d like to ask this chamber, where are we going to put the 1.5 million people who are going to show up just over the next five years right here in Ontario, and in Canada, 1.5 million people in the next three years? We need homes. We’re going to build homes, affordable homes.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’ll remind members to make their comments through the Chair.
The supplementary question?
Mr. John Vanthof: I would like to thank the Premier for his answer, but in response, how are we going to feed those people?
The Premier’s own task force stated that the land isn’t the problem and we need to protect the greenbelt. So we know the land isn’t the problem, but we also know the Premier made a promise to speculators a long time ago and then recanted—but obviously, this is a promise he intends to keep.
Now, why are you continuing to allow the best farmland, the farmland that we need to feed our people—the things that are important to our people are shelter, yes, but even more important, food. We have the best land in the province, and the Minister of Agriculture sits and watches it being paved over. Why?
Hon. Doug Ford: Mr. Speaker, last week, we had great friends come here from the Royal. When they came from the Royal, I went down there myself, spoke to endless farmers. They’re extremely happy that we have their backs, we have the supports. We’re going to make sure they’re well taken care of.
But, Mr. Speaker, again, I’d like to ask the opposition, what are they going to do when 50% of the 500,000 people a year come to Canada and they arrive in Ontario? What are we going to do? Are we just going to stack them up into rooms? No, we’re going to build them affordable housing; we’re going to build them attainable housing, something that the opposition would never, ever do. We need to plan for the future, not only for the new Canadians that are coming but the next generation, so that they can afford—that’s the reason we are building transit that extends into areas that we’re building, and we’re building right beside existing developments that are right there and on the other side of the street.
Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals, if you’re a farmer, you won the lottery—$40 million, $50 million, $100 million. But your next door neighbour, the exact same piece of property—guess what? He will be struggling for the next—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you.