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Friday, March 24, 2023


Defeat Bill 23: Stop the “Paving Farmland and Derailing Local Democracy Act”

This ill-considered and draconian piece of legislation is being opposed by a broad cross-section of civil society groups and experienced leaders.

No that’s not what Doug Ford named it, but it is a much more accurate reflection of what Bill 23 is really about. It is nothing short of a frontal assault on local democracy, the role of civil society, efforts to address ecological sustainability, to protect green spaces, to grow our own food, to reduce fossil fuel emissions and to build truly affordable housing.

SocialCommons.ca is a signatory to the joint statement from the Big Tent Coalition titled A Time to Stand Together. We ask you to read it, and to follow the actions outlined below:

Here is the link to the media release:

Please use this as well as the joint statement above for your emails and social media posts.

Here is a post to share:

Lynn Morrow on Twitter: “Time to stand together Ontario! Join us in exposing the deceit and condemning Bill 23. https://t.co/xuLH4zoxrA” / Twitter

Follow these accounts for more tweets:

Finally, please reach out to your local media about this. Your participation is the local angle that could get them to cover this. 

The full text of the media release is reproduced below.

Massive Coalition of Groups Unite to Condemn Ford Government’s Secret Sprawl Plans

Toronto: Today a rare coalition of farmers, housing advocates, urban planners, environmentalists, labour unions, healthcare workers and community groups from across Ontario united and released a damning Statement of the Province’s recently proposed recipe for sprawl: Bill 23 and the proposal to remove precious farmland and natural areas from the protected Greenbelt. The 7-page document is signed by more than 125 organizations and almost 100 individuals.

The 7-page Statement shows how the government’s scheme will not create more housing or
improve affordability but will supercharge expensive and wasteful urban sprawl, undermine
environmental protection, threaten farmers, prevent the transformation of existing sprawl
communities into climate resilient communities and transfer money from taxpayers to land
speculators and developers.

“These proposed actions by the Province will not solve the housing and affordability crisis,” said Geordie Dent, Executive Director of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association. “Renters will have fewer protections. And people who are looking for housing they can afford in neighbourhoods they want to live in won’t be any better off because of these proposed actions.”

“Bill 23 and the proposal to remove farmland from the Greenbelt would harm farmers and reduce their capacity to supply Ontarians with the food we all need,” said Max Hansgen, President of the National Farmers Union – Ontario. “These proposed actions would also take away farmers’ rights to appeal development decisions that could harm their land and farm businesses and would make it much easier for land speculators to turn irreplaceable farmland into unsustainable urban sprawl.”

“I am profoundly disturbed by the government’s proposed actions,” said David Crombie, former Mayor of Toronto and former Chair of the Provincial Greenbelt Council. “They won’t solve the housing crisis but they would make it harder to fix our existing neighbourhoods, towns and cities as well as protect the farmland and natural areas that sustain them. If the Premier doesn’t put the brakes on these ill-considered plans, we’ll have more sprawl and much less local food and protection against flooding and the climate crisis.”

“Bill 23 undoes all we’ve learned about how best to manage urban growth. It will severely hurt municipalities, both their revenues and their ability to plan and design their communities properly,” said Anne Golden, former Chair, Task Force on the Future of the GTA. “This bill would make it much harder for municipalities to build a healthy and affordable mix of new housing within existing urban areas. Instead, the Bill would pave the way for the construction of more damaging urban sprawl on the very farmland and natural areas we’ll need to get through the climate crisis.”

“I hope the Premier listens to the growing chorus of Ontarians and hits the pause button on these terrible proposals,” said David Crombie. “The good news is there are solutions to the housing crisis that can be implemented quickly. These solutions don’t harm Conservation Authorities, the Greenbelt, farmland and natural areas. And they build on good urban planning and public participation already being used in cities across Ontario.”

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