Members of the Toronto media claque carrying Doug Ford’s water walk a slack, wobbly tightrope these days.
One such funambulist is Toronto Star pundit Martin Regg Cohn, the eminence grise of the city’s press pack. His frothy pieces on Doug Ford’s supposed evolution from venal drug dealer to Queen’s Park Minister of Rackets continue to confound readers while pleasing the paper’s investment company owner/editors.
A columnist like MRC can work up a thousand words on Doug’s Greenbelt severance shocker, yet omit any reference to a bloodsucker class of elite construction industry soulmates who stand to benefit from the environmental encroachment.
Case in point is the belligerent Ford persists in bulldozing the 68.2-km, estimated $10.4 billion Hwy 413/Bradford Bypass through the Greenbelt, contrary to expert advice and public opinion. Frank Graves’ EKOS firm showed 74% of 905’ers opposed Hwy 413 in a Dec 2021 poll; updated May 2022, 48% of Ontarians oppose the project, while only 23% support it. The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers condemned the highways in a May 31, 2022 blog post.
No wonder there’s acrimony watching Doug walk his own gauntlet unharmed. The 16.2 km four-lane Bradford Bypass link between Highways 400 and 404 will bisect the Holland Marsh, Ontario’s “vegetable patch”, and traverse 28 Lake Simcoe waterways with asphalt, gas stations and retail. Nevertheless, Apr 5, 2022, Minister of Greenbelt Highways Caroline Mulroney awarded first contracts for bridge construction along the controversial route.
The transport boss ludicrously contended that the artery will relieve congestion in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, a lower-tier municipality of only 38,100 ranked 29th by population in Ontario that few could locate on a map.
Large developers such as TACC (DeGasperis), Rice and Flato are just a few of Doug’s many prolific political donors who collectively own at least 3,100 acres (12.5 sq km) of land near the Bypass and stand to profit.
Five of the developers have close ties to Ford’s government through insiders and former party officials now acting as lobbyists. One of those lobbyists was the chair of Transportation Minister Mulroney’s 2018 PC leadership campaign.
Donors who fund controversial Ottawa MPP Lisa MacLeod’s riding association include a Conservative developer who has landholdings along Ford’s Bradford Bypass.
“Ontario Proud,” the right-wing Facebook viral meme-maker, political advocacy group and third-party advertiser formed by Jeff Ballingall, instrumental in Ford’s win over the Liberals in 2018, was aided by $460,000 in corporate donations from a group of housing developers, including DeGasperis’s TACC.
Suspected payback, now confirmed, was opening up thousands of acres of Greenbelt along Hwy 413 and the Bradford Bypass to residential housing.
— Sidney Coles PhD DPE Student at OISE (@SidneyColes8) November 13, 2022
The anti-teacher, pro-Ford “Vaughan Working Families” has ties to the DeGasperis family, billionaire developers and well-connected Conservatives lobbying Ford to build Highway 413. Prominent members of the lobby group include Cortellucci, De Meneghi, Fieldgate, Mazzocco, Marotta, Guglietta and Di Poce.
Ford appointed developer/PC donor Mario Cortellucci to the York Police Services Board in Nov 2022;
— Robert Lee 🌃📝🎼 (@downtownrob88) November 12, 2022
Mario Cortellucci, influential player in right-wing Italian politics known to wield insider influence on Ford, is in receipt of five Minister’s Zoning Orders; a Mar 4, 2022 order requested by Cortel Group authorizes the development of approximately three million square feet of industrial buildings on former agricultural land.
The Bradford Bypass is rerouted around a golf course owned by relative of MPP Stan Cho (PC-Willowdale), even though his riding is located 30 miles distant from the links.
July 2020, Ford’s Bill 197, the Covid-19 Economic Recovery Act, eliminates many environmental reviews; the government bill also retroactively exempted Ford from having to consult stakeholders about future changes to the Environmental Assessment Act, leveraging the promise of economic growth to tear up environmental protections and prevent Ontarians from having a say on major projects.
Auditor General says Doug Ford 'broke the law' on Bill 197. Looked on google (b/c it wasn't on network news) to see how many sources were reporting on it: ONE.
Ford breaks the law, as found by the Auditor General and ONE news outlet reported on it. ONE.https://t.co/tNmEaY8BIX
— Danika Dragomir (@NikaDragomira) July 23, 2020
The act conformed to Not-so-Slim Shady Ford’s typical statute construction: a) it freed up an expansion in MZO use; b) the devious premier failed to post the changes for public comment until after his moves became law.
It is a well-established pattern of behaviour rarely itemized in the press, but blatant favouritism is persistently extended to select firms such as Mattamy Homes, Merit Homes, Nashville Homes, Cortel Group, Empire Communities, Fieldgate, Argo Developments and Linamar.
As if to twist the knife, Ford appointed developer Cortellucci to the York Police Services Board in Nov 2022. In 2018, Cortellucci ran for the Italian Senate under the fascist banner of Giorgia Meloni/Berlusconi, and lost. Meloni, however, did win the prime ministership of Italy in October 2022. The return of the fascists in Italy will add to Doug’s late-night phone-tag exploits.
Fair to speculate Regg Cohn believes infuriating readers by capturing Ford’s laughable “evolution” before his June re-election is part of the job description. Guess what – it isn’t. The press soft-pedals the gaffes, lies and racketeering, then offers the premise that Ford’s record of misses and no hits somehow matches up with the prime minister’s. Ludicrous.
No discussion of delisting of basic blood testing etc. The corporations that own the various media outlets are letting Ford off the hook for obvious reasons.
— Rich Thorpe (@exit716) May 29, 2022
Everyone except high-profile media understand that Ford’s Covid policy has been basically unhinged populism since he began lifting mask mandates in March 2022, timed for the June 2 election.
Meanwhile the MSM refuses to platform commentators who might speak for the dissidents of Ford Nation seeking the reimposition of Covid mandates, a Greenbelt that doesn’t shed 319 acres a day and appropriately paid health-education workers.
Story Courtesy of Robert Lee – Follow Rob on Twitter HERE: