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Bill Kelly: David Crombie’s resignation from Greenbelt Council sends a strong message

Former Toronto mayor David Crombie (right) laughs with Budge Wilson of Halifax after receiving the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa Friday, March 11, 2005. CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward

A former federal Conservative cabinet minister and mayor of Toronto has resigned from his job as head of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council to protest the Ford government’s rules that would gut environmental protections in the province.

David Crombie says his resignation is effective immediately. It’s clearly a response to Schedule 6 of the Ford government’s omnibus bill, which strips power from local conservation authorities and gives the Ford government much wider authority to rule on what could be sensitive environmental issues.

Read more: Former federal cabinet minister leaves Ontario role over proposed environment laws

Before anyone dismisses Crombie’s move as a left-wing ploy, let me remind you that although the Greenbelt legislation was instituted by a Liberal government, it’s been supported by Progressive Conservatives; in fact, not only is David Crombie a Conservative, but the first head of the Greenbelt Council was the esteemed Dr. David Elgie, a former minister in the Bill Davis PC government.

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For that matter, former premier Davis remains a staunch supporter of the Greenbelt.

The point is, protecting the environment isn’t just a left-wing issue, nor should it be.

Read more: Proposed changes to Conservation Authorities Act are not sitting well in Guelph

Ford’s environment minister, Steve Clark, says the proposed bill doesn’t apply to the Greenbelt, but that’s political spin.

A quick read of that segment of the bill offers no exemption for the Greenbelt, which means it’s fair game for any unscrupulous developer to circumvent the protections to our Ontario ecosystem and build whatever they want, wherever they want.

I suppose this is the scenario that Joni Mitchell envisioned when she wrote, “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”

How sad.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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