TORONTO - There is no other point to a story that appeared in an English language medium on Easter Saturday, titled, in part, “Friends with Benefits?”
Save yourself the bother of reading the rest. It’s about eight developers, all Italian-Canadians, who are tight with the provincial PC party – as they once were with their predecessor Liberals - and are using the connection (there I go feeding the stereotype) to promote their land development schemes.
What a surprise! The eight, who allegedly own about 2,400 acres on either side of a proposed highway, 60 km link, from Milton to Vaughan, may be positioned to realize the subdivision of that acreage into approximately 14,000 typical suburban lots (maybe more) purposed for single-family detached homes, plus the road infrastructure to support them. You can buy one today in North York – if you can find one – for not less than $1 million.
The potential for about $14 Billion in land sales is an attractive economic carrot for any government, irrespective of political stripe. It is even more so when those sales will generate an equal expenditure in construction material and labour costs. If we add the $6 Billion to $10 Billion the Province will have to allocate for the construction of the transit link, one is looking at an economic engine only surpassed by the auto industry. Where /how will we source the labour and consumers?
It is a model as old as Canada: the Canadian Pacific Railway was accorded a series of financial inducements, including exclusive development rights for two km alongside its corridor as a condition of building a cross-Canada railway. There were no Italians in the CPR enterprise except those tens of thousands employed as manual labourers. Indentured labourers, essentially, recruited by Prime Minister J. A. MacDonald to also build and populate the many small settlements sprinkled across Canada’s vast hinterland, and provide the emerging demographic critical mass for the nascent provinces. Many died in the process – like their Chinese counterparts, left behind in unmarked graves.
There are many who do not agree with either the model or the principals involved. We do not propose to make the argument for either. Nor do we accept that “virtue” is the default position of the “environmental lobby” whose interests are in competition with those of the developers. Neither do we accept the underlying theme that this scheme/instrument is ideal for the recycling of suspect, international financial resources, much less a project to stimulate the immigration to validate it.
Our readers take objection to the underlying theme that, somehow, there must be something untoward because the interrelationships (“family”, “clan”, “same village of origin”, last names ending in vowels etc.) suggest a concerted, illegal, disloyal to Canada, pitiless manoeuvre to ruin the country. We know this because… one of them sought election to the Italian Senate… and who knows where he gets his money (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). Or how he and “they” spend it.
Last month, City Council in Vaughan voted to put a hold on any decisions regarding that road link until the Federal Government completes its Environmental Assessment. The Mayor, Maurizio Bevilacqua (who sits on the board of the development bank responsible for financing Developers’ proposals, which City Council may then approve), voted instead not to wait but to go ahead.
John A. MacDonald, accused of graft and other sundry ethical lapses associated with the CPR, was booted from office. Today they are tearing down his commemorative statues. The subtext of the article suggests that this is what should happen to those who “rape the environment”.
Would that be the Premier and the Prime Minister, who is preparing to call for an election within the month, or just those “bingo players” with vowels at the end of their names?
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