On Thursday (14 September) York Region’s Committee of the Whole will be considering a report from the Chief Administrative Officer, Bruce Macgregor, on the Provincial review of regional government. 

It tells us that on May 18, 2023, the Province committed to assessing the upper-tier municipalities of Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Waterloo and York by appointing Provincial “facilitators”.

The Province should have announced the name of a facilitator by today – but it hasn’t. 

Instead, the new Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Paul Calandra, is having second thoughts about a revamp of two-tier government in York, Halton, Durham and other regions. (photo right)

Ford’s 2019 review of regional government went nowhere. The reports of that abortive exercise still haven’t been published.

And here we are again.

Back where we started.

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Click "Read more" below for the Toronto Star report. The Globe and Mail quotes Markham's Mayor Frank Scarpitti:

“The fact is, the status quo is not an option. If in fact they want to see, and they do, more housing built in the next decade, reform is needed.”

Scarpitti has zero support on York Regional Council for his proposal to abolish all nine lower tier municipalities and create a new megacity. Former Ontario Liberal Leader and now Mayor of Vaughan, Steven Del Duca, wants a full scale municipal reorganisation. Del Duca favours a “single tier” Vaughan taking over many services currently provided by York Region. It's all very broad brush - and not thought through. 

Update on 12 September 2023: From Global News: Ford's mandate letters

Update on 13 September 2023: From Global News: Ontario Regional Government review to move ahead without facilitators. And from the CBC. Calandra's request to the Legislature's Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy Committee was posted on Twitter.

Update on 14 September 2023: From Newmarket Today: York Region loses $34.9M in development charges thanks to Housing Bill

I see from Dawn’s latest “Community Update” that she is planning a re-run of last year’s wonderful and hugely successful “Free” BBQ and Corn Roast

Maybe this year Doug Ford can put in an appearance – fresh from his run of magnificent Ford-Fests. I hope so!  All across Ontario, from Windsor to Scarborough to Kitchener, Doug has been treating the great people of FordNation to free hot dogs, free burgers, free veggie-burgers, free pop, free T shirts. And free rides for the kids! 

Remember, in FordNation everything is absolutely FREE! Everyone is welcome. No-one will be turned away!


Personally, I think Doug owes Dawn a favour. 

Our Ford appointee MPP is a “FordFanNatic!”. Dawn is wonderfully obedient and never strays off-message. Here is what Dawn told her many thousands of wonderful readers:

Save the Date – MPP Gallagher Murphy’s 2nd Annual Community BBQ

You’re invited to our 2nd Annual Community BBQ.  Autumn will be here soon and it’s great to get outdoors and spend time with my community meeting all the wonderful constituents. 

Since the last BBQ we have been busy working on behalf of everyone in the community, I hope we will see lots (of) my Newmarket-Aurora friends for a fun day of food, music and children’s activities.  I am inviting you all to my free BBQ on Sunday October 22nd between 2:00 & 4:00 pm at Newmarket Riverwalk Commons. Hope to see you there!


Last year's wonderful free BBQ cost the taxpayers a paltry $11,160.

Who amongst us would begrudge spending this trifling sum to stage such a spectacular event?

The Free BBQ and Corn Roast feeds the hungry, entertains our lovely neighbours and promotes our splendidly talented MPP - all in one go!

Dawn is such a treasure. 

Doug is lucky to have her - and others like her - in his caucus.

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Update on 10 September 2023: Doug Ford promises homes under $500,000 at Kitchener Ford Fest.

Yesterday’s bombshell story in the Globe and Mail reveals that Susan McGovern, appointed by Doug Ford to the Board of the Greenbelt Foundation, is the sister of Michael Rice who bought the Greenbelt lands at Bathurst in King for $80M and is the spouse of John McGovern, the Rice Group’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Planning. 

Nothing prepared me for this. 

I now realise the developers' tentacles extend everywhere. 

Everything is corrupted. From municipalities that bend the truth to hospital administrators who stay silent. 

Permanent, Protected and Prosperous

The Globe and Mail tells us:

“The government appointed Susan McGovern in 2019 to the board of the Greenbelt Foundation, which describes itself on its website as “the only organization solely dedicated to ensuring the Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous.” Her three-year term ended on Nov. 20.”

As I was scrolling through the readers’ comments on these astonishing revelations, I came across this one from Nick Wright (right) which, I think, neatly sums up the position.

Conflicts of Interest

The Greenbelt Foundation has a policy covering conflicts of interest of members (whose definition includes Board members), associates and employees: 

“It will be the responsibility of all members, associates and employees to identify when a real or potential conflict may exist, and to inform the Board or CEO of such situations when they arise.” 

We know from the Globe and Mail’s research that Susan McGovern did not declare any conflicts of interest. Perhaps she didn’t discuss Greenbelt issues with her brother or husband who were actively engaged in removing land from the Greenbelt throughout 2022 if not before.

I don’t know what she got up to in her years on the Greenbelt Foundation Board. But I have asked for sight of the Board minutes covering the period from her appointment to the Board until her departure and I shall see where it takes me.

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Update on 11 September 2023: Toronto Star Editorial: Doug Ford's Greenbelt fixation more than defies explanation. It demands further investigation. 

And the Greenbelt Foundation's Annual Report for 2020-21 tells us:

"Since February 2020, the Greenbelt Foundation and Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation have been integrated, working collectively to preserve, protect, and restore the environmental and agricultural integrity of the Oak Ridges Moraine."

A new Oak Ridges Moraine Committee of the Greenbelt Foundation's Board of Directors was set up to oversee this work. Susan McGovern was a Committee member. The ex-Greenbelt land at Bathurst bought by her brother, Michael Rice, for $80M on 15 September 2022, contained land which was part of the Oak Ridges Moraine. The Ford Government has now redesignated that land as a settlement area, open for development. See Timeline.



In a dramatic new development, this morning's Globe and Mail reveals a direct family connection between Michael Rice and John McGovern of the Rice Group and Susan McGovern, a former Ford Government appointee to the Greenbelt Foundation.

Click "read more" for this morning's jaw dropping Globe and Mail revelations.

Update on 9 September 2023: From the Globe and Mail: Opposition demands Greenbelt reversal amid revelations of Ford government appointee's family ties

Doug Ford’s press conference earlier today was painful to watch.

His opening statement ends with a flourish invoking the Almighty: 

“Thank you and God bless the people of Ontario.”

Now he is taking questions from journalists, mainly about the Greenbelt scandal.

He frequently moves off-topic giving us a torrent of statistics. Five to six million people coming to Ontario. 800,000 last year. Modular homes for under $500,000. Wartime homes. 60,000 new nurses 8,000 new doctors. Thousands and thousands of new educators. Over 8,000 this year alone. Four subway lines. $70 billion on transit. $30 billion on highways and roads and bridges. On and on he goes, gushing figures. Millions. Billions. Trillions. He will always fight for hard working blue collar people.

He reminds me of those apparatchiks in the former Soviet Union lauding the latest five-year plan and reeling off statistics on tractor production. 

Re-evaluating everything. Consulting everyone

Oh yes...He also says he is going to review and re-evaluate all the land in the Greenbelt.

“We're going to review the whole system including the 14 properties. We're going to review all the properties. We acknowledge the process wasn't up to snuff by any means… (interruption) We're going to make sure that all properties are reviewed… all 700-800 is mandated in legislation that we should review. We're going to review them. We're going to make sure they stand with their merit and that's what we're going to look at. 

…the provincial facilitator will continue working with the land-owners and the builders to move forward. But they are going to review the whole process, not just the 14 lands (but) the 700-800 applications and they’ll be able to sit down and talk to stakeholders, the indigenous communities, people that need homes. We’ll be talking to communities and we’ll do a complete review."

Phew! That sounds like a lotta work. And a lot of consultation for a Government that until today ignored what people had to say. They didn't even read or analyse the comments from the public on the Greenbelt proposals. Straight into the waste paper basket!

Community centres, hospitals, long term care homes, parks

Ford is asked if the Government entered into a legally binding agreement with any of those (ex-Greenbelt) landowners that they would have to build X amount of housing on that land.

Ford says it will be up to the facilitator to ensure that these lands include community centres, hospitals, long term care homes, parks 

“and that’s something that we wouldn’t be able to do if a builder down the street, for instance, decides to build. We don’t go up and say you’ve got to build this. You’ve gotta build that. We rely on the municipalities to build homes to make sure that they get the permits out in a timely fashion. We’ve given them every single tool possible to make sure that makes their life easier to get homes built…”    

Now we are into a stream of consciousness with Ford making it up as he goes along. 

We are looking at the brain behind FordNation.

Personally, I want to see the plans for the development and servicing of the ex Greenbelt lands at Bathurst purchased by the developer Michael Rice on 15 September 2022 and which include a new hospital. 

I am sure the Town of Newmarket will wish to see those plans too.                 

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Update on 7 September 2023: from the Toronto Star's Martin Reg Cohn: Doug Ford's Attack on the Greenbelt hits a new low