Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 18, 2023
Is Doug Ford’s Ploy a Real Greenbelt Reset or Just Smoke and Mirrors?
The recent moves by Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives to protect the Greenbelt in Ontario might seem like a step in the right direction. However, it’s essential to take a closer look at their motivations and track record. The Ford government’s attempt to curtail the Greenbelt development and regain public trust is nothing more than a cynical ploy to distract from their questionable actions and their approach to renewable energy.
The $8.28-billion land swap scandal, currently under investigation by the RCMP, has left the Tories scrambling to rebuild their tarnished reputation. They’ve introduced a law that promises to restore the Greenbelt properties they previously sought to remove and enhance protections for this ecologically sensitive area. While this might appear as a positive move, it is essential to scrutinize their true intentions.
The Ford government has a track record that contradicts their newfound commitment to environmental preservation. They’ve consistently undermined efforts to transition to renewable energy sources while increasing reliance on fossil fuels, particularly natural gas. A recent investigation has revealed that gas plants in Ontario, once promised to operate only during peak electricity demand, are running 12 or more hours a day, contributing to dirtier power and worsening climate change. This not only contradicts their alleged commitment to environmental protection but also raises serious concerns about their energy policy choices.
The government’s decision to scrap over 700 green energy projects as “unnecessary and expensive” is another example of their disregard for clean energy initiatives. Rather than investing in renewable sources, they are opting to build more gas plants, further perpetuating the reliance on fossil fuels. This is a stark departure from the previous government’s approach, which aimed to replace coal-fired pollution machines with gas-fired plants while transitioning to a cleaner energy mix.
The solution is clear: Ontario should be investing in renewable energy sources, like wind and solar power, to reduce reliance on gas “peaker plants.” The expansion of renewables, as seen in California and the Midwest, offers a blueprint for a more sustainable energy future. In contrast, Ontario lags behind, with only eight percent of peak demand being met by renewable sources in 2022.
Premier Doug Ford’s current approach to energy and the environment raises concerns similar to the gas plant scandal that marred former Premier Dalton McGuinty’s legacy. Like McGuinty, Ford may come to regret his government’s hasty dismissal of clean energy initiatives that are crucial for Ontario’s future. Instead of using the Greenbelt issue as a smokescreen to divert attention from their actions, the Ford government should prioritize the expansion of renewable energy sources and the reduction of their dependence on fossil fuels. It is only through meaningful actions, not political posturing, that they can be trusted as stewards of the environment. (AI)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro. If you’re creative, give illustration a try: