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Roads: GTA West Corridor—Highway 413—Guelph to 400

Amare

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Let's just call it what it is. What we're seeing here is polished corruption plain and simple. There are backroom dealings left, right, and centre with money and favors being passed around.

In Canada (or in the west in general), we love to call out "corruption" in other countries that do it overtly. The only difference between those places and here, is that we cover it up so much and disguise it under names like "donations", "best interests", "consultation", "job creation", and whatever other nonsense governments love spewing out of their mouths.

With Ontario in particular, all political parties pretty much swindle developers but the PC's just do it on a whole other level.
 

afransen

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how is it corruption? Because it's an infrastructure project you don't like? Where's the corruption?
If the highway is being built to deliver windfall gains in land value for developers, I'd say that qualifies as corruption. We can say that we're not building this to facilitate sprawl, but if that is true, why not permanently protect the land from development or buy out developers at prices supported by agricultural use at most. Imagine the howls.
 

ARG1

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If the highway is being built to deliver windfall gains in land value for developers, I'd say that qualifies as corruption. We can say that we're not building this to facilitate sprawl, but if that is true, why not permanently protect the land from development or buy out developers at prices supported by agricultural use at most. Imagine the howls.
And what exactly is spreading the greenbelt coverage area other than "Protecting the land from development". It sounds like they're doing exactly what you want them to do.
Conspiracy? No. Just politics and smart business. There is nothing extraordinary about business using the government to further private interests.
You're actively suggesting that there is malicious intent behind empowering the greenbelt that this is "playing the long game" for them to destroy what they're doing and give developers. Perhaps there's some truth to it, perhaps there isn't, but at the end of the day that's kind of like the definition of a conspiracy theory, and is no different from a right winger accusing the NDP of trying to bring communism if they're in power.
 

innsertnamehere

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If the highway is being built to deliver windfall gains in land value for developers, I'd say that qualifies as corruption. We can say that we're not building this to facilitate sprawl, but if that is true, why not permanently protect the land from development or buy out developers at prices supported by agricultural use at most. Imagine the howls.

The Ontario line will be built and will deliver windfall gains to developers. Any piece of infrastructure will increase land values around it. Does every piece of infrastructure involve corruption?

Unless you can prove that the developers bribed the province to construct the highway, there is no corruption.

The Caledon & Brampton greenfield growth areas will happen whether this highway happens or not. Those municipalities have to meet their growth projections. My understanding is that a lot of developers actually aren't the biggest fan of this highway because the study has frozen development across a huge chunk of the GTA for going on a decade now as it's been designed.


The fervent media angle that the PCs are just out to get the Greenbelt in every way possible just isn't true, and the PCs have introduced and passed several policies now to indicate that isn't the case, including legislation banning MZOs in the greenbelt.

What the PCs have been trying to do is streamline the development & infrastructure approvals process, which has involved the limiting of several environmental regulations. But they haven't touched the Greenbelt.
 
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Amare

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how is it corruption? Because it's an infrastructure project you don't like? Where's the corruption?
Personally I dont mind the project at all, but we've seen this play out time and time again and the stories will leak out over time. Remember the last major highway extension in the GTA (Highway 407 east)?

That was an example of polished corruption at its finest between Jim Flaherty (the Federal Conservatives) and Greg Sorbara (the Provincial Liberals) who promised to help each other build projects that would benefit their constituents and donors. Sorbara had key interests in Vaughan with developers, and Flaherty had key interests and getting re-elected among other things. Flaherty had the Feds contribute and push the Vaughan subway project significantly. Meanwhile, Sorbara did the same with the Highway 407 East extension. All of this came to light after both individuals were out of office and many years after construction was underway for both projects.

I guarantee you in this case, we will hear news of all the backroom deals involving this project once construction is well underway. All parties involved in the matter now will keep things hush hush.
 

innsertnamehere

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Personally I dont mind the project at all, but we've seen this play out time and time again and the stories will leak out over time. Remember the last major highway extension in the GTA (Highway 407 east)?

That was an example of polished corruption at its finest between Jim Flaherty (the Federal Conservatives) and Greg Sorbara (the Provincial Liberals) who promised to help each other build projects that would benefit their constituents and donors. Sorbara had key interests in Vaughan with developers, and Flaherty had key interests and getting re-elected among other things. Flaherty had the Feds contribute and push the Vaughan subway project significantly. Meanwhile, Sorbara did the same with the Highway 407 East extension. All of this came to light after both individuals were out of office and many years after construction was underway for both projects.

I guarantee you in this case, we will hear news of all the backroom deals involving this project once construction is well underway. All parties involved in the matter now will keep things hush hush.
since when is representing the interests of your constituents corruption? It's literally the entire point of politicians. Sorbara wanted the Vaughan subway because it went to his riding. Believe it or not he doesn't really have any development land along the Vaughan Subway extension, at least none that hes actively pursuing 4 years after completion of the subway.

Del Duca pushed for the Kirby GO station, which was well documented. Same thing.

Given the progression of this project, I would be surprised if it's a result of corruption. The Liberals cancelled it after some extensive lobbying from environmental groups. Doug proposed to restart the EA process as one of the few actual policies he released prior to the election, probably largely in reaction to the cancellation. Since then the highway has just been undergoing the same process it has before.
 

Northern Light

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since when is representing the interests of your constituents corruption? It's literally the entire point of politicians. Sorbara wanted the Vaughan subway because it went to his riding. Believe it or not he doesn't really have any development land along the Vaughan Subway extension, at least none that hes actively pursuing 4 years after completion of the subway.

Del Duca pushed for the Kirby GO station, which was well documented. Same thing.

Given the progression of this project, I would be surprised if it's a result of corruption. The Liberals cancelled it after some extensive lobbying from environmental groups. Doug proposed to restart the EA process as one of the few actual policies he released prior to the election, probably largely in reaction to the cancellation. Since then the highway has just been undergoing the same process it has before.

Lets leave the word corruption aside for one moment.........

*****

If a government chooses to pursue a public policy that is contrary to the public interest; contrary to best principles in planning and ecology; will adversely effect provincial finances and is not supported by a majority of voters...............

It is, at the minimum, guilty of terrible judgement and bad public policy.

But I don't think it would be wrong to ask why a government would behave that way.

They know it will not polish their public image; it won't enhance their electability, and there is no legitimate justification for pursuing it.

As such, its not unreasonable to consider whether there are more suspect motivations at play.

Now I would not frivolously cast the allegation of corruption.

Legally that word has a meaning which I don't have the evidence to support in this case, at this time.

But it certainly seems dubious.
 

Northern Light

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And what exactly is spreading the greenbelt coverage area other than "Protecting the land from development". It sounds like they're doing exactly what you want them to do.

This particular Greenbelt expansion, while worthy, does not protect any new land adjacent to this proposed highway.

As such, it does little to contain the risk of sprawl that this highway would induce.

There is also no concrete proposal to offset the ecological damage this highway would do, both in its construction and its operation.
 

Amare

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since when is representing the interests of your constituents corruption? It's literally the entire point of politicians. Sorbara wanted the Vaughan subway because it went to his riding. Believe it or not he doesn't really have any development land along the Vaughan Subway extension, at least none that hes actively pursuing 4 years after completion of the subway.

Del Duca pushed for the Kirby GO station, which was well documented. Same thing.

Given the progression of this project, I would be surprised if it's a result of corruption. The Liberals cancelled it after some extensive lobbying from environmental groups. Doug proposed to restart the EA process as one of the few actual policies he released prior to the election, probably largely in reaction to the cancellation. Since then the highway has just been undergoing the same process it has before.
Representing the interest of your constituents is not corruption. But when you're going so far as trying to woo donors and one of your sole purposes of proceeding with any given major infrastructure project is to acquire more funds for your re-election campaign while ignoring various cost-benefit analysis exercises, then yes that is corruption. As I said before, the west has a bias view of what corruption is.

Greg Sorbara may not own any land himself, but his family is well connected to various development companies in and around Vaughan and this is well documented. The reason he wanted the subway to his riding is because his riding was Vaughan, it's not difficult to connect the dots there. The land he, his family, and his friends own doesnt need to be immediately adjacent to the route of the subway to see the benefits it would bring.

As for Del Duca his situation with the Kirby GO station was solely for his own poilitical gain. It was nefarious and dubious, and quite frankly disgusting but yes I wouldnt go as far to call it corruption. That's a whole other case all together since it didnt involve private interests, and promises of political donations and exchanging of favors.
 

TheTigerMaster

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I'll add that the mere appearance of corruption can be just a destructive as corruption itself. If the government is consistently making decisions that benefit their major political donors, of course that behaviour is going to invite allegations of corruption. There is nothing unreasonable about that.

If the government wants to avoid the image of being corrupt, they need to be open transparent about their decisions. The public need not agree with these decisions, but the decision-making process has to be documented and justifiable.

Unfortunately both the Ontario Liberals and Conservatives have been trending towards less transparency, particularly around infrastructure, and especially around land development. So when you have the government consistently making big decisions, in secret, that just happened to benefit their donors, with near zero transparency, you're going to appear to be corrupt as hell. If you don't want to appear to be corrupt as hell, then be transparent. It's simple. There is no reason why zoning issues or the development of a highway or railway should be shrouded in secrecy. These aren't the nuclear codes.

The public wold be foolish to assume good intentions by the government when there are plausible ulterior motives at play with zero meaningful transparency from the government with regards to the decision making process.

(And keep in mind I'm not necessarily talking about this project specifically, but rather a pattern of decision making from the Government of Ontario stretching back several years)
 
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Haljackey

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While politics is certainly a factor with this highway, it's a little strenuous to read post after post getting political. This is the transportation & infrastructure section of site, not the political board.

There is an election next year, and I'm sure this proposed highway will be a major voting issue for not just people that live in the affected ridings, but the province as a whole.

This is not really corruption in it's current form. It's being studied and pretty effectively communicated by the government. There are websites, presentations and places to express your feedback on the project. I'd call it more corrupt if it was going to be shoved down our throats with little to no information at all, or some very misleading info.

My greatest question with the highway is if it will be tolled or not. We probably won't get a concrete answer until after the election if it's still on the table if a new government is formed or the PCs are reduced to a minority.
 

innsertnamehere

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Lets leave the word corruption aside for one moment.........

*****

If a government chooses to pursue a public policy that is contrary to the public interest; contrary to best principles in planning and ecology; will adversely effect provincial finances and is not supported by a majority of voters...............

It is, at the minimum, guilty of terrible judgement and bad public policy.

But I don't think it would be wrong to ask why a government would behave that way.

They know it will not polish their public image; it won't enhance their electability, and there is no legitimate justification for pursuing it.

As such, its not unreasonable to consider whether there are more suspect motivations at play.

Now I would not frivolously cast the allegation of corruption.

Legally that word has a meaning which I don't have the evidence to support in this case, at this time.

But it certainly seems dubious.

I mean this project has gone under some pretty extensive planning background, possibly more than any project I can think of. It's case is pretty well established. MTO has been studying the thing for damn near a decade now and those studies began way back at looking at regional travel patterns, projecting potential modal shares, looking at other ways to accommodate the traffic, etc. The project was born out of a regional planning study looking at identifying infrastructure needs in the western GTA, It's not like MTO just decided to build a freeway along the northern parts of Brampton for the kick of it.

You can debate the merits of expanding road infrastructure sure, or whether this project causes too great of an ecological impact, but it's not to the point that it throws the governments integrity into question altogether.

"not supported by majority of voters" is dubious. It was a clear policy of the PC government and they won a majority government, including 3 of the 4 ridings this highway is proposed to run through. It's not like the PCs don't have an electoral mandate to pursue the project. The PCs supported in the 2018 election most likely because they thought it would bolster their chances in Brampton ridings, many of which went to the NDP. I see a clear natural reasoning as to why the PCs would want to pursue the project to support votes. 85-90% of people in Brampton drive to work or carpool.. is it really unfathomable to think that supporting a new freeway may be popular there?

Why does this as of yet unpriced but likely ~$3-5 billion project "adversely effect provincial finances" but the $30 billion Toronto subway expansion program go without scrutiny? Especially considering this project would very well self-finance itself with tolls?

Honestly I don't see how the PCs haven't been honest and transparent here. they promised to continue the EA for this project in the election. It was put directly in front of voters. They elected them. The PCs are completing their promise. How is this at all controversial? Where is the lack of transparency in that?

The PCs have pulled a lot of much shadier moves in many other policy departments. This isn't one of them.

I mean agree with the project or not, the case that it's based on shady dealings or whatever you want to call it is non-existent. The Star has simply picked this project up as their next Scarborough Subway - a infrastructure project that they don't like so they will spin it as negatively as possible.

A reminder as well that the PCs aren't pushing this to get built ASAP as far as I know. They are just having the EA completed. This highway likely won't open until the mid 2030's at the earliest.
 

innsertnamehere

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Representing the interest of your constituents is not corruption. But when you're going so far as trying to woo donors and one of your sole purposes of proceeding with any given major infrastructure project is to acquire more funds for your re-election campaign while ignoring various cost-benefit analysis exercises, then yes that is corruption. As I said before, the west has a bias view of what corruption is.

Greg Sorbara may not own any land himself, but his family is well connected to various development companies in and around Vaughan and this is well documented. The reason he wanted the subway to his riding is because his riding was Vaughan, it's not difficult to connect the dots there. The land he, his family, and his friends own doesnt need to be immediately adjacent to the route of the subway to see the benefits it would bring.

As for Del Duca his situation with the Kirby GO station was solely for his own poilitical gain. It was nefarious and dubious, and quite frankly disgusting but yes I wouldnt go as far to call it corruption. That's a whole other case all together since it didnt involve private interests, and promises of political donations and exchanging of favors.

Who says that developers donated to the PCs contingent on this project? That's my initial point.

Developers always donate to all political parties. They are generally favourable of the PCs because of their promises of less regulation, but the Liberals single largest donor category is developers as well. It's just part of the development business.

If the PCs had promised to kill the highway they more than likely would have still received exactly the same amount of donations. Which is actually relatively little as its limited on how much per person can be donated.

Correlation is absolutely not causation. And absolutely every policy change related to housing or infrastructure in this province the PCs seem to make people accuse them of corruption because developers donated to them. Just because many of the two parties interests align does not mean that they are in cahoots.
 

Northern Light

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I mean this project has gone under some pretty extensive planning background, possibly more than any project I can think of. It's case is pretty well established. MTO has been studying the thing for damn near a decade now and those studies began way back at looking at regional travel patterns, projecting potential modal shares, looking at other ways to accommodate the traffic, etc. The project was born out of a regional planning study looking at identifying infrastructure needs in the western GTA, It's not like MTO just decided to build a freeway along the northern parts of Brampton for the kick of it.

You can debate the merits of expanding road infrastructure sure, or whether this project causes too great of an ecological impact, but it's not to the point that it throws the governments integrity into question altogether.

I more or less agree with the above............though this government's integrity across multiple portfolios and decisions is certainly the subject of question.

"not supported by majority of voters" is dubious. It was a clear policy of the PC government and they won a majority government.

With the support of 40.5% of the electorate, which is not a majority. (yes, this would apply to most other 'majority' governments, irrespective of party, and I'm consistent in my disdain for the FPTP electoral system.)

including 3 of the 4 ridings this highway is proposed to run through.

I will grant they won said districts, I believe in each case with a majority.

However, I'm not certain that translates into popular support levels for the freeway.

This is a problem with every election, that parties run large manifestos/campaign books with multiple promises and people may feel one way about one promise and one way about another.

Even so, set that aside.

I would argue its the majority of residents of the GTA and not three ridings whose will should prevail, if popular sentiment is going to be the basis of public policy.

It's not like the PCs don't have an electoral mandate to pursue the project. The PCs supported in the 2018 election most likely because they thought it would bolster their chances in Brampton ridings, many of which went to the NDP. I see a clear natural reasoning as to why the PCs would want to pursue the project to support votes. 85-90% of people in Brampton drive to work or carpool.. is it really unfathomable to think that supporting a new freeway may be popular there?

Why does this as of yet unpriced but likely ~$3-5 billion project "adversely effect provincial finances" but the $30 billion Toronto subway expansion program go without scrutiny? Especially considering this project would very well self-finance itself with tolls?

The Globe and Mail priced it at 6 Billion as I recall.

The debt will still be incurred by the province; and it comes with ongoing and future maintenance costs.

***

Who is not scrutinizing subway costs?


Honestly I don't see how the PCs haven't been honest and transparent here. they promised to continue the EA for this project in the election. It was put directly in front of voters. They elected them. The PCs are completing their promise. How is this at all controversial? Where is the lack of transparency in that?

The transparency issue is as it pertains to their motivations; and to future land-use.
 

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