CKMS News – 2023-08-17 – Greenbelt accountability, “Ford Fest”, and byelection campaigning: Interviews with Debbie Chapman and Aislinn Clancy
By: dan kellar
Since Mid-January of 2023, following the resignation of NDP MPP Laura Mae Lindo, the riding of Kitchener Centre has been without representation in the Ontario legislature. While not disrupting the balance of power in government, the conservatives deemed the by-election will occur in January 2024, the maximum time allowed by the Elections Act for the seat to remain empty.
Currently, there is no candidate for the Conservative Party in the byelection, while the NDP are running Debbie Chapman, and the Liberal Party is represented by Kelly Steiss. On September 8th, in the adjacent Waterloo riding, which is held by the NDP’s Catherine Fife, Doug Ford held the political outreach and fundraising event “Ford Fest” at Bingemans.
Bingemans also borders the Kitchener Conestoga riding which is held by PC MPP Mike Harris Jr., who welcomed Ford Fest into the Region, telling CKMS News in a statement:
“Ford Fest is a free, non-partisan community event hosted by Ontario’s Ford family.”, and, Harris added “Ford Fest offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with their elected representatives.”
In a piece released by CKMS News on September 8th, Waterloo Regional Labour Council president Jeff Pelich spoke about why folks were heading to protest at Ford Fest. You can listen to that whole interview at radiowaterloo.ca/news
Today’s show will feature interviews with Clancy and Chapman about Ford Fest and the conservative government, the upcoming by-election and what issues their campaigns are focusing on, and the growing calls for accountability around the Green Belt scandal. Both the NDP and Green Party candidates said the lands removed from Greenbelt protection should be immediately returned to their protected status. The liberals have also called for the Green Belt lands to be returned and for accountability for the actions of the conservatives..
Since the interviews, the conservatives have announced the sites will be “re-evaluated”.
In response to calls for Ford to step down over the Green Belt scandal MPP Harris told CKMS News that the conservative government will continue with their plan to build homes on “non-sensitive” Green Belt lands claiming this was “requested by many municipalities”. Harris concluded: “I want to emphasize that, under the continued leadership of our Premier, our Government will prioritize addressing the housing crisis, ensuring more people have a place to call home.”.