Featured Story Rants

Trying to create a story where there is no story

Written by Norris McDonald

Thought of the Day: The best mayor I ever met was Yves Levesque of Trois-Rivieres, Que. We shook hands and he said if I was a reporter looking to talk to a politician about the Trois-Rivieres Grand Prix, he was the wrong guy.

“This is how it works,” he said. “The Quebec City TV station, or the newspaper, come over here to find people who don’t like the race. Everybody likes it but they find two people who don’t like it. Then they come to see me, the mayor since 2002, for a reaction. They are trying to create a story where there is no story. I won’t talk to them.”

Today, the Toronto Star and the National Observer (everybody knows the Star, which is a Liberal party mouthpiece – I know this because I was the News Editor there for years; the Observer was founded five years ago and all their stories are about the horrors of climate change) published a story about the Bradford Bypass, which would connect Highways 400 and 404. To say the story is full of holes would be an understatement.

A careful read shows that most of the people affected approve of the project. Several municipalities have held off approval but who cares about them anyway? Barrie and Innisfil, for instance, are north of where this will happen.

You read (or hear) again and again how the Bypass will go through the Holland Marsh, which is the salad bowl of Ontario. But plans already say that the highway won’t go near where the growing takes place. And they failed to mention that Hwy 400 already goes right through the growing area, a project (when it happened) that was supported by all of the farmers and other growers in the region who said they needed better roads to get their produce to market. That’s why they’re in support of the Bypass, too.

The usual criticism of Premier Doug Ford having links to developers (ho-hum) is trotted out but if anybody thinks the Liberals and NDP don’t have similar connections, they’re nuts. Every major law office in the province, for instance, has a prominent Tory and Liberal on staff because those lawyers want to be in a position to make money no matter who forms the government. That developers donated about $800,000 to the Conservatives and about $500,000 to the Liberals (even the NDP got money) since the last election shows the construction companies think pretty much the same way the lawyers do. In short, this is no big deal. It is the way the world goes ‘round.

The story includes a couple of paragraphs about a Korean immigrant who lives on a couple of dozen acres near where the highway will be built. There is a photo of the gentleman and two others walking on a pristine path through his property. His complaint, and that of others, is that the route of the highway was changed to include some of his property and avoid wrecking a couple of holes of a nearby golf course. The golf course is owned by relatives of a Tory politician who declared a conflict of interest every time discussions came up.

The guy who owns the two dozen acres, of course, is upset because if the original route of the highway was retained, his property, which borders that original route, would be worth a fortune. If it’s expropriated, he will only get what the government decides to give him. I’d be upset, too. But that’s what happened when the previous Liberal government extended Hwy 407 east to Highways 35/115 so that Toronto’s one percenters could get to their Kawartha cottages faster.

Oh, and a golf course selling greens fees will make a whole lot of people happy. The only people enjoying that 24 (or so) acres is that Korean immigrant and his immediate family, which should have the socialist NDP up in arms.

That story, which appeared on the front page of today’s Sunday Star, was much ado about nothing. If laws have been broken, the Liberals and NDP in the Ontario legislature should make a complaint to the OPP to conduct an investigation. That’s what we have those laws for. But they won’t do that. They will just run TV ads full of rumour and innuendo that is probably worse than anything they’re accusing Ford and the Conservatives of doing. In the words of my Trois-Rivieres mayor, they’re trying to create a story where there is no story.