doug ford greenbelt

Doug Ford's housing minister guilty of violating Integrity Act with Greenbelt scandal

Calls for Premier Doug Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark to resign have been revived in full force today after a report from the Integrity Commissioner's office confirmed that the latter broke Ontario's Integrity Act, the statute that Members of the Legislative Assembly must adhere to.

Marit Stiles, Leader of Ontario's Official Opposition, spoke on the news in a press conference Wednesday afternoon, saying that the process Ford and his team used to select portions of protected Greenbelt lands to build homes on was "not fair, it was corrupt, there was collusion, it was deceptive, it was hasty."

"Nothing supports a continuation of their plan. I don't see how the government can stand by this decision now. They need to reverse course."

Indeed, Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake says in his newly-released 166-page report that Clark contravened his duties as minister by "failing to oversee the process by which lands in the Greenbelt were selected to development," which resulted in "the private interests of certain developers being furthered improperly."

Residents have been enraged and suspicious since the provincial government broke the news in the fall that it was launching a consultation for potentially constructing homes on the environmentally-sensitive lands, which have been out-of-bounds for developers for nearly two decades.

Though the excuse was the desperate need for more housing in the province ASAP, Ford and members of his cabinet have been connected to developers who stand to make billions from the very controversial move.

An investigation by Ontario's Auditor General found earlier this month that the process of selecting the handful of land parcels was not "a standard or defensible process," and that particular developers were favoured.

"It also can be shown that there was sufficient land for the target of 1.5 million homes to be built without the need to build on the Greenbelt," that report reads.

Stiles said in her briefing today that she feels the rules surrounding these cases in Ontario are unfortunately not strong enough to result in appropriate consequences, as the Integrity Commissioner can only "recommend" that Clark be reprimanded — which they now have.

She suggested that Ford demand Clark's resignation — a suggestion he is apparently not heeding — and also make public all relevant emails, phone calls, mandate letters, and various other documents between himself, his staff, and developers.

"The Premier has to answer for this and there must be consequences," she continued, noting that Ontarians no longer trust the province's leadership or have confidence that it is acting in their best interest.

"He can keep hiding but the truth will come out."

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