Aug 23, 2023

By Jane Brown

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The OPP has handed off to the RCMP a decision whether to launch a criminal investigation into Premier Doug Ford’s Greenbelt land swap.

A day after a top Progressive Conservative aide resigned over the affair, the OPP says in a statement Wednesday morning, “to avoid any potential perceived conflict of interest, the OPP referred this matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and any questions should be directed to the RCMP.”

Following Ryan Amato’s resignation, opposition leaders at Queen’s Park have renewed their calls for Municipal Affairs and Housing Leader Steve Clark to step down.

Amato was Clark’s chief of staff and is the individual at the heart of a recent and scathing auditor general’s report that found developers who had access to Amato wound up with more than 90 percent of the land that was removed from the previously protected Greenbelt.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner says Amato’s resignation is a first step.

“Quite frankly, the minister should resign,” Schreiner continued, “This is a huge scandal that’s outraged people across the province, and what’s so infuriating, it’s actually going to make the housing affordability crisis worse because none of this land is serviced so land speculators are going to cash in on $8.3-billion dollars, we’re going to pay the price for it, and the premier has failed to hold his minister accountable.”

In a statement, NDP Leader Marit Stiles says the auditor general’s report was very clear the staffer obviously did not act independently and now it’s time that the minister takes responsibility, do the right thing and also step down.

Both the premier and Steve Clark have said they were unaware that the process was being controlled by Ryan Amato.

The premier has also committed to continue moving forward with the plans already in place to develop 7400 acres of environmentally sensitive land in the GTHA.

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