Aug 25, 2023

By Christine Ross

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Doug Ford says he’s confident nothing criminal took place when his government removed land from the Greenbelt for housing.

The Premier spoke publicly for the first time since the chief of staff to the housing minister resigned and the RCMP announced it may investigate once it reviews all the evidence.

But despite growing criticism and a dip in the public opinion polls, Ford is doubling down saying his government will proceed with Greenbelt plan.

“We need a war time effort right now, on all fronts, we all have to be working together,” Ford told reporters at Queen’s Park Friday. “I have to tell the builders out there, I talk to a lot of Mayors, I talked to them at A-M-O ( Association of Municipalities of Ontario ) and I’m drawing a line in the sand, if you don’t start building, or if you have permits within municipalities, I’m talking to the Mayors saying so many builders have permits and they aren’t building, that’s unacceptable.”

The auditor general found that developers who owned 15 sites of land that the Conservative government removed from the Greenbelt last year now stand to see those properties rise in value by $8.3 billion.

And further, developers with connections to a housing ministry staffer wound up with 92 % of the land removed from the Greenbelt.

Both Ford and Clark maintain they didn’t know how the sites were selected, with the premier adding he’s not a micromanager.

But Opposition Leader Marit Stiles is not buying it.

“He’s so confident and yet he says he doesn’t know anything, so which is it?” said Stiles. “The RCMP are looking at investigating, and the auditor general has already said that envelopes passed hands and land was divvied up, land swaps took place to the benefit of a few developers at the expense of everybody else to the tune of billions of dollars.”

Ford says if the RCMP decides to investigate, he’d take it very seriously but is certain they would find no criminality.

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