Aug 29, 2023

By Jane Brown

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There are more developments on Premier Doug Ford’s Greenbelt scandal.

Firstly, Ontario’s integrity commissioner says he will complete his investigation of conduct by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark before turning his attention to Clark’s former chief of staff, Ryan Amato.

J. David Wake is currently looking into whether Clark contravened the Members’ Integrity Act for allowing development on 7400 acres in the protected Greenbelt for 50,000 homes to be built.

Three weeks ago, the auditor general asked the integrity commissioner to investigate Amato after Clark’s ex-chief of staff was found to have personally selected 14 of the 15 plots removed from the Greenbelt and that prominent developers stand to make a nearly $8.3-billion dollar windfall.

Staff in the integrity commissioner’s office says the Amato investigation will begin following the completion of the inquiry into Steve Clark.

Meantime, Ontario First Nation chiefs have voted unanimously in an emergency meeting to demand Doug Ford’s government return land removed for development to the protected Greenbelt.

“In our teachings we talk about wetlands as being the kidney of Mother Earth and filters that water, it’s also about the agricultural part of the Greenbelt,” explained Hiawatha First Nation Chief Laurie Carr, “So when we talk about foods and waters and hunting and lands and farming and all of those pieces. We’re talking about everyone. This isn’t just a First Nation issue.”

The chiefs say the deal which involves land on their territory was made in a completely flawed process and without consultation from the Chiefs of Ontario.

In response, Housing Minister Clark says the government will be consulting widely going forward.

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