Doug Ford hammered with questions on the Greenbelt at Mississauga announcement

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Published August 11, 2023 at 11:42 am

ford housing mississauga

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stuck by his message on the need to swap out Greenbelt lands for development during an announcement in Mississauga today.

Ford and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark were in Streetsville at the Indwell housing site at 25 Thomas St. today (Aug. 11). The project will provide permanent, supportive housing for 40 people.

The new announcement was $270,000 in operational funding from the province for rent supplements and mental health and addictions support services for the Streetsville housing project.

But the focus of the press conference returned to Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s special report on the government’s decision in 2022 to remove 7,400 acres of environmentally protected Greenbelt land for development.

The report found the government favoured certain developers and landowners who stand to make up to $8.3 billion in profits over the land swap.

Ford and Clark didn’t stray from the message that the land swap is needed to provide housing.

Responding to a question that this press conference was scheduled to move focus away from the fallout of the scathing report, Ford said housing announcements are happening all the time.

“We are out announcing, at every opportunity, well before the Auditor General’s report, that we are going to build homes,” Ford said.

Ford continued to say immigration is bringing more than 500,000 people to the province, more than expected.

He continued to admit the process was flawed, but said he won’t reverse the decision to remove the Greenbelt lands. But he added a warning to the landowners.

“We need to build those homes, that is a message to the landowners that have these properties, you don’t get shovels in the ground, we don’t see progression, rapidly, that land is going back to the Greenbelt,” Ford said.

While the NDP and Liberals have called for Clark to resign, there are no plans for anyone to resign yet over the controversy.

Fielding questions over whether or not the chief of staff to the Minister of Housing would be the “fall guy” taking the blame for the flawed process, Ford didn’t answer directly.

The Premier’s Office asked the integrity commissioner to investigate how the housing minister’s chief of staff handled opening Greenbelt land to development. Ford said they would wait to see the integrity commissioner’s report.

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