Ford doubles down on Greenbelt plan, supports housing minister after scathing report

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Published August 31, 2023 at 12:49 pm

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks to reporters on Thursday. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has doubled down on his Greenbelt plan and is standing by his embattled housing minister.

Ford says Housing Minister Steve Clark has a tough job and will remain part of the team as the government tries to fulfil its promise to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years.

His comments on Thursday morning come a day after the integrity commissioner found Clark violated two sections of the Members’ Integrity Act as the government removed land from the protected Greenbelt for housing.

Last year, the province took 7,400 acres of land out of the Greenbelt to build 50,000 homes and replaced it with about 9,400 acres elsewhere.

In his report, Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake found the Greenbelt land removal process was marked by “unnecessary hastiness and deception.”

Both Clark and Ford have denied wrongdoing, but admit that the process to select the lands, which favoured certain developers, was flawed.

Speaking to reporters early Thursday afternoon, after Ford had delivered his comments in the morning, Clark said he accepts full responsibility for the handling of the matter, but added he will not resign.

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