Ontario Housing Minister Steve Clark resigns in wake of Greenbelt controversy

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The move comes days after a report from the province’s integrity commissioner found Clark violated ethics rules for the way the government removed land earmarked for development from the protected Greenbelt.

“Since the integrity commissioner’s report was released I have continued to reflect on my role and my obligations to the people of Ontario,” Clark wrote. “Ontario is experiencing the most challenging housing crisis our province has ever faced.

“However, this crisis demands someone who is not a distraction from the important work that needs to be done.”

At a press conference on Thursday, Clark said he would stay on in his job and establish a process “so that these mistakes don’t happen again.”

However, in his letter to Premier Ford, however, he said he realized “my presence will only cause a further distraction from the important work that needs to be done and that I need to take accountability for what has transpired.

“As someone who has given my life to serving the people through our democratic institutions, I feel that it is my responsibility to adhere to the principles of ministerial accountability.

Clark has been a Progressive Conservative MPP for over a decade and held his ministerial portfolio since the first days of Premier Doug Ford’s government.

“Since the integrity commissioner’s report was released, I have continued to reflect on my role and my obligations to the people of Ontario,” wrote Clark in the letter

Clark will remain MPP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. He was first elected as an MPP in a 2010 byelection.

Clark’s former chief of staff, Ryan Amato, who led the “process marked by misinterpretation, unnecessary hastiness and deception” that improperly furthered the interests of private developers, Clark was guilty of averting his eyes to what was going on, according to Wake.

Amato had “substantial control” over the Greenbelt land swap process and gave “preferential treatment” to prominent developers with “direct access” to him.

The owners of the 15 parcels of land removed from the Greenbelt could ultimately see their property values increase by $8.3 billion, according to an estimate from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

“I accept that I ought to have had greater oversight over my former chief of staff, and over the process, and to Ontarians I want to say very sincerely that I apologize,” Clark told reporters last Thursday afternoon at Queen’s Park.



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