Statement by Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager, Environmental Defence, on Integrity Commissioner’s Findings that Ontario’s Housing Minister Breached Integrity Rules in Removing Land from the Greenbelt
Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Huron-Wendat – Today’s report by Integrity Commissioner David Wake revealed integrity breaches by Housing Minister Steve Clark, as well as political involvement by the Premier and key insiders. This reinforces the absolute necessity for the Ontario government to immediately reverse all Greenbelt removals.
For several years, Minister Clark has made rhetorical use of the very real housing crisis in Ontario while pursuing a push for sprawl that could never have done anything but make housing shortages worse. This push culminated in the removal of 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt last October. Today’s revelations by Commissioner Wake, and those of the Auditor General earlier this month, reveal the grave breaches of integrity rules and political backroom motivations that lay behind this.
Regardless of what personal consequences Minister Clark ultimately faces as a result of his integrity breaches, or the ongoing RCMP investigation, it remains clear that there is no path to restoring Ontario’s reputation that does not begin with reversing the $8.3 billion Greenbelt giveaways in their entirety.
In light of these reports, which leave no room to continue insisting that the Greenbelt removals are about housing, the Premier, Cabinet and PC MPPs need to immediately take the following actions:
- Restore protection to every acre of land Minister Clark removed from the Greenbelt and prohibiting any further removals
- Reinstate the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act
- Reverse the various boundary expansions and sprawl MZOs authorized by the Minister’s Office
- Overhaul land use rules to slam the brakes on sprawl and focus development on adding compact, affordable homes to existing neighbourhoods and settlement areas
About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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