Ontario Government Shake-Up Amid Greenbelt Scandal: Housing Minister Resigns, Cabinet Reshuffled

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In a significant turn of events, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has orchestrated a reconfiguration of his governing body following the resignation of Housing Minister Steve Clark. This decision, proclaimed on Monday evening, has unfolded in a climate of heightened disapproval towards the government’s handling of a controversial Greenbelt land swap. The transaction, improperly conducted under Clark’s adjutant’s oversight, resulted in several developers reaping billion-dollar profits.

The reported disregard of Clark towards the substantial issue at hand, choosing to “bury his head in the sand” while crucial decisions were taken, was highlighted in recent findings divulged by the integrity commissioner.

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Paul Calandra has been appointed to step into Clark’s shoes as the overseer of the housing portfolio. Prior to his new role as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Calandra was entrusted with long-term care.

The reshuffling brought about other modifications. Stan Cho is slated to take up the mantle as the new Minister of Long-Term Care, with Prabmeet Sarkaria assuming the position of Transportation Minister. Despite previous criticism over the troubled Eglinton Crosstown construction, Caroline Mulroney will now hold the title of Treasury Board President, all the while retaining her position as Minister of Francophone Affairs.

Rob Flack, tasked with a specific mandate on affordable housing and modular homes, will now operate as the Associate Minister of Housing, reporting to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Concurrently, Todd McCarthy and Nina Tangri have been assigned the roles of Associate Minister of Transportation and Associate Minister of Small Business, respectively.

Andrea Khanjin has been bestowed with additional duties as Deputy Government House Leader, reporting to Paul Calandra.

Ford emphasized the team’s commitment, stating, “As we continue to attract billions of dollars in new investments to create better jobs with bigger paycheques, we have the right team in place to get it done. We’ll never stop striving on the behalf of Ontario’s citizens to fabricate homes, highways, and public transit needed by our thriving communities.”

This shuffle follows MPP Steve Clark’s resignation on Sunday, under mounting criticism for two distressing reports surrounding the Greenbelt scandal. One report definitively stated that Clark had seriously violated ethical protocols in managing the affair.

As Ford’s administration attempts to move past the Greenbelt debacle, the Premier delivered a public denunciation of exorbitant interest rates on Monday.

However, NDP Leader Marit Stiles publicly lashed out at the recent revelations, stating emphatically that these reports are “just the tip of the iceberg.” Citizens’ trust in the Ford government would remain compromised, according to Stiles, until the Greenbelt decision is overturned.

Both Stiles and Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner will be airing their views regarding Clark’s resignation and the resultant cabinet shuffle at separate news briefings on Tuesday morning. Furthermore, Schreiner intends to deliver a resonant “call for action” in the aftermath of Clark’s departure.