Ontario Housing Minister Resigns Amid $8.28-billion Greenbelt Scandal


The abrupt resignation of Ontario’s Housing Minister, Steve Clark, came in the wake of lengthy tension surrounding the controversial $8.28-billion Greenbelt scandal. With mounting pressure, Clark made the decision to vacate his position, recognizing that his presence had become disruptive to the government’s operations.

Peggy Sattler, an MPP for London West of the New Democratic Party, responded to Clark’s departure by stating, “It took a while but it’s about time that the minister took some accountability for this scandal that seems to be ever deepening. We’re just scratching the surface of this.”

Clark cited the urgent need for a non-distracting figure to tackle the prevailing housing crisis as the core reason behind his resignation. His departure came amid two severe Greenbelt reports that exposed a maligned process skewing to particular developers and a stark absence of transparency.

Ontario’s integrity commissioner recommended reprimanding Clark in the legislature for “failing to oversee the process by which lands in the Greenbelt were selected for development,” the fallout of which entailed his violation of sections 2 and 3(2) of the Members’ Integrity Act. These breaches related to conflicts of interest and the use of exclusive insider knowledge.

A month prior, Bonnie Lysyk, Ontario’s auditor general, revealed that roughly 92 per cent of the 7,400 acres of land omitted from the Greenbelt could be linked back to three developers who had direct lines to the housing ministry. The beneficiaries of the land-selection process—a process that inadvertently ignored environmental, agricultural, and financial ramifications—stand to see a hefty $8.3 billion increase in their property values.

In light of these revelations, Teresa Armstrong, London-Fanshawe NDP MPP expresses an eagerness for a thorough investigation. “We’re hoping that we’re going to have that RCMP investigation unfold and the truth really come out,” she says.

Terence Kernaghan, MPP for London-North Centre, claims that the resignation only marks a limited stride towards real accountability for the government. “We’re also calling upon this government to make sure that they’re holding all of the records, all of the documents related to this scandal,” he asserts.

The two Greenbelt reports single out Clark’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato, indicting him for the proposition of 14 among 15 Greenbelt sites. However, both reports underscore that the housing minister should have been more involved in overseeing the initiative.

Defying the tensions, Premier Doug Ford has consistently championed his housing minister, reaffirming his faith in his team’s ability to meet the ambitious government mandate of constructing 1.5 million homes within ten years.

Post-resignation, Ford paid tribute to Clark’s service in the Cabinet. He remains firm that the objectives for housing will stay unaffected and expressed his belief in Clark’s continued dedication to his community as a part of his team at Queen’s Park.

Despite the resignation and the commending words, Sattler insists on the need for more openness, “We need the premier to be upfront and let Ontarians know what really happened with this Greenbelt scandal.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here