Ontario Minister Rasheed Resigns Over Las Vegas Trip Investigation

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Kaleed Rasheed, Ontario’s Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, has stepped down from his cabinet role and caucus within the Progressive Conservative party, after inconsistencies emerged regarding a Las Vegas trip. The province’s integrity commissioner had launched an inquiry into the trip.

In a brief announcement on Wednesday afternoon, The Premier’s Office confirmed Rasheed’s resignation. They also conveyed that if the integrity commissioner acquitted him, he would be granted an opportunity to rejoin the caucus.

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A successor to the role of Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery is expected to be revealed in the following days.

Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake examined the Las Vegas trip as part of a broader investigation into Housing Minister Steve Clark’s conduct related to the Greenbelt, reacting to allegations of potential misconduct involving a government minister, staffer and a property developer.

During the trip in question, Rasheed and then-principal secretary to Premier Doug Ford, Amin Massoudi, allegedly interacted with developer Shakir Rehmatullah at a hotel’s lobby. According to Rasheed, despite being friends, he was unaware Rehmatullah would be in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, there are records showing Rehmatullah’s company, FLATO Development, owning two sites previously part of the Greenbelt. However, contrary to claims, evidence shows that the Las Vegas trip occurred in February 2022, with hotel staff confirming that the three got massages simultaneously.

In a bid to clarify the timeline, the Minister’s staff revealed that the trip was indeed rescheduled due to scheduling conflicts from its original December 2019 plan. The correct timeline has since been shared with the Integrity Commissioner.

Stepping down to avoid causing a distraction from the government’s crucial work, Rasheed expressed his aspiration to clear his name and rejoin the Ontario PC team as soon as possible. Until then, he will serve as an independent in the Legislature, representing Mississauga East-Cooksville.

This is the second minister resignation following the Integrity Commissioner’s report on non-transparent and unsupervised decisions related to the Greenbelt. Previously, Housing Minister Steve Clark stepped down after breaching ethics rules for failing to oversee the land selection process for the Greenbelt development, resulting in conflicts of interest and misuse of insider information.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles, commenting on these developments, described the government as spiraling out of control. While interim Ontario Liberal Leader John Fraser highlighted the deep-seated issues within the government, calling on Premier Doug Ford to be transparent about the Greenbelt Giveaway.