In the wake of the burgeoning Greenbelt scandal, Premier Doug Ford has vested his confidence in Elgin-Middlesex London MPP Rob Flack to not only navigate the government out of the imbroglio but also facilitate housing construction.
On Monday, as part of a cabinet reshuffle, Flack was entrusted with the responsibility of associate minister of housing, a role in which he will provide assistance to Paul Calandra, the newly appointed housing minister. Acknowledging Flack’s prowess, Ford remarked, “We have great associate ministers with Rob Flack, one of the brightest business minds at Queen’s Park to help build homes.”
Priorly serving as an assistant to the minister of agriculture, Flack is expected to directly report to Calandra and has been assigned an express directive pertaining to accessible housing and modular homes. This announcement came swiftly on the heels of housing minister Steve Clark’s resignation.
Jaquetta Newman, a political science professor at King’s University College, sounded optimistic about Flack’s appointment. She surmised, “He’s here to clean up a real mess,” and speculated that Flack’s agricultural and rural experience might serve as an asset in tackling the Greenbelt controversy. She cautioned, however, that the Ministry of Housing’s extensive portfolio could pose a high-risk challenge.
Furthermore, Flack’s election as a Conservative in Elgin-Middlesex-London on June 2, 2022, could allow him to alleviate some of Calandra’s impending responsibilities. Glen Morgan, a professor in Fanshawe College’s School of Language and Liberal Studies, articulated, “Calandra is going to need somebody at his side who can actually support this. Ford is vesting trust in Flack. I think Southwestern Ontario, one of Ontario’s mainstay agricultural regions, will have that connection in Rob.”
While Newman’s forecast for the Greenbelt scandal remains uncertain, she regards the recent reshuffle as a potential route towards redemption. Meanwhile, London’s opposition MPPs, while acknowledging Clark’s resignation as an initial step, persist in their demand that the premier be held responsible.
Flack’s office, despite repeated attempts to solicit a response, has remained silent on the matter.