RCMP take over the land swap case - will criminal charges be laid?

By Pepper Parr

August 23, 2023



The heat just got turned up a notch.

Police in Ontario tend not to touch much in the way of misbehaviour on the part of politicians at the provincial level.

The potential for conflicts is just too high.

The Ontario Provincial Police has been keeping an eye on the way the Greenbelt land swap is playing out.  When it became evident to them – they passed the file along to the RCMP.


The OPP said it: “has received a number of inquiries regarding an investigation into the Greenbelt.”

“To avoid any potential perceived conflict of interest, the OPP referred this matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,”

“In order to protect the integrity of the process, it would not be appropriate to provide any further comment. Questions should be directed to the RCMP.”

The OPP got in touch with the Mounties and said there was a thick file coming their way.

The “buck stopped” at the Premier’s desk. Is that statement enough to bring an end to the problems?

The decision on the part of Doug Ford to accept the resignation of Ryan Amato who was blamed by the Auditor General for the way lands were removed from the Greenbelt to allow housing developments.

Amato was Chief of Staff to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark who said he was not aware of the decisions Amato made about lands being removed from the Greenbelt

The move came the morning after Ford’s government parted ways with Ryan Amato, who was blamed in the $8.28-billion Greenbelt land swap controversy.

Ivana Yelich, Ford’s deputy chief of staff, said Tuesday afternoon that: “The premier’s office has accepted Ryan Amato’s resignation as chief of staff to the minister of municipal affairs and housing, effective immediately,”

Auditor General Bonnie Lysak issued a scathing report – is it to bring about the resignation of the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark

Auditor General Bonnie Lysak issued a scathing report that set out just what happened: prominent developers” getting 7,400 acres of environmentally sensitive land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area opened up to build 50,000 homes adding that  the usual guardrails provided by bureaucrats and planners, and personally selected 14 of the 15 parcels of protected land to be removed from the Greenbelt.

Lysak said that could mean an $8.28-billion bonanza for the landowners.

Integrity commissioner J. David Wake, who is also doing a probe of the Greenbelt land swap, is investigating whether Amato breached the Public Service Act.

Burlington MPP Natalie Pierre has yet to make a statement on the Auditor General’s Report.

Amato, who has retained counsel, has not been available for comment.

It is not unusual for the OPP, which is funded by Queen’s Park, to refer potentially politically sensitive cases to other forces.

This isn’t the end of this story.

People in Burlington are still waiting for a statement from their MPP Natalie Pierre – promised “soon” more than a week ago.

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1 comment to RCMP take over the land swap case – will criminal charges be laid?

  • It’s not just provincial, municipal criminal investigations are given a very wide berth by police according to our audit reports. Such was openly discussed at an all candidates debate in Milton in 2018. A candidate was very clear that the message received at several police officers’ doors was crime was being under reported. Anne in attendance as a candidate for Regional Chair spoke loud and clear that our audit files show without a doubt numerous cases of police and municipalities failing to act on evidence of municipal crime.

    Former Ombudsman Andre Marin clearly spoke from years of experience when quoted in the media “Municipal politicians make provincial politicians look like choir boys”

    After several years of an accumulation of Skeletons in the Closet that Burlington Post’s Tina Depko reported would be covered after the 2014 election and then was hired by Goldring! we are hopeful the Halton/Burlington taxpayers will be more receptive to dealing with significant issues that no law abiding community would tolerate.