The heat is on the Ford government: Two investigations into property deals & some nosing around by the OPP Rackets Squad

By Pepper Parr

January 20th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Ontario has an Office of the Integrity Commissioner, it’s located in Toronto and run by the Honourable J. David Wake

Integrity Commissioner: Honourable J. David Wake

The leader of the New Democrats wrote him a letter early in December pointing out that Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing proposed to remove 7,400 acres of land from Ontario’s Greenbelt plan, encouraging housing development on what is, at present, protected land.

“I am requesting an opinion on whether this government acted improperly with respect to these proposals.

“I am alarmed by the ongoing media reports that outline curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party.

Luca Bucci, CEO of the Ontario Homebuilders Association. Mr. Bucci was the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

“I am additionally concerned with reports of improper lobbying on the part of Luca Bucci, CEO of the Ontario Homebuilders Association. Mr. Bucci was the Chief of Staff to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing from January 2021 to April 2022. In June of 2022, Mr. Bucci became the CEO of the Ontario Homebuilders Association, an organization with strong ties to developers across the province.

“I would request that your office investigate improper lobbying and whether sections 2 and 3 of the Members’ Integrity Act have been breached by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“I would be happy to discuss the matter with you in greater detail and look forward to your response.”

The Integrity commissioner was not the only person Marit Stiles wrote to.  She also wrote to Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General of Ontario who responded

Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General of Ontario

“I am writing in response to your joint letter dated January 11, 2023 requesting my Office conduct a value-for-money audit of the financial and environmental implications relating to the government’s recent decisions affecting the Greenbelt.

“This issue has garnered significant public attention over the past few months and has been repeatedly raised during question periods in the Legislature. We have received considerable correspondence on this issue. While there are a number of factors we take into consideration in determining our audit work each year, we do pay attention to matters of interest to the public and issues discussed in the Legislature.

“While requests from individual members of the Legislature and the public are assessed and factor into our audit work, a letter requesting us to conduct work in a specific area jointly signed by the leaders of all Opposition parties of the Ontario Legislative Assembly is a request of high significance.

“I have subsequently been in communication with the government and we will have their, and the relevant ministries, full cooperation during our audit.

“Accordingly given all of these factors, I would like to confirm that my Office will be conducting certain audit work on this issue commencing within the next few weeks.”

So let’s add all this up:

Leader of the Position at Queen’s Park: Marit Stiles

Integrity Commissioner has said he will be looking into the issues Maria Stiles brought to his attention.  The Auditor General has said she will have staff looking into the financial and environmental implications relating to the government’s recent decisions affecting the Greenbelt.

Premier Doug Ford on a difficult day. There are more of those coming his way.

And – don’t forget the telephone calls the OPP Racket Squad is making to the people who made complaints.

This is not looking good for Doug Ford.  One has to wonder who is whispering in his ear and what are his advisers doing for him.

Unions from across the country gathered in Toronto a number of months ago to press the government to give 55,000 educational workers a decent salary deal – the government was able to read the writing on the wall with that issue.

There is a lot of private money on the table with the land transactions.  Several developers thought they had finally found a way to develop land they had purchased.

Those dreams may have been dashed.

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