Steve Clark, former minister of housing, has now accepted responsibility for the appalling lack of oversight in designating protected lands to be “unlocked” from the areas of the Greenbelt and turned over to developers.
The process was not only deeply flawed but, according to the auditor general, possibly corrupt. According to the integrity commissioner’s report, the minister’s conduct in the process was unethical, yet up until Monday, he said he would not be stepping down, nor did Premier Doug Ford remove him from his position.
Both Ford and Clark said they take responsibility for the bad process, be it corrupt and unethical, but they are sticking with it. Furthermore, we now have been told the identity of Mr. X, the former mayor of Clarington, John Mutton, who stood to earn $1 million if his client’s Greenbelt removal request was approved and who posted many photos of himself with Clark and Ford. Clearly, a full investigation by the RCMP is warranted.
Saying sorry isn’t good enough, though in fairness to Ford, he said right from Day 1 he would “cut the red tape” and “get it done” — he did not say it would be ethical or fair. Worse, the cabinet, including Jill Dunlop and Doug Downey, all signed off on this deal, and they all need to be held accountable. The people of Ontario deserve better of their elected representatives, who have a duty to act honourably and responsibly, and voters must remember this for 2026.
The premier and Clark both admit they failed, and they failed badly, according to both the auditor general and integrity commissioner’s report. They say “the buck stops here,” but that is meaningless without rectification and retribution. The Ford government must return the lands to the Greenbelt and instead, as noted previously by planners, as well as the auditor general’s report, focus on building homes in areas already designated ready for development.