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Royal Canadian Mounted Police to probe Ford Government’s Greenbelt controversy

The request comes a day after the chief of staff for Ontario’s housing minister resigned

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has taken over the investigation of the Ford government’s handling of the Ontario Greenbelt housing controversy, after being called in by the Ontario Provincial Police in an effort to avoid “any perceived conflict of interest,” the OPP said in a statement.

This move by the provincial police follows the resignation of Ryan Amato, the chief of staff for Ontario’s housing minister, who was said to be in contact with developers who owned land in the protected Greenbelt area, and was said to have been influenced in the decisions regarding the land swap.

“The RCMP can confirm that we received a referral to investigate irregularities in the disposition of the Greenbelt surrounding Toronto,” the federal police force said in an emailed statement.

The OPP said they received several questions about the handling of the investigation, and they are referring the case to the RCMP to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest.

In its statement, RCMP said it will take appropriate action as deemed necessary after reviewing the information they have received. The force added that the investigation was still in its “infancy.”

The Ontario government’s proposal to remove approximately 74,00 acres across the protected Greenbelt area to build more houses came under fire after Ontario Auditor General bonnie Lysyk released a report determining that opening the Greenbelt was unnecessary to meet the government’s housing goal.

According to Lysyk’s report, Housing Minister Steve Clark’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato, identified 21 of the 22 sites through a small team, ultimately settling on 15 sites. The audit report found that 12 of the 15 parcels of land chosen for removal from the Greenbelt came from specific requests from developers or their representatives.

Earlier this month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the government remains committed to “building more houses” while acknowledging the auditor general’s recommendations regarding the use of Greenbelt land.

Rahat Sandhu
canada greenbeltCanada RCMPDoug FordDoug Ford GovernmentFordGREENBELTgreenbelt development planOntario Provincial PoliceOPP