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Prabmeet Sarkaria Becomes Transportation Minister, Nina Tangri Associate Minister of Small Business in Ontario Cabinet Reshuffle

Ontario Premier Doug Ford Reshuffles Cabinet Following Housing Minister's Resignation

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford made significant changes to his cabinet on Monday, following the resignation of Housing Minister Steve Clark amid controversy. Replacing Steve Clark is Paul Calandra, who previously served as the long-term care minister. Calandra will continue to hold the position of Government House Leader, while Stan Cho takes on the role of long-term care minister.

Caroline Mulroney, formerly the transportation minister, assumes the position of president of the Treasury Board. Prabmeet Sarkaria steps into her former role as transportation minister, and Nina Tangri becomes the associate minister of small business with Mulroney retaining responsibility for Francophone affairs.

Clark’s departure came in the wake of a scathing report from the province’s integrity commissioner, which determined that he had violated ethics rules in connection with the opening of parts of the protected Greenbelt for development.

Premier Ford expressed confidence in his “renewed team,” stating, “We’ll never stop working on behalf of the people of Ontario to build the homes, highways, and public transit our growing communities need,” in a statement released Monday evening.

Notably, Clark’s resignation came just days after Ford had publicly supported his continuation as housing minister.

Marit Stiles, the Official Opposition New Democrat Leader, criticized the cabinet shuffle, labeling it a “slapdash team.” Stiles voiced concerns about alleged government corruption and favoritism towards certain insiders benefiting at the expense of others.

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The controversy stems from the provincial government’s decision last year to remove approximately 2,995 hectares of land from the Greenbelt in order to facilitate the construction of 50,000 homes, compensating with about 3,804 hectares of land elsewhere. This move was part of the government’s commitment to address the housing crisis by constructing 1.5 million homes over a decade.

Two separate investigations into the Greenbelt land exchange found shortcomings in the selection process, indicating a preference for specific developers. Premier Ford has admitted to flaws in the selection process but maintained his innocence regarding any wrongdoing.

Both the integrity commissioner and the auditor general revealed that Clark’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato, had selected 14 of the 15 sites removed from the protected Greenbelt. Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake clarified that neither Clark nor Ford were aware of Amato’s actions, suggesting that Clark had chosen to be unaware of the situation after assigning the Greenbelt file to Amato. It’s worth noting that Ford had directed Clark to explore a process for opening up the Greenbelt shortly after the Progressive Conservatives’ significant electoral victory last year.

Other moves include Stan Cho taking over as minister of long-term care, Rob Flack being named associate minister of housing, Todd McCarthy becoming the associate minister of transportation. Andrea Khanjin will also have an expanded role as deputy government house leader to Calandra, who will retain that role.

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