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Housing Minister apologizes, but remains in cabinet

By Randy Thoms Sep 1, 2023 | 12:44 AM

Ontario’s Housing Minister is accepting responsibility for not having full oversight in the removal of Greenbelt lands for development.

Both the Auditor General and Integrity Commissioner cited the process as being flawed and unfair.

The Integrity Commissioner was critical of Clark for failing to have proper oversight and ruled that he contravened two sections of the Integrity Act.

Clark told reporters on Thursday that he accepts the criticism.

“I accept that I, Ottawa, have had greater oversight over my former Chief of Staff and over the process. And to Ontarians, I want to say very sincerely that I apologize that I did not. I’m committed to making sure that the flaws of the kind outlined in the report by Justice Wake do not happen again,” says Clark.

However, Clark still plans to continue as Housing Minister despite continued calls for his resignation.

And the focus on getting more homes built in Ontario remains.

“Our government recognizes that we have a generational housing supply problem. We have a crisis of affordability in our province. We remain committed, and I remain committed to work with Premier Ford on the task that he’s given me, and that’s to get homes built to tackle that housing supply crisis,” says Clark.

Premier Doug Ford also addressed the during an announcement to expand the number of skilled trades career fairs.

He says he has faith in Clark and gave no indication of plans to replace him in the housing portfolio.

“We’re going to work with Minister Clark, like we work with the other ministers to fulfill our mandate. Our mandate is to build homes. It’s as simple as that. And we’re going to continue moving forward on that mandate of building 1.5 million homes,” says Ford.

Ford repeated his intention to improve the process but refused to back down on the housing strategy that includes using what he calls a very small portion of the Greenbelt.

The opposition was quick to respond.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser wants a legislative committee to review the process.

“For the Premier to open the books, waive cabinet privilege. And I’m going to say this thing, and I’ve said it last week, I’ll repeat it again. Anyone who gets caught up in this, anyone who has to testify, anyone who’s part of an investigation, the taxpayer cannot be on the hook for their legal costs,” says Fraser.

He adds Clarks failed the people of Ontario and the Ontario Legislature and should step down.


Green Party leader Mike Schreiner says both the Premier and Clark failed the accountability test with the findings of the Integrity Commissioner.

“And that is why we are calling for the Minister to be removed from Cabinet, why we are calling on this government to reverse the corrupt process that led to this Greenbelt scandal and return all Greenbelt lands to full protected status,” says Schreiner.

NDP leader Marit Stiles also repeated her desire to see Clark replaced, calling his apology fake.

“His words are meaningless without any action to back them up. Ontarians have lost all trust in this Minister, and he needs to go. The Premier needs to step up, show some leadership, kick Clark out of cabinet. Then get us all back in the Legislature so we can restore all of these lands back to the Greenbelt,” states Stiles.




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