In a stunning turn of events, Ontario’s Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, has resigned from his cabinet position amidst mounting controversy surrounding his ministry’s handling of Greenbelt land swaps.
The scandal has drawn fierce criticism from political opponents, First Nations leaders, and residents who were outraged by the alleged mishandling of protected Greenbelt lands for housing development.
Clark’s resignation comes on the heels of investigations into his conduct, including a scathing report from Ontario’s integrity commissioner, who recommended his reprimand. The report accused Clark of failing to adequately oversee the process that ultimately designated protected Greenbelt lands for housing development.
The controversy began weeks earlier when the province’s auditor general released findings that raised serious concerns. It was revealed that the selection process for lands open to housing development was heavily influenced by a select group of well-connected developers poised to reap massive profits from these ventures. This revelation sparked outrage and called into question the integrity of the decision-making process.
In a letter addressed to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Clark acknowledged his efforts to “fulfill the mandate of getting more homes built” for the people of Ontario but conceded that his presence would only perpetuate distraction from crucial work.
He expressed accountability for the events that transpired and tendered his resignation as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing while pledging to continue serving his constituents as the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.