Breaking: RCMP launches investigation into Greenbelt deal

It will be carried out by O Division’s Sensitive and International Investigations (SII) unit.

Key Takeaways:

  • The case was referred to the RCMP by the Ontario Provincial Police.
  • The investigation comes after several resignations in the Ontario government and a reshuffling of the cabinet.
  • Premier Doug Ford apologized for opening up the Greenbelt to development and is in the process of reversing the land swap decision.

The Whole Story:

The RCMP is officially investigating controversial deals to develop parts of Ontario’s Greenbelt. 

“Following a referral from the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP O Division’s Sensitive and International Investigations (SII) unit has now launched an investigation into allegations associated to the decision from the Province of Ontario to open parts of the Greenbelt for development,” said officials in a statement. “While we recognize that this investigation is of significant interest to Canadians, the RCMP has a duty to protect the integrity of the investigations that it carries out, in order to ensure that the process leads to a fair and proper outcome. Therefore, no further updates will be provided at this time,”

According to the RCMP, Sensitive and International Investigations (SII) investigate “sensitive, high risk matters that cause significant threats to Canada’s political, economic and social integrity of its institutions across Canada and internationally”. Jurisdiction over offences investigated is not limited by a territory/region but by the nature of the offence.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces plans to reverse the Greenbelt development deal. – Province of Ontario

The investigation comes after months of political turmoil for the province’s leadership. In August Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk released a blistering report that found the Greenbelt deal heavily favoured a small group of developers and did not consider environmental impacts. The report came with a list of recommendations that include revisiting the deal in a way that follows proper procedures.

Weeks later, Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake released his report on the Greenbelt deal, recommending that Housing Minister Steve Clark receive a reprimand for his role in the land swap. Last month, Clark resigned, stating that it was his responsibility to adhere to the principles of ministerial accountability.

MPP and Kaleed Rasheed resigned from Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet after reports emerged of him spending time with developers while on a trip to Las Vegas. Ford also apologized for opening up the Greenbelt to development and announced that he would be reversing the deal. The plan would have taken 3,000 hectares out of the 800,000-hecatare Greenbelt that surrounds the Greater Toronto Area to build housing. 

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