Doug Ford’s decision to appoint Steve Clark as Government House Leader is truly jaw-dropping

Last week’s reshuffle which massively expanded the Cabinet also brought Steve Clark, the developers' friend, back into the inner circle.

Clark - the disgraced former Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – is currently outside the Cabinet but that won’t last for long. 

As the Government House Leader, Clark will be responsible for planning and managing the Government’s legislative program as well as facilitating motions and debate in the Chamber at Queen’s Park.

In his report on 30 August 2023, the Integrity Commissioner, David Wake, recommended that Clark be formally reprimanded for his role in the Greenbelt scandal. 

Contravened the Members' Integrity Act

The Integrity Commissioner found that Clark 

“contravened the Members' Integrity Act, 1994. Minister Clark contravened sections 2 and 3(2) by failing to oversee the process by which lands in the Greenbelt were selected for development, leading to the private interests of certain developers being furthered improperly.

The inquiry established that Minister Clark’s former Chief of Staff, Ryan Amato, was the driving force for the process by which lands in the Greenbelt were selected for development. Mr. Amato was involved in the selection of 14 of the 15 properties that were removed from the Greenbelt or redesignated and received information provided to him by certain developers.”

Ford's Progressive Conservatives were reluctantly prepared to put the Integrity Commissioner's recomendation to MPPs but they set their face against a debate where Clark's behaviour could be forensically examined and dissected.

The Opposition parties, naturally enough, insisted on a debate on Clark's role in the scandal.

The motion, tabled on 25 September 2023, has never been brought forward for debate by the Ford Government. Fancy procedural footwork at Queen’s Park has meant there has been no vote on the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation – that the legislature formally reprimands Clark. To this day, the Motion lies on the Order Paper.

And now the person responsible for bringing forward such Motions for debate and a vote is none other than Steve Clark himself, the Government’s new Business Manager in the Legislative Assembly.

You couldn't make it up.

Ryan Amato

The Integrity Commissioner has also been investigating Clark’s former Chief of Staff, Ryan Amato, on the key role he played in opening up the protected Greenbelt for development. But once the RCMP announced it would be investigating the Greenbelt Scandal the Integrity Commissioner was obliged to put his investigation into Amato on hold.

It beggars belief that Ford’s consigliere, Steve Clark, will now be deciding what gets debated at Queen’s Park and what doesn't.

Whatever happened to ethics in the Ford Government?

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