The Government today confirmed it has no plans to allow the Provincial Parliament to debate and vote on the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation to reprimand former minister, Steve Clark, for his misconduct in the Greenbelt scandal. 

I don’t know if this is unprecedented. Personally, I find it shocking.

The decision to ignore the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation and not to put it up for debate in the Legislature strips the Ford Government of all moral authority. 

It's giving the Integrity Commissioner, David Wake, a very public slap in the face.

Members' Integrity Act

Under the terms of the Members’ Integrity Act 1994, the Integrity Commissioner tells us the Legislative Assembly is required: 

"to consider and respond to this report including my recommendation (to impose a reprimand) within 30 days after the day the report is laid before it”.

In his report, the Integrity Commissioner wrote:

Minister Clark has publicly acknowledged that there were problems with the process used to remove lands from the Greenbelt but has not expressed any remorse for his own role in this affair.” 

Restoring Public Trust

Doug Ford's consigliere, the slippery fast-talking Paul Calandra, wants to move on from the Greenbelt scandal just as fast as he can. As Opposition Leader Marit Stiles says, he wants to bury it.

Yet Calandra has the gall to talk about “restoring public trust”. How on earth is this possible when he won't allow a debate on his own motion?

The Government tabled a “notice of motion” accepting the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation on 26 September 2023. It had to come up for decision within 30 days. But while the motion was debateable Ford and Calandra wanted to muzzle the House.  They wanted a simple yes or no vote to agree the recommendation and move on. The Opposition, to their credit, didn’t go along with that. They insisted on a debate but they are not going to get one. We have a stalemate.

As a result of Calandra’s duplicity, the Motion in his name will continue to appear on the Order and Notices Paper for the rest of the session - a daily reminder of how low this squalid Government has sunk. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Integrity Commissioner is preparing a report on the role of Ryan Amato, Clark's Chief of Staff, and whether he contravened the Public Service of Ontario Act 2006.

Click "Read more" below to read the exchange between Opposition Leader, Marit Stiles, and Paul Calandra

The Integrity Commissioner’s report on former Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, recommends he is reprimanded by the Legislative Assembly for his role in the Greenbelt scandal. 

As we all know, Clark looked the other way while his Chief of Staff, Ryan Amato, moved lands out of the protected Greenbelt, enriching favoured developers. 

The Integrity Commissioner tells us the Legislative Assembly is required 

"to consider and respond to this report including my recommendation within 30 days after the day the report is laid before it”.

Paul Calandra is the Government House Leader in the Assembly as well as being Clark’s successor as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. As House Leader he manages the Government’s business, steering legislation through the Provincial Parliament.


The Government’s notice of motion recommending the Assembly accepts the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation to reprimand Clark was filed on 25 September 2023 and appeared on the Order and Notices Paper on 26 September 2023.

The Government has thirty days to bring forward the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation. I assume we are talking about 30 calendar days and not 30 sitting days which would take us to 4 December or thereabouts. The motion to reprimand Clark is debateable. 

Parliamentary procedure is rarely straightfoward. So I checked with the Table Office at Queen’s Park who confirm it’s calendar days which means the motion should come up tomorrow or Thursday. 


My fear is that the Government will wait until the last moment and try to sneak the motion through without debate, sparing themselves further embarrassment.

Clark will be reprimanded but the Government hopes it will be done sotto voce.

But what is needed is a forensic debate with members drawing on the Integrity Commissioner’s findings which are damning.

We also need to hear from the disgraced ex-minister, Steve Clark.

The RCMP will be watching.

And, for them, silence won’t wash.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Update on 25 October 2023: Toronto Star editorial: Another day another policy climbdown for Doug Ford's Government

Update on 5 November 2023: Doug Ford confirmed at a press conference on Tuesday 31 October 2023 that Steve Clark will not be reprimanded. The Government motion will lie on the table, undebated, appearing on the Order Paper until the end of the Session.

Newmarket-Aurora MPP, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, spent $11,160 on her taxpayer funded “free” BBQ on 16 October 2022 – a staggering 24% of her annual budget for “office operations”.  

On Sunday, when I quizzed Dawn at this year’s “free” BBQ, she told me the cost would come out of her global budget. She believes it is money well spent.

She says it is an absolutely appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.

How the system works

Dawn is allocated a pot of taxpayer money for the financial year which runs from 1 April – 31 March. In her first year as an MPP she spent $235,496 on her global office support and communications budget. Dawn, like all MPPs, decides how the money is spent across the global budget’s four constituent categories. These are: 

(1) Support Staff. The explanatory notes to the Individual Members’ Expenses tell me this includes: Salaries paid to Queen's Park and Constituency office staff, includes funding for Members' staff who were away for extended sick leaves. Dawn spent $118,743 in this category.

2) Constituency Office Rent. This includes expenses such as rent, utilities and janitorial services. Dawn spent $27,718 in this category.

(3) Office Operations. This includes expenditures for urban travel and Northern (N) Members travel, office supplies, advertising, staff travel, professional services, etc. Dawn spent $46,921 in this category.

(4) Communications. This includes postage, mail preparation and distribution, and printing, typesetting, artwork and photography for newsletters, flyers, and target mailings. Dawn spent $42,115 in this category.

This information is published annually. There is no breakdown of costs within each of the above categories. 

Some expenses published quarterly

Information on travel expenses, hotel accommodation, meals and hospitality expenses is published four times a year, each covering a three month period. The releases are posted on the OLA website on 1 September, 1 December, 1 March and 1 June. 

The cost of Dawn’s second annual free BBQ held on 22 October 2023 (which counts as hospitality) will be published on 1 March 2024. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Postscript… I was amused to see Blake Koehler chide a Newmarket Today reader for comments the reader posted on the BBQ story. Blake says he wants dialogue and for people to listen and learn.

Blake Koehler was Chief Financial Officer in Dawn’s 2022 Provincial election campaign. I wrote to him eight months ago asking him to explain why there was a significant discrepancy in Dawn’s Campaign Return to Elections Ontario. The return gave two different figures for the expense: "Meetings Hosted". In line 034 of the return we see $5,228.60 and in Schedule 6 we see $8,228.11. I asked Blake if he could help me understand why there was a difference of $2,999.51 between the two figures. I didn’t get a reply.  

My post earlier today (Ford Abandons Review of Regional Municipalities) was factually incorrect. It has been taken down.

The Government is, in fact, continuing its review of regional governance.

The new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Paul Calandra, announced last month that facilitators would not be appointed to recommend and manage changes to the municipal map - as was the Government's original intention. Instead the job would be handed over to MPPs on the Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy Committee.

The Committee has now started its work and its web page confirms it will meet “to conduct a study on regional governance as overseen by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing”.

It goes on:

The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Barrie, Ontario on Monday, November 6, 2023.

Interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral presentation to the Committee are required to register by 12:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, October 30, 2023.

Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment on the issue may send a written submission by 7:00 p.m. (EST) on Monday, November 6, 2023.

To register or send a written submission, please visit the following link:

The Committee will stream live from location when available. For the link to the webcast, and to find times and availability, please visit the Legislative Assembly website at

Quite separately - and unrelated to the review on regional governance - the Toronto Star reports that the Greenbelt scandal has forced the Ford Government to scrap the municipal boundary changes and wind back changes made by the Province to official plans.

The Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Paul Calandra, said today:

“In reviewing how decisions were made regarding official plans, it is now clear that they failed to meet this test. In response, as soon as I am able, I will be introducing legislation that would reverse the official plan decisions for Barrie, Belleville, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa and the City of Peterborough, the Regional Municipalities of Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York, as well as Wellington County. This legislation would wind back provincial changes to official plans and official plan amendments, exceptin circumstances where construction has begun or where doing so would contravene existing provincial legislation and regulation. This includes winding back changes to urban boundaries.”

The Ontario press release is here.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I wander along to Doug Duncan Drive in downtown Newmarket to check out Dawn’s second free community BBQ, paid for by the taxpayers.  The first free BBQ in October 2022 cost us $11,160.

The sky is blue and there is a chill in the air.

People are a bit thin on the ground with lots of empty chairs. There is a tent where you can get your photo taken to remind you of the big day. Dawn is hovering there.

There is a face painting tent but very few children.

There is food on trestle tables provided by A Million Mouthfuls. 

But for all that, there is no electricity in the air.

I was interested in how many people would turn up and what would be on the menu, so to speak. I also wanted to chat with Dawn and, with some fancy footwork, I managed to get a minute of face-to-face time. Believe me, this is not easy. Outside BBQ season it is next to impossible to see the MPP if you want to discuss anything remotely controversial. 

Now Dawn’s helpers are moving between me and the camera but I try not to let that distract me.

Global Budget

Dawn tells me the money to pay for the BBQ will come out of her “global budget” which is allocated by the Legislative Assembly. How much she chooses to spend on “hospitality” is a matter for her. She doesn't reveal what's in her global budget.

She boasts that 500 people came along to her free BBQ last year. She is hoping for more this year.

I don’t want to rain on her parade but it looks like a lot fewer today. 

We shall have to wait until 1 March 2024 (when MPPs’ expenses for this quarter are posted on the OLA website) before we can see how much we paid for this rather limp and tepid event.


We get a little welcoming speech from Dawn which is nice. We are all wonderful. She points to the firefighters behind her and to their big red fire truck. What an amazing backdrop. Everyone loves firefighters!

I want her to say something about the Greenbelt or what she has been up to at Queen’s Park.

She could have told us if she was going to vote to reprimand the former Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, as recommended by the Integrity Commissioner David Wake. She could have told us if she was going to press for a debate in the Legislature. The alternative - a simple vote on a Government motion without debate - appears to be the Premier’s preference.

But that doesn’t happen. She sticks to the script.

And after an hour chatting to people I wander off.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Updated on 23 October 2023: Click "read more" to read my brief exchange with Dawn as the BBQ gets underway.

Update on 23 October 2023: From Newmarket Today: Supporters - some critics - flock to Newmarket-Aurora MPP BBQ