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Ford government tables bill to restore Greenbelt

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In AWARE News Network
Oct 18th, 2023
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces that he will be reversing his government’s decision to open the Greenbelt to developers during a press conference in Niagara Falls, Ont., Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. The announcement comes after a second cabinet minister resigned in the wake of the Greenbelt controversy. Tara Walton/The Canadian Press

From Barrie Today, by Charlie Pinkerton, October 16, 2023

Premier promised to walk back his government’s scandal-plagued land-removal plan on Sept. 21

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on The Trillium, a Village Media website devoted exclusively to covering provincial politics at Queen’s Park.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra introduced legislation on Monday to reverse the Ford government’s controversy-sunk Greenbelt land removals.

The bill, titled the Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act, comes three-and-a-half weeks after Premier Doug Ford apologized for his government’s plan to allow developers to build homes on 7,400 acres of previously protected land.

“I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t touch the Greenbelt. I broke that promise, and for that, I’m very, very sorry,” Ford said at a news conference in Niagara Falls on Sept. 21.

The plan had been a recurring controversy for the government since it was unveiled last Nov. 4. It became the source of a full-fledged crisis for Ford and the Progressive Conservatives this past summer.

Ontario’s auditor general and integrity commissioner separately published scathing reports in August after investigating how the plan was conceived. Both provincial watchdogs determined the land-selection process was biased in favour of developers who had access to the staffer who orchestrated it.

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