Mississauga East-Cooksville MPP Kaleed Rasheed has resigned from cabinet and the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus in the wake of an integrity commissioner probe into the province's Greenbelt land swap.
Rasheed's resignation comes after reporting from CTV and the Trillium questioned the timeline about a trip to Las Vegas.
The province's integrity commissioner in his investigation into controversial Greenbelt land swaps interviewed Rasheed about a trip.
The Trillium had reported that developer Shakir Rehmatullah, who benefited from the recent Greenbelt land swap, went to Las Vegas at the same time as Rasheed, Ford's principal secretary, as well as his current housing policy director, who was in the private sector at the time.
Rasheed and the two staffers told the integrity commissioner they encountered Rehmatullah there but went on separate trips, but CTV reported that Rasheed, Rehmatullah and the principal secretary booked massages for the same time.
In a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, Rasheed, who served as Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery, said he will continue to serve his constituents.
"While incredibly difficult, this decision was made so as not to distract from the important work of the government," he said in the statement.
In a separate statement, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said himself and Rasheed have "agreed" to the resignation, effective immediately.
"If Mr. Rasheed can clear his name through the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, he will be provided an opportunity to return to caucus," reads Ford's statement.
"A new Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery will be named in the coming days."
Shakir Rehmatullah is founder and president of Markham, Ont.-based Flato Developments. He was named as one of the developers who benefitted from the Ford government's Greenbelt land swap. (Flato Developments/YouTube)
Rasheed's resignation comes on the heels of another resignation, that of Housing Minister Steve Clark, who stepped down after weeks of pushback from political opponents over his involvement in the Greenbelt controversy.
Ontario's integrity commissioner investigated Clark's conduct and recommended he be reprimanded, saying he failed to properly oversee the process that led to protected Greenbelt lands being selected for housing development.
Opposition parties call for accountability
In a statement, Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles said Rasheed's resignation is just "scratching the surface" of the Ford government's "corruption crisis."
"This government is spiralling out of control. Mr. Ford needs to answer for that," said Stiles.
Ontario Green Leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement that Ontarians have had "enough of broken promises and empty apologies."
"Distraction and denial won't deliver accountability to the people of Ontario," said Schreiner.
He called for all Greenbelt land to be "fully protected" and for a public inquiry into the Ford government's Greenbelt land swap.
"Ontarians have questions — it's time for the Premier to face the music and provide honest answers."