TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford shuffled his cabinet on Monday, hours after his embattled housing minister stepped down from his post.
Steve Clark resigned earlier in the day after a scathing report from the province's integrity commissioner found he violated ethics rules when Ontario opened up parts of the protected Greenbelt for development
Taking his spot is Paul Calandra, who was the long-term care minister. Calandra will remain as Government House Leader, while Stan Cho succeeds him as long-term care minister.
Caroline Mulroney moves on to become president of the Treasury Board, and Prabmeet Sarkaria takes over her role as transportation minister. Mulroney remains responsible for Francophone affairs.
Ford said he has a "renewed team" in place.
"We’ll never stop working on behalf of the people of Ontario to build the homes, highways and public transit our growing communities need," Ford said in a statement Monday evening.
Clark resigned just days after Ford backed him to continue on as housing minister.
Official Opposition New Democrat Leader Marit Stiles called the new cabinet a "slapdash team."
“Mr. Ford can rearrange the deck chairs all he likes but it’s not going to change the fact that Ontarians are fed up with a corrupt government rigging the system to help a select few of their insiders get even richer – at everyone else’s expense," Stiles said.
Last year, the province took about 2,995 hectares of land out of the Greenbelt to build 50,000 homes and replaced them with about 3,804 hectares elsewhere.
The moves were part of the government's pledge to address the housing crisis by promising to build 1.5 million homes over 10 years.
Two investigations into the Greenbelt land swap found the selection process was hasty and flawed, and favoured certain developers over others.
Ford has admitted to the poor selection process, but has otherwise said he did nothing wrong.
Both the integrity commissioner and the auditor general found Clark's chief of staff, Ryan Amato, selected 14 of the 15 sites that were removed from the protected Greenbelt.
Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake found neither Clark nor Ford knew what Amato was up to.
He said Clark chose to "stick his head in the sand" after assigning the Greenbelt file to Amato.
Ford directed Clark in a mandate letter to look at a process to open up the Greenbelt shortly after the Progressive Conservatives' big win in last year's election.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 4, 2023.
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press