“Storm” on the Greenbelt: now investigated by the RCMP

TORONTO – Over the past twenty-four hours, the Greenbelt case has come back into the spotlight: first the resignation of Ryan Amato, chief of staff to the Ontario housing minister, then the decision of the OPP (the Provincial Police of Ontario) to send the file relating to the Greenbelt to the RCMP and, finally, the opening of an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) itself which will now “flea” the project relating to the management of the green belt (Greenbelt) of Ontario by the government led by Doug Ford whose intentions are to build new homes where until now it was impossible to do so due to the rules protecting certain green areas (those, in fact, included in the Greenbelt ). 

The first news came late Tuesday afternoon: Ryan Amato, chief of staff to the Ontario housing minister, tendered his resignation. Amato was the staff member primarily responsible for selecting which sites belonging to the Greenbelt would be opened for development. Premier Ford’s office accepted Amato’s resignation “with immediate effect”, shortly after receiving it. Almost simultaneously, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in an attempt to avoid “any perceived conflict of interest”, forwarded all the documents relating to the case to the RCMP which, in turn, confirmed that it had “received (from the OPP ) the invitation to continue investigating the irregularities in the arrangement of the green belt surrounding Toronto”, as reported by the RCMP itself in a statement released shortly after that of the OPP, today. “We will review and evaluate the information received and take appropriate actions deemed necessary,” the RCMP added.

An RCMP spokesperson later told CTV that a formal investigation had not actually been launched yet. “After conducting a comprehensive assessment, we will decide whether to launch it,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, famously released a particularly scathing report on the provincial government’s handling of the Greenbelt, revealing that some developers would receive “preferential treatment,” exercising a direct influence on the provincial government’s decision to extract land from the Greenbelt for development. Asked for comment, the spokeswoman for the premier’s office, Ivana Yelich, told CTV that the decision to appeal to the RCMP was made independently of the provincial government and that the government itself “is currently working to implement all 14 recommendations contained in the Lysyk report”.

The latter, Lysyk, in the report, had formulated 15 recommendations and the Province has undertaken to implement 14 of them: the only recommendation that the provincial government will not implement is to review its decision to open part of the Greenbelt to building development. Investigation allowing.

In the pic above, the Ontario Greenbelt Map, available at https://www.greenbelt.ca/urv