Ontario Premier Doug Ford laid the blame for the province’s escalating housing crisis on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mass immigration policy.
Ford has been under intense scrutiny by critics for breaking a promise he made multiple times to preserve the Greenbelt in Ontario. The Greenbelt is a land-use zone designation that was created in 2005 to protect largely undeveloped or agricultural land that surrounds urban areas.
“Just up until a few months back, I didn’t know the federal government was going to bring in over 500,000 — now we learn that those aren’t accurate numbers — it’s probably up to seven, eight hundred thousand that are arriving,” Ford said.
He added, “I didn’t get a phone call from the Minister, I didn’t get a phone call from the Prime Minister saying ‘surprise, surprise, we’re dropping this many people into your province and by the way, good luck, you deal with them.’”
In November 2022, Ford broke his promise to protect the Greenbelt and announced that he was removing 7,400 acres of Greenbelt land for housing development, while claiming they were expanding the Greenbelt in other areas to increase the overall area.
Earlier this month, it was reported that certain prominent developers received preferential treatment in the process to open the Greenbelt to housing construction.
Premier Doug Ford subsequently claimed that there was no preferential treatment of developers by his government, but the scandal has caused significant public backlash, including calls for the Greenbelt development to be canceled.
Despite this, Ford reaffirmed his commitment to increasing home development, saying hundreds of thousands of Ontarians need homes.
Housing Minister keeping his job
Ford also stood firm on retaining Housing Minister Steve Clark within his government. This comes in the wake of a recommendation by the province’s integrity commissioner, suggesting that Clark should be reprimanded for his involvement in the contentious Greenbelt land swap with developers.