TORONTO – Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark resigned from cabinet Monday morning (September 4.)
Clark, who has served as Minister in that portfolio since June 2018, has been under fire after two reports were released on the provincial government’s handling of removing land from Toronto’s Greenbelt.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk issued a report August 1 critical of the process used to remove land from the Greenbelt. The report found that Clark’s chief of staff, Ryan Amato, was more directly involved in selecting developers who were awarded 14 of 15 available properties. Amato has since resigned.
A second report, this time from Integrity Commissioner David Wake, was critical of Clark’s lack of oversight of his staff as minister and MPP. The report said Clark contravened two sections of the Members Integrity Act, 1994.
Until September 4, Clark had resisted calls to resign. Premier Doug Ford also stood by Clark.
In an interview with the Brockville Recorder and Times published September 2, Clark said the land sale process for the Greenbelt moved too fast.
“We moved too fast,” Clark told The Recorder and Times. “I overly relied on my chief (of staff) in a process that should have been led by me.”
Last week, Clark said he accepted responsibility but still did not offer his resignation.
Wake’s report recommended that Clark be reprimanded by the Ontario legislature for contravening the Members Integrity Act.
In a letter to Premier Ford published on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Clark formally resigned as minister.
“Since the Integrity Commissioner’s report was released, I have continued to reflect on my role and my obligations to the people of Ontario,” Clark said. “Although my initial thought was that I could stay in this role and establish a proper process so that these mistakes don’t happen again, I realize that my presence will only cause a further distraction from the important work that needs to be done and that I need to take accountability for what has transpired.”
While Clark resigned as minister, he will remain MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. He was first elected to Queen’s Park in 2010, and was previously elected mayor of Brockville. Clark also was briefly chief administrative officer of the Township of Leeds and Thousand Islands before running for provincial politics.