Doug Ford was cleared of wrongdoing after developers attended daughter’s wedding reception, NDP to file a grievance

“This is ridiculous,” Premier Doug Ford told reporters when asked if developers would be attending his daughter’s pre-wedding bachelor party event at a news conference on Friday. (CBC – photo credit)

Ontario’s official opposition will file a new complaint with the province’s integrity commissioner after Premier Doug Ford said on Friday he was cleared of any wrongdoing in connection with developers attending and donating to a fundraiser ahead of his daughter’s wedding last summer been.

Ford told reporters earlier in the day it was “ridiculous” that he was faced with questions about the bachelorette party, which he described as a “personal” matter.

But in a Friday night press release, NDP leader Marit Stiles said there was “mounting evidence that Ford’s cozy relationship with developers has crossed the line.”

“Those developers are the very people who benefited directly from the Ford government’s decision to split up the Greenbelt and other special favors – what exactly were they talking about at this table?” asked Stiles.

The questions came after Global News reported on Thursday that developers who were personal friends of Ford attended the party and that some expressed unease at being invited to the event. CBC Toronto has not independently verified this coverage.

In recent months, Ford has come under scrutiny for a reversal in development in the province’s protected Greenbelt area, after it emerged that several established developers were among the owners of the land, some of which Ford is proposing to use for residential development open who appear to be major donors to the PC Party.

The Ford government previously said it would not consider any proposals for development in the green belt.

“This is ridiculous, to be honest,” Ford told reporters when asked about the stag and doe at a news conference in Oshweken, Ontario.

“I went to the integrity officer, he approved it 1,000 percent,” Ford said. “It’s really personal and this is my daughter’s wedding and it’s the first time in Canadian history that anyone has asked about a daughter’s marriage . But anyway, it has been cleared with the integrity officer.”

Ford went to the commissioner’s office in January

The office of the integrity officer told CBC Toronto on Friday that the prime minister and his staff provided the officer with information in January about certain guests who attended the wedding and who may have attended the bachelorette party held months earlier. Ford contacted the commissioner after a media inquiry, the office said.

“The information provided to the commissioner was that these guests, identified as developers, are friends of the Ford family, and in some cases have been for decades,” said Michelle Renaud, the office’s communications manager.

“Based on the information provided to the Commissioner about the events: in particular, that the Prime Minister was unaware of gifts to his daughter and son-in-law; and that none of the events discussed government matters, the commissioner felt there was nothing to indicate a non-compliance with the regulations Member Integrity Law in connection with these events.”

The statement adds that the integrity officer’s opinion “is not a finding or the result of an investigation into any matter.”

Rather, when the officer receives a request for comment, he evaluates it “using the information provided by the member”.

Ford says he knows what he ‘should and shouldn’t do’

The commissioner’s office added that this type of opinion is separate from an investigation into whether another MPP has broken the law. Such a request will result in a public report, while the response in this case will result in a confidential response addressed directly to the MPP making the request.

Ford defended his reversal on Greenbelt Friday, saying the province is facing a housing crisis.

When asked which developers he was personally friends with, Ford said his family has been in politics for over 30 years and has been friends with hundreds of developers, individuals and others.

“I know the difference between what we should and shouldn’t do.”

The integrity commissioner is also investigating a separate complaint by the NDP leader about what she calls the “curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party” – both Ford and his Housing ministers deny this wrongdoing.


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