TORONTO — Ontario provincial politicians are heading back to the legislature today after its summer break that saw a whirlwind few weeks of developments in the Greenbelt controversy.
Premier Doug Ford announced last week that he would reverse his decision to open the Greenbelt for housing development, after enduring nearly a year of public outcry over his plan.
He will have to start the process of returning those lands to protected status, while still forging ahead with his target of building 1.5 million homes by 2031, and with several cabinet ministers brand new to their portfolios.
Steve Clark resigned earlier this month as municipal affairs and housing minister and Kaleed Rasheed resigned as minister of public and business service delivery, both connected to Greenbelt-related revelations, and Monte McNaughton left his labour minister job for the private sector.
The moves prompted two separate cabinet shuffles, so the house returns with new faces in the housing, long-term care, treasury, transportation, public and business service delivery and environment portfolios, along with some new associate ministers.
Despite Ford's Greenbelt reversal, opposition politicians say there are still many unanswered questions and they will continue to press for answers.
Protesters are also set to greet politicians upon their return, with the Ontario Health Coalition promising to bus in "thousands" of people to urge Ford to drop his plan to expand the private delivery of public health care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2023.
The Canadian Press