RCMP announces criminal investigation into Ontario protected land development plan

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The RCMP (Canada’s federal police) did not reveal the details of the investigation but said that a unit called Sensitive Internal Investigations (SII), which is part of its Internal Investigations Division, was conducting the investigation. SII units investigate corruption and political offenses.

Beyond these revelations, the RCMP declined to provide further information. In a statement, the force stated that “while we recognize that this is an investigation of great interest to Canadians…the RCMP has a responsibility to protect the integrity” of its investigations to ensure a fair outcome.commencedThe inquiry stems from a proposal by Ontario Premier Doug Ford to open up portions of Greenbelt, a two-million-acre protected area near the most densely populated region of the province to private development. The Ontario Integrity Commission J. David Wake concluded that Steve Clark had violated the Members’ Integrity act by failing to oversee the selection process for development. Clark resigned last month after the report. The report stated that Clark’s chief of staff presided over a flawed land re-designation process by allowing developers who proactively approached him to have their land removed from the Greenbelt instead of making a public call for submissions.

The Integrity Commissioner and the Auditor General opened separate investigations into the matter in January after accusations emerged that the Ontario government told developers about the plan before it was made public.

Ford reversed his decision to open the lands up for development on September 21, citing a previous promise to protect the Greenbelt.