Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford largely avoided questions about his relationship with the developer as the legislature resumed Tuesday after the winter break.
The opposition peppered Ford with questions about the developer attending his daughter and son-in-law’s $150-a-ticket bachelor-and-doe event last summer before their wedding.
Ford said he did nothing wrong when the developer who is an old family friend attended the event, which is usually held to raise money for engaged couples.
The scrutiny of Ford’s relationship with the developer comes after the province announced in November that it was removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different protected areas in the Greenbelt, while adding more plots elsewhere, to build 50,000 homes.
NDP leader Marit Stiles, in her first questioning period as head of the Opposition, asked Ford many questions about stag and doe, and her relationship with developers.
“Could the prime minister explain to the Ontarian how they should believe that this developer was not informed about his plans for Greenbelt?” asked Stiles.
“My family is disconnected from the political process,” Ford said in response. “They are not involved.”
Ford would not say whether he or his staff played a role in the invitation
Ford said he asked the integrity commissioner to look at the stag and doe and the commissioner’s office “found no violations.”
Stiles said the issue was not so much about the Ford family as it was about the prime minister’s behavior and the integrity of his office. He asked whether the prime minister or government staff had a role in drawing up the list of invitees for the event.
Ford did not answer and turned it over to one of his chief ministers, Paul Calandra.
“Does the prime minister understand how bad this is, not just for the prime minister, but for the integrity of his government?” Stiles responded.
Calandra, once again, repeated her previous answer.
The province will work on coordination between police forces, Ford said
Ford also avoided questions about his refusal to testify at an investigation into the federal government’s use of the Emergency Act during last year’s so-called “Convoy of Freedom” protests.
Rouleau said the province was “abandoning” the people of Ottawa by not helping out sooner. He noted that Ontario only got fully engaged after protesters blocked the Ambassador’s Bridge in Windsor, Ontario, a key trade route between Canada and the United States.
“What is the prime minister telling Ottawa now that we know the extent of his government’s failure to act?” asked Stiles.
Ford didn’t answer, but Calandra did, citing the work of the Ontario Provincial Police before and during the protests.
He said the province would seek better coordination between police forces, another issue Rouleau emphasized in his 2,000-page report.
He said he heard from thousands of people at his home in Guelph, Ontario, and surrounding areas after a group of 40 prominent Liberals asked him to join their party and run for leader.
“I feel indebted to the people of Ontario to consider different options,” Schreiner told reporters after a period of questions.
“And I voted after consulting with my constituents in Guelph, people across the province, it’s very clear to me that the best way I can make a difference is as the leader of Ontario Green.”