NDP files integrity complaint over developers' attendance at Ford family wedding events
Leader Marit Stiles wants integrity commissioner to investigate whether paid event violated ethics rules
The Ontario NDP is requesting that the province's integrity commissioner investigate whether Premier Doug Ford violated ethics rules when developers with financial interests in government decision-making reportedly attended his daughter's "stag-and-doe" and wedding.
NDP Leader Marit Stiles filed the complaint to David Wake's office on Thursday. In a letter accompanying the official complaint, Stiles said that "concerning details have come to light about developers and lobbyists with donor and political ties to [Ford] and the Ontario PC Party being invited to participate in two Ford family events."
Stiles said that the complaint includes information outlining a "troubling pattern of ongoing government policy decisions benefiting particular private interests of individuals and developers."
That supposedly new information cannot be made public, however, until Wake determines whether he has found sufficient grounds to launch an investigation, the NDP said.
Ford has been under fire since it was first reported by Global News that developers who are personal friends of the premier but who could stand to benefit from his government's policy making attended his daughter and son-in-law's $150-per-ticket stag-and-doe last summer. Stag-and-does are fundraising events typically held to raise money for an engaged couple.
The Toronto Star then reported this morning that prominent developers, as well as provincial appointees and a lobbyist working for a company pushing for more development in the Greenbelt, attended his daughter's wedding, with some of those guests sharing a table with Ford himself.
Scrutiny of Ford's relationship with developers has come after the province announced in November that it is removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt, while adding more parcels elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.
Several large developers who have donated to the PC party are among the owners of the land the government is opening for development
Ford has denied any wrongdoing, saying his family is strictly separate from the political process. He has repeatedly downplayed questions about the family events, calling them "ridiculous."
After a reporter began inquiring about the events late last year — about five months after the stag-and-doe — Ford went to the integrity commissioner and provided information about his participation. Based on that information, Wake determined that Ford had no knowledge of gifts given to his daughter and son-in-law and there was no discussion of government business at the summer event.
Ford was not in the legislature to respond to questions today from Stiles, but government House Leader Paul Calandra calls her complaint a "drive-by smear."