After yesterday’s “surprise” resignation of Ryan Amato, Chief of Staff for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, over the Ford government’s Greenbelt “swap”, we almost posted on the expected turn of events but instinct said “wait” for the next shoe to drop.
And with that, comes today’s news that the RCMP (Ontario Division) is now in charge of examining the facts of the matter and determining whether to turn it into a full-blown investigation. With the recent scathing report from the Auditor General, a senior Ford staffer resigning and now the RCMP taking the lead, it is clear that there will be more fallout at Queens Park and possible repercussions for the whole “swap” itself.
The OPP, in the form of the Anti-Rackets Branch, decided to relieve themselves of examining the deal and the actions of the Ford government, stated they handed the reins over to Canada’s top cops to “avoid any potential perceived conflict of interest”. They did not elaborate of what the perceived conflicts were, but Ford has noted in the past that “three out of my four daughters are [were] with police officers”, although it is not known if any are employed by the Ontario Provincial Police. Ford also took heat a few years back when he tried to install a family friend as Commissioner of the OPP.
It is puzzling however that the OPP, which started looking into the matter early this year, has now only decided to give the file to the RCMP. It could be completely for transparency given recent events, or it could be that their findings have put them between a rock and a hard place, having to potentially bite the hand that feeds them.
Much like the RCMP’s investigation into the “Airbus Affair” of the Mulroney government and kickbacks in the 90’s, the Ponies (affectionally called in law enforcement circles), are sure to do a thorough investigation of this matter and take appropriate action as necessary.
It should be interesting to see where this goes and if anybody has to “cut a deal” to avoid possible prosecution.