QUEEN’S PARK – Ford’s Conservatives issued as many Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) to benefit just the guests at a single Ford family wedding reception as the previous government issued during its entire 15 years in power, Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP, revealed today.
“From the Greenbelt grab to forced urban boundary expansions to MZOs, Ford has a deeply troubling pattern of putting his friends ahead of everyone else,” said Stiles. “The Ford Conservatives are already under RCMP criminal investigation for the Greenbelt. This is yet more evidence of sketchy land deals that show just how deep this corruption goes. ”
The former Liberal government issued 18 MZOs between 2003 and 2018. The Ford government issued 18 MZOs benefiting just the guests at Ford’s daughter’s wedding reception, which took place on September 25, 2022.
“How many times does this government have to get caught before Ontarians see some accountability?” asked Jeff Burch, NDP critic for Municipal Affairs. “With rumours of a further MZO review on the table, we have to wonder – what is Ford afraid of? What else is he trying to get ahead of?”
MZOs are a favourite tool in Ford’s preferential treatment system. They can dramatically increase the value of land with the stroke of a pen, and they often seem to be given out to Conservative Party donors, Ford friends...and Ford family wedding guests.
- On Oct. 6, the Auditor General confirmed in response to an NDP request that it is investigating the government’s use of MZOs, which have disproportionately benefited developers with personal, political or donor ties to Doug Ford and the Conservative Party.
- IC and AG Investigations launched at the request of the Ontario NDP have already forced the Ford government to backtrack on its Greenbelt and Urban Boundary plans.
- Housing Minister Paul Calandra has hinted that a review of MZOs might be next.
- Among beneficiaries of Ford’s 18 MZOs are insiders mentioned in the Integrity Commissioner’s report on the Greenbelt scandal, Shakir Rehmatullah and Nico Fidani-Diker.