Published February 10, 2023

Ford denies wrongdoing over developers attending daughter's wedding, stag and doe

Ford refused to name the developers who attended the stag and doe or his daughter's wedding. 

By Liam Casey

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he has been cleared by the province's integrity commissioner, who found no wrongdoing after developers attended his daughter's stag-and-doe event last summer.

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario said it looked into the stag and doe – which is typically a fundraiser for a couple before they get married – and the wedding of Ford's daughter after media publication Queen's Park Briefing asked about it last month.

The commissioner's office said that based on information provided, Ford had no knowledge of gifts given to his daughter and son-in-law and that there was no discussion of government business at either event.

"I know the difference of what we should and shouldn't do," Ford said at a news conference Friday. 

"Our family's been in politics for 30 years. We know tens of thousands of people and, you know, I went to the integrity commissioner. He cleared it 1,000 per cent, not 999, 1,000 per cent."

The guests have been identified as developers who are friends of the Ford family, "and in some cases have been for decades," the integrity commissioner's office said.

"The commissioner was of the opinion that there was nothing to indicate non-compliance with the Members’ Integrity Act related to these events," said commissioner spokeswoman Michelle Renaud.

Ontario's integrity commissioner and auditor general are conducting separate investigations into the government's decision to open protected Greenbelt lands up to housing development.

Commissioner J. David Wake is investigating a complaint from NDP Leader Marit Stiles on what she calls the "curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party."

Both Ford and Housing Minister Steve Clark have denied any wrongdoing and tipping off developers. 

Clark announced in November that the government will remove land from 15 different areas of the protected Greenbelt while adding acres elsewhere so that 50,000 homes can be built.

It is part of the government's pledge to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said she's conducting a value-for-money audit of financial and environmental implications of the Greenbelt decision after being asked to look into it by Stiles, interim Liberal leader John Fraser and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner.

On Friday, Ford refused to name the developers who attended the stag and doe or his daughter's wedding. 

"It's a private family situation and that's all it is," Ford said. 

"And by the way, I have two more weddings coming up, too, so we'll give you the list after that, too. It's ridiculous, this is ridiculous, to be frank with you."

Ford said he knows "hundreds of developers" and that everyone is welcome at his home any time they have an event.

"When we have Ford Fest and 6,000 people show up to our house over a five-hour period, I don't sit at the door with a metal detector and start checking names," he said, referring to an annual public gathering hosted by his family.

Banner image: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2023.

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