QUEEN'S PARK —The NDP's Municipal Affairs critic Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) wrote to Ontario's Integrity Commissioner asking him to investigate if the Ford government's Minister's Zoning Order (MZO) forcing Stratford to accept a float glass factory violated the Lobbyists Registration Act.
In his letter to the Integrity Commissioner, Burch cites evidence that Xinyi spent two years in secret negotiations with the Ford government. In 2018, the Ontario NDP expressed concerns about these secret meetings, after Doug Ford blasted Guelph for refusing the factory's proposal to build there.
"Local people, not Doug Ford, should decide whether they want the glass manufacturing factory in Stratford," Burch said. "It's unacceptable for Ford to override public consultations with the local community, unions and environmental advocates – and it looks like he’s doing that because he negotiated a backroom deal with this multinational corporation, Xinyi," Burch said.
NDP Environment critic Ian Arthur (Kingston and the Islands) raised the issue in the Legislature Wednesday. Arthur has also said the proposed plant poses serious environmental concerns, including threatening important farmland, and has been opposed by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
"We know Ford is in the business of overriding environmental protections when it suits the interests of developers," Arthur said. "People deserve to know just how closely Ford worked with Xinyi before signing off on an MZO that benefits Xinyi alone.”