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NDP files integrity complaint about Ford family stag-and-doe event

Ontario opposition leader Marit Stiles is asking the province’s integrity commissioner to review whether or not Premier Doug Ford acted improperly with respect to two recent family events that some developers and lobbyists were invited to take part in.

In a letter sent to integrity commissioner David Wake Thursday, Stiles said “concerning details have come to light about developers and lobbyists with donor and political ties to premier Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party being invited to participate in two Ford family events.”

She noted that the premier is “obligated to avoid conflict and the appearance of conflict.”

The first event was a “stag and doe” family fundraiser for the premier’s daughter. The Aug. 11 event was hosted at the premier’s home and reportedly cost $150 per ticket, with follow-up communications inviting attendees to make donations of $1,000 for the wedding.

In her letter, Stiles cited reports that developers and lobbyists who attended the event felt “browbeaten” into purchasing tickets.

Stiles went on to say that several developers who attended the actual wedding have received favourable ministerial zoning orders, and that at least one has benefitted from recent policy changes around the Greenbelt.

“I am concerned that invitees felt pressured to contribute to the premier’s family fundraiser, particularly as some invitees felt they weren’t being asked as ‘friends’ of the premier – but as government stakeholders -- and feared impacts on their professional reputations and working relationships with the government,” Stiles wrote.

She said she is asking the integrity commissioner to investigate whether any sections of the Members Integrity Act have been breached by the premier.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles is asking Ontario's integrity commissioner to issue an opinion on whether Premier Doug Ford's actions surrounding his daughter's stag-and-doe event were improper. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Lupul and Tijana Martin)

The premier has previously said that he asked the integrity commissioner for an opinion on the stag and doe event. The integrity commissioner’s office said that based on the information it received, Ford had no knowledge of gifts given to his daughter and son-in-law and that there was no discussion of government business at the event.

Stiles continued to fire questions about the events at the government during question period Thursday, saying Ontarians “deserve a government they can trust.”

The premier was not present. Answering for him, Government House Leader Paul Calandra dismissed Stiles’ concerns as a “drive-by smear.”

In a separate letter Thursday, the government watchdog group, Democracy Watch, also asked the integrity commissioner to investigate whether Ford had breached any rules with the family events.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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