NDP allegations that land developers who paid $5,000 each to attend a private dinner with Dalton McGuinty were rewarded by government legislation that greatly increased the value of their lands are completely false, the premier told the legislature yesterday.
New Democrat Peter Kormos said members of the East Moratorium Land Owners, a registered lobby group, met with McGuinty and several cabinet ministers at a private home in Barrie in May 2008.
Last December, the Liberal government passed legislation to transfer nearly 1,000 acres of land the developers own in Innisfil to the city of Barrie — part of a larger land transfer — ending a development freeze on their lands in the process.
“It’s a matter of connecting the dots,” said Kormos.
“After that dinner we see legislation that lines the developers’ pockets to the tune of as much as $30 million in new profits.”
The NDP said the developers paid between $25,000 and $66,000 an acre for the lands in question, which has been selling for $75,000 an acre since the bill became law, even before it’s developed.
McGuinty bristled at Kormos’ questions and said he wasn’t going to apologize for doing what all party leaders must do, and help raise money.
“I understand where my honourable colleague is going on this matter, and I reject his allegations and his not-so-subtle accusations completely and thoroughly,” McGuinty told the legislature.
“My honourable colleague is grasping. He is overreaching. Frankly, given his lengthy record of public service, it is unbecoming.”
However, Kormos remained undeterred and said McGuinty never once answered the question of what was discussed with the developers at the private dinner in May 2008.
“It’s stinkier now than it was before question period,” said Kormos. “All we need is for the premier to come clean and tell us what was discussed and why these particular people were part of that invitation-only, very exclusive group who enjoyed a $5,000 a plate dinner with the premier.”
Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Bradley said the government agreed to legislation to change the boundary between Innisfil and Barrie.