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Ontario Tory leader Doug Ford to put business assets in trust

Last Updated Mar 20, 2018 at 6:49 pm EDT

Ontario’s newly minted opposition leader met his Progressive Conservative caucus at the province’s legislature Tuesday, saying he will place his business holdings in a trust as he takes the party reins.

Doug Ford, who won the party leadership after a chaotic six-week race, arrived at Queen’s Park on Tuesday to applause from Tory legislators. He said he will meet with J. David Wake, Ontario’s integrity commissioner, over the next couple of days to make the appropriate arrangements for his business, repeating a promise he had made during the leadership contest.

Under the provincial rules, Ford must meet with the integrity watchdog no later than 60 days after his election as party leader and complete a private declaration of his and his spouses’ assets and liabilities.

While he’s not currently required to place his business holdings — the family-run Deco Label company — in trust, that would change if he is elected premier on June 7.

According to the Member’s Integrity Act, Ford would be required to select an arm’s-length trustee to oversee the company. The trustee, and terms of the trust, must be approved by the commissioner. The trustee will then provide regular written reports with limited financial information to Ford.

Meanwhile, Ford also said his election platform, which is still in development, will include a balanced budget. But just moments later, Ford added that he still needed to consult the party caucus about the platform and his deficit targets.

“Yeah, it’s going to be balanced. We’re going to make sure we work on every single nickel to make sure it’s justified,” he said.

Ford could not immediately say when the party’s election platform will be unveiled.

“They’re working on it hard right now,” he said. “I’m sure over the next little while we’re going to be putting it out. We’re costing everything out. We have some really bright people costing the platform out and it’s going to be great.”

Ford also took a swipe at Premier Kathleen Wynne, who he criticized for proposing to run an $8-billion deficit in the upcoming provincial budget.

“Isn’t that a shame she’s lumped another $8 billion on of the taxpayers’ money,” he said. “That’s incredible. She take has people’s money, the taxpayers’ money, and starts buying them all these gifts. We’re in debt up to our eyeballs at $311 billion and she wants to lump another $8 billion onto the deficit.”

Ford was elected Tory leader over a week ago, narrowly beating former legislator Christine Elliott, who has said she intends to run for the party in the provincial election.