Ontario’s Auditor General has released a report that paints a grim picture of just how badly the Liberal government let Ontario down — but is also a foreshadowing of what’s to come, because where the auditor flags major problems, the Ford Conservatives have been making things even worse.
“The auditor really lays out a picture of a Liberal government making decisions according to their own political interests, not people’s needs,” said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath. “This was clearly a Liberal government in it for themselves, using public money for political reasons time and time again.
“But the things that the auditor flags — like political interference and self-serving ads — are things that are already hallmarks of the Ford Conservatives. For people, this means that where the Liberals let you down, the Ford Conservatives are making things worse for you.”
- The auditor concludes in her report that there was, in fact, political interference by the Liberal minister of Transportation in determining the location of two GO Train stations. Since then, Ford and his office have faced allegations of political interference in policing, at Ontario Power Generation, and at Hydro One.
- The auditor also called out the Liberal government for causing delays and $438 million in extra costs in transit construction, thanks to “shifting” provincial priorities, and using the P3 or AFP form of privatization. Since taking office, Ford froze all transit building so he could “review” the projects, leaving communities uncertain if their transit will be built at all. Ford also continues to threaten to break apart the TTC, leaving people to worry that more privatization and sell-offs are coming.
- The auditor panned the Liberal government for not only spending more on advertising than the province has in a decade — but for those ads being self-serving. A whopping $62.6 million, all public money, was spent in 2017-18 on government ads, and 30 per cent of them were designed “to foster a positive impression of the governing party,” according to the auditor. But, the Liberals paved the way for a much worse propaganda machine by changing the law to allow for more public spending on more self-serving partisan ads. Now, Ford has created a bogus news network to spread pro-Ford propaganda.
- In another troubling finding, the auditor says millions of dollars a year were spent by the Liberals through Legal Aid Ontario to help people file for support or appeal a denial under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Meanwhile, Ford and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, have announced changes to the definition of a disability, which would see many more sick and disabled people turned away from ODSP support.
“Today’s report should be a reality check for Doug Ford and his government. Mr. Ford can’t criticize the Liberals for things like privatization in transit and wasting government money on self-serving ads, then turn around and do even more of the same,” said Horwath. “People deserve so much better.”
“I want to thank Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk for her 2018 Annual Report, and for the important work she and her staff do for the people of Ontario. Having independent watchdogs is critical — it means that when a government is failing to be transparent, Ontario has a way to shine a light on what they’re up to, and it means having an independent body help draw a blueprint for how we can do better.”