The NDP is now calling on the Doug Ford Conservatives to recall the Standing Committee on Government Agencies, and give them the mandate to conduct a review of all Ford government appointees, past and current.
New Democrat MPP Marit Stiles, a member of the Government Agencies committee, says that, to this point, Doug Ford has not only been handing out appointments to family, friends and insiders, but also ensuring appointees can skip the committee hearings intended to provide a transparent review of their appointments.
“Doug Ford has been making it rain gravy train tickets, and signing off on every single one – from Ron Taverner to Tyler Albrecht. We can’t trust him to lead a review of the appointments that he has personally signed off on,” said Stiles. “A Doug Ford behind-closed-doors review is useless. We need a public and transparent review of every appointment Doug Ford has made.”
Friends and family of the Ford government, along with Conservative candidates and PC Party members have been given appointments to government boards and agencies. Apparently, cabinet has rubber stamped them all.
Meanwhile, the NDP has called on dozens of Ford’s appointees to come before the committee to answer questions on their qualifications, their connections to the Ford government, and the plans and philosophies they intend to apply in their new roles, but Conservative MPPs have been putting up roadblocks. In the last six months alone, 31 appointees who were asked to appear before the committee by New Democrats have failed or refused to show up.
“Doug Ford’s gravy-train passengers are being handed buckets of public money, perks and power, while dodging scrutiny and oversight,” said Stiles.
Among many others, the Ford Conservatives have stonewalled the NDP’s efforts to question Ford’s former key staffer Jenni Byrne, who he appointed to a $197,000-a-year position at the Ontario Energy Board for which she lacked the posted qualifications; and former PC Cabinet Minister Charles Harnick. Despite being a registered lobbyist, Harnick was named chair of Legal Aid Ontario with $150,000 in additional compensation.
Ford’s history of appointing his own insiders includes a board chair appointment for his personal family lawyer, Gavin Tighe; a million-dollar special advisor contract to long-time family friend Reuben Devlin, and a failed attempt to appoint close family friend Ron Taverner to be the commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).
“Doug Ford wants to keep his appointments and his appointees in back rooms,” said Stiles. “The lack of transparency here should have everyone worried about what this government is cooking up behind closed doors.”
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