A power trip is no way to lead a province

A power trip is no way to lead a province
Posted on December 31, 2018 | Mike Schreiner | Written on December 25, 2018
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Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I am wondering if Doug Ford understands how this famous phrase relates to his role as premier.

The premier denies that the appointment of his friend Ron Taverner as Ontario’s top cop is a conflict of interest. News flash: being premier does not mean you get to put your friends in charge of the police or interfere with police operations, as the premier’s chief-of-staff is alleged to have done. Being premier is a responsibility to serve, not an opening to consolidate power. The allegations of power overreach swirling around the premier’s office are shocking, but they are not isolated.

Since day one, Ford has been using his power to enlarge his power. The most egregious example came when Ford threatened to use the Notwithstanding Clause to slash Toronto City Council midway through the election Many speculated what the next power grab would be. But in reality it was not the first. It started when the Premier ejected the CEO of Hydro One and ripped up clean energy contracts. The Business Council of Canada and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce warned that such unilateral actions could have a chilling effect on business investment. They were not wrong. Earlier this month, US regulators nixed a $6.7 billion deal between Hydro One and Avista over fears of political meddling.

The premier’s power grabs are costing taxpayers, big time. The Avista cancellation alone will cost up to $200 million. The halting of the White Pines project added another $100 million onto the ratepayers’ tab. And now we learn the premier wants the OPP to buy a customized camper van purchased off the books through a sole source contract. Although Premier Ford is not yet at Liberal gas plant numbers, the costs of his power grabs are adding up. And trying to hide the cost from taxpayers is simply wrong.

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A leading advocate for independent businesses, local food and sustainable communities, Mike Schreiner is well known for his leadership in co-founding the award-winning Local Food Plus organization. He brings a proven... More