Doug’s Dubious Donors and Insidious Insiders: A Timeline

Doug Ford has created an image of himself as an ordinary dude fighting for the little guy. But the truth is, his dad was a Conservative MPP with a multi-million dollar printing company. Instead of fighting for the little guy, Doug will always choose billionaires, business associates and political insiders.

1995-1999 – Doug Ford (Sr.) serves as the MPP for Etobicoke–Humber under Premier Mike Harris.

2010 – Our current Premier, Doug Ford (Jr.), takes over his brother Rob Ford’s city council seat when Rob becomes mayor of Toronto.

2011-2012 – Doug Ford (Jr.) sets up meetings between city staff and prominent clients of his family business Deco Labels. The integrity commissioner stated “I find that Councillor Ford contravened Articles IV (Gifts and Benefits) and VIII (Improper Use of Influence) of the Code of Conduct.” City of Toronto

2014 – Doug Ford’s mayoral campaign receives donations from Silvio DeGasperis’s family – owner of the TACC real estate development group. Toronto Star

Early 2018 – Ten members of Mario Cortellucci’s family donate $1,200 each to Ford’s campaign to become leader of the PC party. Mario Cortelluci is the president and CEO of the Cortel Group of developers. Two members of the DeGasperis family also make large donations. Ford eventually wins the leadership contest despite accusations of irregular vote counting.

May 2018 – Doug Ford tells PC donors that he will open up the Greenbelt in a leaked video. As he discusses why he thinks it’s a good idea to open Ontario’s best farmland to sprawl developers he explicitly says “I’ve already talked to some of the biggest developers in this country.” Perhaps the same developers who just donated heavily to his leadership campaign?

April-May 2018 – Ontario Proud, bankrolled by big developers, funds attack ads against Kathleen Wynne which go viral on Facebook in the lead-up to the provincial election.

June 2018 – Doug Ford wins the provincial election.

2018-2019 – Doug Ford’s Chief of Staff Dean French, appoints several unqualified family friends to high-paying diplomatic positions.  CBC

2018-2020 The Ford government issues an unprecedented number of Minister’s Zoning Orders to override local planning. PC donors including Peter Gilgan of Mattamy Homes and the DeGasperis and Cortellucci families all receive valuable zoning changes. National Observer

July of 2018 – Galen Weston warns that increases to the minimum wage in Ontario will cost Loblaws millions. Globe and Mail

August 2018Galen Weston meets with Ford. McGill Journal of Political Science

October 2018 – Ford passes Bill 47 which cancels the wage increase Galen Weston complained about and claws back paid sick days promised to workers by the previous government.

November 2018 – Doug Ford revives the $10 billion Highway 413, which was cancelled by the Wynne government after an expert panel found it would be both extremely expensive and unlikely to significantly reduce traffic congestion in Southern Ontario.

December 2018 – Doug Ford’s government lowers the job requirements for OPP commissioner so Ford can appoint his old Etobicoke buddy Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner. As media scrutiny increases, Taverner withdraws his name. CBC

January 2019 – Ford appoints his secretary to a $197 K position on the Ontario Energy Board. CBC

November 2019 Ford passes Bill 124 which caps the wages of nurses as well as personal support workers – including those who work in LTC homes. Why would Ford do this? Perhaps, because he’s getting advice from former PC Premier Mike Harris who not only held over $7 million in stock in Chartwell long-term care homes as recently as 2019 but also collects $240 K/year as chair of Chartwell’s board of directors.

February 2020 – A fake grassroots group called ‘Vaughan Working Families’ takes out ads attacking teachers unions. It is later revealed to be funded and operated by the DeGasperis family. Press Progress

November 2020 – For-profit homes like those run by Mike Harris prove to be more deadly than publicly-run long-term care homes. Doug Ford doubles-down on for-profit homes anyway and even introduces legislation that protects these businesses from negligence lawsuits.

April 2021 – An investigation by the National Observer maps the properties of PC donors against the route of Highway 413.  Both the Cortellucci family and the DeGasperis family own property along the route which will become significantly more valuable once the highway is built.

September 2021 – Executives of FH Health and members of their families donate over $40,000 to the PC Party.

January 2022FH Health is awarded a contract to operate 9 profitable vaccine clinics.

June 2022 – Ford meets with the CEO of Therme an international spa company planning to build a private spa on top of Ontario Place — which is currently a public park. A few months later, it comes to light taxpayers will pay 200 million to remediate the park and an ADDITIONAL $450 million (estimated) to build a parking garage for the spa. (QP Briefing, Globe and Mail)

August 2022 – As the nursing shortage caused by Bill 124 grows ever more dramatic, health care workers begin sounding the alarm about increasing public spending on temporary nurses from private agencies which often charge over $100/hour for their nurses. Ottawa Citizen. Bill 124, which Ford always defended as a cost-saving measure is actually costing taxpayers MORE in many cases while also allowing private nursing agencies to rake in profits by filling nursing shortages. It turns out one of these for-profit nursing agencies happens to be run by Laura Harris, Mike Harris’ wife.

September 2022 – Doug Ford meets with 7-11 Executives (QP Briefing). 3 months later 7-11 announces liquor sales and in-store dining in Ontario. Yuck. Mom-and-pop convenience stores are getting especially screwed here. Not only does Ford love to undermine public services – it is never small businesses that benefit from his changes, it’s huge companies run by people who have his ear.

November 2022 – Despite his repeated promises not to touch the Greenbelt, Ford removes protections from 14 parcels of land totalling over 7,400 acres. One of the largest chunks of land removed from the Greenbelt — in the irreplaceable Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve — is owned by the DeGasperis family. National Observer

December 2022 – Ford reduces the fees OHIP pays for online consultations. This wipes out the public alternatives to for-profit digital health platform, Maple, which is partially owned by Shoppers Drug Mart – and therefore Galen Weston.

As you can see from this timeline, what’s happening here is worse than your usual, run-of-the-mill privatization. In Ontario, in 2023, when a company benefits from a government decision, a little digging will usually turn up a direct connection between that company and Doug Ford. This is crony capitalism – an endless gravy train that runs straight from taxpayers’ pockets to the bank accounts of the politically well-connected.

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