For us, good government includes:
- Putting good policy before politicking
- Putting citizens before donors
While good governance isn’t policy per se, it is quite possibly the most important quality of a government or political party because a corrupt government will fail to live up to its responsibilities no matter how well-informed or appealing its political platform is. Unfortunately, we can’t rank or compare the parties on good governance, as it is only really possible to assess the party in power on this issue.
Under Doug Ford, the Ontario government has been secretive and overly friendly with donors and party insiders. For this reason, we recommend that if good governance is your top issue you do not vote Conservative in this election as that will return Doug Ford to the Premier’s Office.
Secret Mandate Letters
Mandate letters are instructions from a Premier to their Ministers outlining their goals. Typically, these documents are publicly accessible and even widely promoted. Doug Ford on the other hand doesn’t want you to know what his government is trying to accomplish — and he has spent huge amounts of public money fighting to keep them secret, taking the issue to the supreme court just last month after losing at the Ontario Court of Appeals.
When Ford was first elected and setting up his government, he was implicated in a number of appointment scandals.
- Lowered the job requirements in order to appoint family friend Ron Taverner Commissioner of the OPP.
- Gave a $348K health administrator position to former PC party president Rueben Devlin.
- Doug Ford’s former Chief of Staff, Dean French, gave several lucrative foreign postings to friends and acquaintances.
- Doug Ford also appointed his secretary, Jenni Byrne, to a $197K position at the Ontario Energy Board.
- In 2021, long after Dean French’s resignation, a Mulroney family friend and major donor to Caroline Mulroney’s campaign was appointed head of a new government procurement agency.
- Doug Ford’s Press Secretary is in a relationship with Toronto Sun journalist Brian Lilley who regularly covers Queen’s Park.
Close Relations with Donors
Doug Ford won the 2018 election partly thanks to attack ads produced and paid for by “Ontario Proud” a third-party advertiser funded primarily by developers and land speculators.
Since the moment he took office, Doug Ford has been single-mindedly focused on opening up land to sprawl developers and cutting back on regulations — like endangered species protections — which developers dislike.
His growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe sends additional growth to places like Peel and Durham while also reducing the minimum density in new developments making public transit unlikely and forcing them to spread out onto farmland which big developers have bought cheap.
In the video below, taken at a campaign event, he discusses his plans to open the greenbelt because developers asked him to.
Doug Ford attempt to open the greenbelt to development in 2018, but reversed course after intense public pushback.
The 413 highway, which will pave parts of the greenbelt and is projected to cost taxpayers $6-10 Billion, almost seems like it was specifically designed to activate land owned by big PC donors.
More recently, executives of FH Health and members of their families donated over $40,000 to the PC Party at the same time their company was being awarded a contract to operate profitable vaccine clinics.
Public Spending on Politically-motivated Court Cases and Contracts
In addition to paying to keep his mandate letters secret, Doug Ford spent $30 million dollars fighting the Federal Government in court over the carbon tax and lost. In fact, the Ford government has lost more than a dozen legal cases — many of them against other levels or branches of government. Doug Ford also spent $231 million cancelling renewable energy projects and contracts.
Doug Ford also chose not to pursue $1 Billion dollars in outstanding penalties owed to the people of Ontario by the for-profit operators of the 407.
Public Spending on Political Advertising
Doug Ford’s tendency to spend public money advancing his political goals — look for example at the recent taxpayer-funded ads about how strong Ontario is which coincidentally began just before the election — is also deeply troubling.
The Auditor General reviewed similar advertisements purchased in or before 2020 and found them to be overly partisan and of little educational value for the general public.
For example, in its review of a $1.56 million campaign to educate the public about government debt, the Auditor General’s Office stated: “Our Office concluded that the campaign’s primary objective was to portray the government in a positive light.” Regarding a $778,000 campaign about infrastructure the AGO concluded: “Each ad stated that “Our plan to Build Ontario is working,” yet offered no details about what the plan was, or any evidence of how it was working.”
We have only reviewed the PCs on this issue because no party puts corruption in their platform. That does not mean the other parties are immune from these shortcomings however. The Liberals have appointed losing Liberal candidates to government positions, approved expensive cancellations for gas plants, and also spent tax money on advertising that primarily promoted their party brand. However, in this particular election none of the other parties have a chance of achieving a majority government (with the excess power that entails). We believe that a coalition government in a minority parliament will help to keep all parties on their best behaviour because they’ll all be looking to expose each others failures. Read our ‘who should I vote for’ page to learn more about this unusual election.