“This is a Premier who has contempt for accountability, contempt for the rule of law, and contempt for ‘the people’ he claims to speak for.” — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
Toronto (16 April 2019) — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE), says Ontarians should be deeply troubled over word that Premier Doug Ford is moving to make it more difficult to take legal action against his government.
Ontario government makes it harder to sue
“It looks like the Premier is gradually building a bunker to shield him from having to be accountable to anyone,” said Thomas. “This smacks of dictatorship so maybe the new license plates should read Welcome to the Great White North…Korea.”
Media reports say the government is poised to scrap the Proceedings against the Crown Act, which lays out government liability in cases of negligence. The CBC is reporting the government is planning to bring in a new law that would raise the bar on when Ontarians could take legal action against the province.
It would be a real slap in the face to Ontarians if the government went ahead with such a law, Thomas said.
“Given the number of foolish decisions this government has already made, the courts are one of the few avenues Ontarians can turn to for any kind of justice,” said Thomas. “Now Ford is putting up roadblocks to make it as difficult as possible to be held accountable.”
Moving further and further away from accountability
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer, says the timing is interesting in light of reports that it could cost up to $100-million to break a 10-year framework agreement with the Beer Store in order to allow beer and wine to be sold in convenience stores.
“If the government makes it harder to sue, corporate Ontario should be asking some hard questions on whether Ford can be believed when he says Ontario is ‘open for business,’” Almeida said. “Based on what we’ve seen from fibber Ford so far, I don’t think anyone can believe a word he says.”
Thomas says, sadly, the notion that Ford would make it harder to hold the government accountable in the courts should come as no surprise.
“We saw Ford threaten to use the notwithstanding clause of the Constitution to avoid being held accountable on his move to throttle democracy in Toronto municipal elections,” said Thomas.
“This is a Premier who has contempt for accountability, contempt for the rule of law, and contempt for ‘the people’ he claims to speak for.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE