Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday July 10, 2019
Doug Ford says he acted ‘immediately’ on patronage scandal caused by former chief of staff Dean French
Premier Doug Ford says he addressed the patronage scandal created by his former chief of staff Dean French “immediately.”
Taking media questions in public for the first time since the controversy broke late last month, Ford — in Alberta Monday for the Calgary Stampede before heading to a meeting of premiers in Saskatoon — said “you know something, I think I addressed that pretty quickly. As a matter of fact, I addressed that immediately when we were in Toronto.”
However, he added, “we aren’t here to talk about Dean French. We’re here to talk about internal trade. This is the first opportunity this country has ever seen in recent memory that from coast to coast, from the east to the west, we have like-minded premiers” which is “incredible for the entire nation.”
Ford also accused the media of wanting “to get into the weeds” when the public wants to know about jobs and the economy.
“Do you really think when I walk down the street in Alberta, people worry about Dean French?” Ford added.
Opposition critics immediately slammed Ford. NDP MP Taras Natyshak (Essex) said the premier was “hiding out instead of taking responsibility for the patronage appointment scandal that has rocked his government,” adding he “finally popped his head up only to pass the buck in Cowtown.”
Natyshak said “make no mistake about it, Doug Ford is the conductor of his own gravy train. He hands out tickets to his cronies and he ditches them when he gets caught. Ontarians expect better conduct from the premier of this province.”
Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said Ford’s evasiveness when asked about French “demonstrates a lack of respect for the people of Ontario.”
The Calgary gathering of five premiers — Ford, Alberta’s Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick and Bob McLeod of Northwest Territories — comes ahead of this week’s meeting of all premiers and territorial leaders at the Council of the Federation.
Kenney characterized the pre-meeting — which included a visit to the Calgary Stampede — as a “brief and fairly informal get-together” to talk about jobs and the economy.
Moe, the host of this year’s federation meeting in Saskatoon, said the five are a “table of mutual interest” and not an ideological group, despite their similar political leanings. (Hamilton Spectator)