TORONTO, Aug. 22, 2019 /CNW/ - The Ford government is taking its secrecy crusade to the courts over mandate letters and OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says he's either embarrassed by their content or the fact that they would reveal a more sinister agenda prior to the upcoming federal election.
"The words transparency and accountability have lost all meaning with this Premier," said Thomas. "Looks like he's intent on running a secretive government and wasting more precious taxpayers' dollars in the courts to keep it that way."
Thomas pointed to the Premier's record as evidence that secrecy is the norm in his office; his daily schedule is kept secret along with the times and locations of cabinet meetings, and he's come under fire for a string of secretive government appointments to insider buddies.
Now, Ontario's information and privacy commissioner has revealed that the Ford government plans to take his office to court to prevent the release of mandate letters sent to Ford's cabinet ministers, which the commissioner had previously ordered be released publicly.
"The commissioner is right - Ontarians have a right to know what the government's policy priorities are," said OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. "It's the only way to keep them in check, and after a year of blunders, Ford's secrecy crusade isn't helping his or his party's credibility.
"The Tories spent their first year in office undoing the Wynne government's policies, and now their second year appears to be all about undoing their own blunders from the first year," said Almeida. "Clearly they had no idea what they were doing. Maybe Dean French knows, since he reportedly ran the cabinet meetings."
"We've already seen Ford's cuts and privatization agenda in action," said Thomas. "Ford has surrounded himself with chaos and confusion, undoing, doing and then undoing again. It's an indication that his office was in serious need of mature direction."
Thomas also noted that every other premier across the country – including Ontario's previous Liberal government - released their mandate letters publicly, calling on Ford to 'get with the program and show some respect for democratic norms.'
"Thankfully, we are finally seeing some evidence that Doug's Queen's Park playground is under adult supervision," said Thomas. "But his government has already done a lot of damage to Ontario and the Tory brand. It's time for Ford to turn transparency and accountability from empty buzzwords into meaningful action. It's time to release the letters."
SOURCE Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
For further information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931.