Views: Transition Begins in Ontario —

On June 8 Ontario Premier designate Doug Ford held a press conference where he announced that “the transition of power” with the Liberal government was well underway. He said he would be meeting with Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor where he expected to be invited to officially form a government, which he did later that day. The new government will be sworn in on June 29.

He informed that he had spoken to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on election day and that he presented his priorities for the province. He also said that they spoke about relations with the United States and that he pledged to “stand united against our neighbours to the south and I’m very sincere when I say that. United we stand as a country and I’ll work hand in hand with the Prime Minister.”

When asked about when he would start implementing some of his campaign promises such as claims about reduced gas prices he said, “We have to see the financial situation that’s been left behind, and over the next couple of days and weeks you’re going to hear from us, but the most important thing is getting our fiscal house in order. […]

“What we say we’re going to do, we’re going to do. We aren’t going to flip-flop. We want to make sure over the next four years that our mandate gets fulfilled based on the people voting us in,” he said. He explained that “immediately we’ll be out looking for an auditing firm to go into the province to go line item by line item. I always believe in third party validation.”

Spending public funds to hire a private accounting firm to inform the government and Ontarians of the “state of the finances” is concerning to say the least. Ontario has an Auditor General. Ford and others referenced her report on the government finances during the election in criticizing the government’s accounting practices. Ontario also has a Ministry of Finance. The announced intention to hire a private firm is a conflict of interest. It is an indication of the wrecking of the public authority which will continue to take place as a matter of course under the new government.

The big accounting firms are part of the massive supranational private interests which scour the globe to take as much as possible for themselves out of public treasuries and the value workers produce. They give advice on how to cut public programs, privatize them and wreck the institutions which serve the people, keeping only the police powers. Workers in Ontario have their own experience with how the reports and figures of accounting firms are used to attack their pensions and the value they produce and turn the workers into costs to be eliminated. This is how Mike Harris started his rule by decree in 1995. He hired a company called Andersen Consulting with a contract of $180 million to throw people off social assistance and cut welfare by 21 per cent.

It is unacceptable to set the agenda for the new government on the basis of whatever “state of the finances” is presented by such firms. Ontarians want a change in the direction of the economy so that their claims are provided with a guarantee. To start on the basis of whatever private interests will put forward will be the first attempt to get Ontarians to accept an agenda which is set behind their backs.

Ford said that the PCs “intend to act fast. We will have much more to share with the people of Ontario in the coming days and weeks.”

In questions and answers he also indicated that all government purchasing from pencils to books would be tendered out for multiple bids as opposed to sole source bids from now on, something he said was not happening with previous governments. He said this was to protect the taxpayer.

He did not respond when asked if he would introduce back-to-work legislation to force striking York University academic workers back to work. In the May 27 Leaders’ Debate however, Ford made it clear that he favoured using back-to-work legislation in the case of the college workers’ strike.

Enver Villamizar, Ontario Political Forum