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'MORE STABILITY': PCs raising threshold for official party status
Antonella Artuso
Published:
November 13, 2018
Updated:
November 13, 2018 4:17 PM EST
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is pictured in his office on Tuesday October 30, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
The PC government is raising the threshold for official party status — a move opposition MPPs allege will make it more likely that its traditional chief political rival, the Ontario Liberal Party and its seven MPPs, will have fewer resources and a reduced voice in the legislature for the next four years.
Ontario Government House Leader Todd Smith confirmed Tuesday that the Fall Economic Statement to be delivered Thursday will include a requirement that the number of seats for official party status rise from the current eight seats.
“(We’re) bringing a little bit more stability on this situation and trying to take politics out of it,” Smith said.
The size of the legislature grew to 124 seats in June, up from 107, but so far official party status has remained the same.
As well, according to a Globe and Mail report, Ford’s chief of staff intervened to get a former Patrick Brown staffer tossed from his executive position at Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
Following a heated question period where Finance Minister Vic Fedeli called an NDP MPP an “idiot,” at least two PC cabinet ministers bailed early from media scrums while others didn’t come out to face the press at all.
Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli speaks in Toronto on September 26, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)
Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, first elected in June, said a close-up look from the floor of the legislature reveals what he’d long suspected — that Queen’s Park is obsessed with political games over the interests of people.
“It appears that the government is just being driven by a political agenda about what’s good for them and not what’s good for democracy and for the people,” Schreiner said.
Liberal Leader John Fraser said the new rule for official party status disregards the votes of 1.1 million Ontarians who supported the Liberals and another almost 264,000 who backed the Green Party of Ontario.
“This action today speaks volumes about this government,” Fraser said.
Interim Leader of the Ontario Liberal party John Fraser speaks to media on July 11, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov)
Going forward, the number of seats required for official party status will be 10% of the total number of seats — meaning the new number is 12.
Official status gives a party’s MPPs a place on committees and on the regular question period rotation, as well as taxpayer funds to hire extra staff and carry out research.
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The Liberals came up one seat short in the last provincial election, but would now have to make up five seats to regain official party status.
Smith said it was the voters who decided to reduce the number of Liberals MPPs to below party status and “the voters are never wrong.”
Energy Minister Greg Rickford was asked by Liberal MPP Marie-France Lalonde during question period about a news report that OPG could be on the hook for up to $500,000 in severance after Ford’s chief of staff, Dean French, allegedly called the publicly owned power generator to ask that Alykhan Velshi be stripped of his position.
“OPG is a crown corporation; they’re responsible for their own staffing decisions,” Rickford said, declining to confirm whether French contacted OPG to rid it of Brown’s former staffer.
NDP MPP Sara Singh speaks to reporters at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)
Meanwhile, NDP MPP Sara Singh said she heard Fedeli say “idiot” when she was questioning him about a contract with the Ontario Cannabis Store.
Fedeli rose in the legislature to withdraw an unspecified unparliamentary remark and apologize.
“I’m here as a member of the official opposition asking tough questions of the ministers,” Singh said.
“It’s unfortunate that rather than answer my question directly, the minister is hurling out personal insults.”
aartuso@postmedia.com
http://theglobeandmail.com/canada/ar...d-from-new-job
http://torontosun.com/news/provincia...l-party-status