Toronto – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is calling on Premier Doug Ford to rethink his decision to keep secret the marching orders he’s given his cabinet ministers.
“Doug Ford says he’s for the people, but what’s he hiding from the people?” asked Thomas. “According to news reports, the prime minister and premiers from coast to coast make their ‘ministerial mandate letters’ public. Why isn’t Ford doing the same thing?
“Why is he choosing secrecy over transparency? What doesn’t he want us to know?”
Ontario’s previous Liberal government made public its “ministerial mandate letters.” In clear language for all to see, these letters described to individual cabinet ministers the goals and expectations set for them by the Premier. Members of the public could then hold the government accountable for the things it was – and wasn’t – able to accomplish.
But Ford has decided to throw accountability by the wayside. He has invoked “cabinet secrecy” to keep his ministerial mandate letters hidden from the public. They won’t even be accessible through freedom-of-information requests. Tradition calls on opposition parties to have a shadow cabinet. It seems this government wants a cabinet that works in the shadows.
“It’s a simple equation: you can’t have accountability if you don’t have transparency,” said OPSEU First Vice-President / Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “How are we supposed to know if our cabinet ministers are doing their jobs if we don’t even know what their jobs are?”
“This is another needless step backwards for Ontario,” said Thomas. “From the sex-ed curriculum rollback to social assistance cuts to the decree that cannabis sales will be privatized, Ford seems to be stuck in reverse.
“You have to wonder who’s behind the wheel on these decisions,” Thomas adds. “Ford’s principal secretary used to be a senior aide to Stephen Harper. And this is looking more and more like taking a page from the secretive and dictatorial style of the Harper administration.”
For more information: Warren (Smokey) Thomas, 613-329-1931