Connect with us

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

Métis Nation Saskatchewan Business Magazine | Sask Métis News | Métis Nation Entrepreneurs

‘Flustered’ Doug Ford under fire at Queen’s Park, as documents reveal questions inquiry lawyers want him to answer


‘Flustered’ Doug Ford under fire at Queen’s Park, as documents reveal questions inquiry lawyers want him to answer

Embattled and rattled, Premier Doug Ford is feeling the heat over his refusal to testify at the federal Emergencies Act inquiry — and losing his cool.

Ford said it was “unreal” for Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser to criticize him for going to court to avoid appearing at the hearings probing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s actions to end the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa.

“As the public saw, I was out there non-stop speaking to the people … he was hiding in his basement,” Ford said Thursday after Fraser reminded him former premiers Mike Harris, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne testified at various inquiries and court cases.

“I love that he uses previous premiers at an inquiry. I’ve got to remind him, he was part of the most politically corrupt government this province has ever had,” the premier said.

Speaker Ted Arnott then ordered Ford to “withdraw the unparliamentary comment,” which he did.

Fraser said the outburst shows Ford is “flustered.”

“If anyone was hiding, it was the premier of Ontario, as the residents of Ottawa suffered,” said Fraser (Ottawa South).

“You think if this was happening in Etobicoke he would have waited two weeks?” he said, referring to the declaration of a separate provincial state of emergency over the convoy protests in Ottawa and in Windsor, where the Ambassador Bridge to Detroit was blocked, shutting down international trade and idling factories.

Ford, who represents Etobicoke North in the legislature, maintains he is not needed at the inquiry because “I don’t direct the police” and it’s a strictly federal matter.

But documents filed in Federal Court by provincial government lawyers seeking to quash summonses for Ford and Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones to come before the inquiry in Ottawa include internal emails outlining why commission officials believe it is crucial they appear.

“There will likely be important gaps in the record if they do not testify,” Gabriel Poliquin, senior counsel of the commission, wrote to Darrell Kloeze, counsel in the Crown law office, civil division at the ministry of the attorney general.

He followed up Oct. 18, noting Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson testified all levels of government could have acted sooner to help law enforcement with more resources and additional powers.

“What is Ontario’s take on that? The decision to bolster law enforcement using these measures is ultimately a political decision.”

Poliquin also made an appeal for Ford and Jones to appear for their own good, as well as the public good.


There's no credit card required! No fees ever.

Create Your Free Account Now!

“The overall point of the commission is not to scrutinize in order to blame, but to scrutinize in order to provide much-needed hindsight on a situation that should never be repeated,” he wrote.

“The commission will eventually draw conclusions about these political decisions. It may play to Ontario’s advantage if it can express its point of view through its elected officials.”

Ford has insisted Ontario is co-operating with the commission by supplying about 800 cabinet documents and making two senior bureaucrats available to testify, but the commission argues that is not enough.

“My colleagues have already spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, (Intergovernmental Affairs) Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Mayor Watson and (Windsor) Mayor (Drew) Dilkens about phone calls they had with Premier Ford, namely about Ontario’s emergency declaration, but also on the allocation of resources to the different cities where protests occurred,” Poliquin wrote.

“It’s my understanding that, for some if not most of these calls, no one else attended. To be fair to Premier Ford, I think it is important that we get his take on things,” Poliquin added in an email to Ontario officials back on Sept. 19.

He requested a one-hour interview with Ford, outside of business hours if necessary.

The commission also emailed on Sept. 30 a list of nine written questions it wanted Ford to answer, and three for Jones.

For Ford, the questions include:

  • “Why does the provincial emergency regulation not target the parliamentary precinct directly as it does international borders? Why was that choice made?”
  • “Did political considerations come into play in his reaction to the Windsor blockade vs the Ottawa occupation? Which ones?”

The commission also wants to know why Ford and Jones declined to participate in at least two of the three “tripartite meetings” with the City of Ottawa and federal government on the occupation that gridlocked downtown Ottawa and Parliament Hill.

On that front, Deputy Solicitor General Mario Di Tommaso — one of two senior Ontario bureaucrats offered to the commission — “said during his interview that he could not speak for the politicians on this point,” Poliquin noted in the Oct. 18 email.

“The evidence so far is that Premier Ford told Mayor Watson the (tripartite meeting) table was a waste of time. Why? The other levels of government don’t seem to think so.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @robferguson1

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Metis Studies

Online Entrepreneurs

Top Stories

To Top