When you don’t trust your MPP.

To get this straight, you can be sure I never voted for this guy. Doug Downey MPP does not live in our Barrie riding. He has been the go-to guy for Ontario conservatives up in Severn Township in north Simcoe County. I expect, his appointment as candidate in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in the last provincial election was a reward for his loyalty. As Doug Ford’s attorney general, he seems more of a disaster than his predecessor, Caroline Mulroney.

This embarrassing subject came up earlier today when a friend called me to check on any update I might have on funding of legal aid in Ontario. This was one of the stupider cuts attempted earlier this year by the Ford government. The last I had noted on the subject was a lecture Dave Lametti, the federal attorney general, gave Downey in June about the formula used to assess the federal and provincial sharing of legal aid costs.

But if you are really curious about the failings of Ontario’s attorney general, you should note the current hue and cry for his head by senior lawyers. It seems Ford and Downey are displeased with the non-partisan method of appointing competent judges in Ontario. This province has one of the most respected systems in Canada for vetting and recommending prospective judges.

But Ford and Downey seem bent on replacing this proven system with their own patronage-based system for worthy conservatives. The non-partisan system that they were dishonouring in this manner was the legacy of the late Ian Scott, the liberal attorney general for the former Peterson government. The difference between Downey and Scott is that Downey is a small-town lawyer and Scott was a highly regarded law professor.

It appears that since Ford was unsuccessful in putting a crony in charge of the provincial police that they are still looking for patronage opportunities.

What is even more discouraging about the Ford government in Ontario is its bumbling, ill-considered cost cutting that ends up costing far more in penalties, catch-up and reparation. They should take the time to think things through. They should be willing to listen to complaints about delayed action instead of taking precipitous action.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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