What’s new in Premier Ford’s first throne speech?
Ontario Premier Doug Ford applauds as Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell delivers the speech from the throne to open the new legislative session at the Ontario Legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, June 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, July 12, 2018 2:08PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 12, 2018 7:02PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford’s first throne speech contains many of his promises and measures already in action — from ending cap-and-trade to reverting to Ontario’s 1998 sexual education curriculum in schools.
But it contains a few more things mentioned only briefly or not at all by Ford or his ministers:
- Promising a Commission of Inquiry regarding Ontario’s finances – This is more than the line-by-line audit promised by Ford and Fedeli earlier and implies some kind of suspicion of wrongdoing by the Wynne government. “The era of accounting tricks and sleight of hand must end,” Lt. Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell said. Ford’s team has previously said they will locate “efficiencies” worth $6 billion annually as they try to balance the budget.
- Ending ‘Discovery Math’ curriculum. During the campaign, the Ford team had previously indicated they would overhaul this. Since the middle of the Tim Hudak years, the PCs have slammed the Liberals’ changes on how math is taught in public schools, saying it prioritizes problem solving over basic memorization and arithmetic skills. The pledge to scrap “discovery math” was included in Ford’s platform, but Ford said little about it. This is on top of reverting to the 1998 sex-ed curriculum, saying sexual education needs to be “age appropriate.”
- Dedicated hotline to assist military families – caring for active and retired military personnel is a federal responsibility, but Ford made honouring soldier and vets —and scolding those who he thinks do not show them appropriate respect — a part of his campaign. This is on top of his previous promise to construct a new monument to Canada’s involvement in the War in Afghanistan, which is also mentioned in the speech. This was not included in Ford’s platform document.
- After suspending reforms to the provincial Special Investigations Unit (SIU) that were scheduled to come into effect at the start of July, Ford’s throne speech suggests he’s not done there yet. “You can count on your government to respect the men and women of Ontario’s police services — by freeing them from onerous restrictions that treat those in uniform as subjects of suspicion and scorn.” The pause on Bill 175, the Safer Ontario Act, held up measures that would allow the SIU to fine police officers who did not cooperate with its investigations. It also gave police chiefs a greater ability to suspend officers without pay when they were accused of serious crimes. It is unclear when a re-worked bill on the SIU and police governance will be brought forward by the PCs.