Public got its first look at leader of the Opposition going after the government - and how the government has chosen to respond.

By Pepper Parr

February 21st, 2023



We got a look today how things are likely going to go at Queen’s Park.

Marit Stiles: Her question: “Did anyone in the Premier’s office or any other government staff have a role in making the invitation list for this family fundraiser?”

Marta Stiles, speaking at the Leader of the Opposition for the first time was putting questions to Doug Ford.

We all knew what her questions were going to be about: The money that was donated for events related to the wedding of his daughter and the deals Stiles believes were made to give developers advance notice of changes in legislation that would make land that was protected from development – suddenly available for development.

The first question was related to the wedding:

The Premier responded:
Well, first of all, I welcome the first question from Leader of the Opposition regarding any family matters. My family is separate them from a political process. They aren’t involved. I had an opportunity to speak to the Integrity Commissioner Mr. Speaker, I asked him for his opinion. And he found there was no violation. Again, this event was cleared by the Integrity Commissioner.

Stiles asks a supplementary question.

Marit Styles: “It is about the Premier’s behaviour. It’s about accountability and the integrity of the office that he holds.”

Speaker I want to be clear, this is not about the Premier’s family. It is about the Premier’s behavior. It’s about accountability and the integrity of the office that he holds. Sources told reporters they felt pressured to attend and some were asked for additional donations of up to $1,000. Did anyone in the Premier’s office or any other government staff have a role in making the invitation list for this family fundraiser?

At this point the Premier stops answering questions and has Paul Calandra, Government House Leader,  do the speaking:

Calandra: The Premier has already responded to that. As the commissioner also responded to that, Mr. Speaker, but at the same time, we are continuing to move forward as a Government to ensure that we continue to build a strong prosperous Ontario and it is seen throughout the province of Ontario whether you’ve travelled to the north to south east in the west, the province of Ontario is moving in a very good direction we are seeing 1000s of jobs being created Mr. Speaker, we are seeing investments come back to the province of Ontario. That is what we continue to fight for Mr. Speaker. Yes, we’re also fighting to ensure that young families can afford to get their first home something that almost everybody in this place has enjoyed reasons why families and people came to this province to this country for generations.

Speaker is because they wanted the dignity and the hope and the optimism that they could also enjoy that first home and we are going to do everything in our power to make all Ontarians can enjoy that type of optimism and success for the future.

Stiles get to ask her final supplementary question

Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles:
Speaker It really should not be too much to ask for the premier of this province to answer the questions that Ontarians have.  The premier has a close relationship with developers we know that, he’s acknowledged it,  but when the guest list for a family event includes the very developers who later benefited from this government’s Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO’s) and the Greenbelt land sales, something doesn’t sit right.

Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles: “something doesn’t sit right.”.

The government has a history of very specific land decisions that somehow end up benefiting their friends and their donors. Does the premier understand how bad this looks not just for the premier, but for the integrity of his government?

Calanda, speaking again for the Premier:

Again, the Integrity e commissioner has responded as well as the premier Mr. Speaker

Yes, we’re making decisions that will put more of the valuable resources of the province of Ontario available for families for young Canadians who want to be able to buy that first home, but we didn’t just start last week we started from 2018 Mr. Speaker and at every step of the way, every step of the way.

The opposition has been opposed to that when we brought on transit oriented communities to build housing around the transit infrastructure, which by the way, Mr. Speaker is the largest investment in transit in the history of this province, if not the country.

Mr. Speaker, we brought in rules to build transit oriented communities. They voted against him Mr. Speaker so it is no surprise that they are against building more homes for people. It is that hope and optimism that we have been fighting for since we were elected; since the Progressive Conservative government was even formed to do that the people of this province wanted a prosperous province, but they also wanted the hope and dignity of having their first home and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that that is affordable for everybody.

The Premier will deflect, defer or just ignore.  The New Democrats are going to have to come up with some very strong evidence – get it out to the public domain and let the media pound away at it

The Auditor General and the Provincial Integrity Commissioner are investigating.  No word yet on what the OPP Racket Squad has come up with – they are reported to have been nosing around.

Related news stories:

NDP leader sends investigation requests,

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

7 comments to Public got its first look at leader of the Opposition going after the government – and how the government has chosen to respond.

  • LSC

    Ford has changed the rule in the legistlature so that he is not responsible for directly answering questions put to him by the opposition. He is able to immediately pass off the question to any other member of his caucus. WHY did he fell it was necessary to change the rules?

  • Stephen White

    This inept provincial government just keeps stumbling along from one disastrous policy and public relations catastrophe to another. I keep waiting for a backbench revolt but I fear that it will never happen so long as Ford has dutiful supplicants like Calandra to do his bidding.

    Stiles is a savvy politician and no idiot, and Ford and his minions should start taking her seriously. It’s a sad commentary in both Ontario and Alberta when the NDP Opposition actually starts to sound, act and behave more like a responsible government than the Conservatives.

  • David

    As a Conservative I believe any corruption, perceived or otherwise, and in any form should be questioned, and straight forward answers respectfully given in a public forum.
    I respect Stiles showing she will do more than ‘side eye’ someone who is being dishonest in their answers. Pity the current NDP federal leader apparently has no qualms in doing so.

  • Carol Victor

    Really Grahame? These are the questions Ontarians want answers to, Ford has been in bed with developers for far too long…he flaunted with wetland development plans…
    She was right on in her questions…it is Ford who is pathetic!

  • I thought she did a pretty good job. Certainly not pathetic – it was the Premier who was pathetic -he certainly wasn’t all that welcoming. And he didn’t have the decency to answer the questions put to him. Got the feeling you have an ideological umbilical chord

    • Bartimaeus

      I truly wonder what session of the Legislature you were watching. Although I am neither Liberal nor NDP, I believe that she performed exceedingly well. The Government, on the other hand, was far less than inspiring. One would have difficulty shouting out their praises.

  • Grahame

    What a pathetic start for the new NDP leader.