It’s clear that the new Progressive Conservative government of Ontario is using the extended summer session of the legislature to try to dominate what would otherwise be a sleepy August news cycle.
What is also clear is that it is doing so not by announcing sound policy or spending taxpayers’ money wisely, but by making partisan hay at all costs.
Last week, Premier Doug Ford announced that his government intends to unilaterally cut the size of Toronto’s city council in half, a drastic measure he never mentioned during the election campaign.
On Tuesday, Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod announced the cancellation of the province’s basic-income pilot program, a three-year project her party had promised to continue.
And on Thursday, Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney announced her government is launching a legal challenge to the federal government’s carbon-pricing legislation.
All three moves are problematic in their own ways.
Slashing Toronto’s council won’t make the municipal government more productive. Toronto’s inability to build subways has way more to do with the fiscal shackles imposed on it by the provincial government than it does with the number of seats in the council chamber.
Cutting the basic-income project after one year is callous and deceitful. It also wastes the $50-million so far invested in it. Ms. MacLeod may as well have gone to the treasury and asked for the amount in cash so she could burn it in a bonfire.
And taking Ottawa’s carbon-pricing law to court in Ontario is a duplication of the province’s existing plan to join Saskatchewan’s ongoing legal challenge to the same law. There is no useful reason to open a second front, in a second provincial court of appeal.
Well, no reason other than feeding red meat to PC partisans who love seeing the populist Ford government give the business to Toronto, to people on welfare, and to the Trudeau government. We’d suggest Ms. Mulroney go get the $30-million budgeted for her court case and light her own bonfire with it, but she has already contributed enough to the province’s greenhouse-gas emissions.