Here’s our daily look at what’s making news in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
- David Livingston will serve four months in jail for his role in deleting emails relating to a controversial gas plant cancellation — “a rare instance,” as the Globe and Mail noted, “of a Canadian political scandal ending with a judge ordering a jail term." Livingston worked in former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty’s office when he illegally deleted records pertaining to the $1.1-billion projects. Ontario voters won’t need to worry about remembering this fact, as the opposition surely will provide helpful reminders every few minutes until June 7.
- Debate season for the 2018 election has officially begun: three provincial party leaders responded to an invitation from the Jamaican Canadian Association to meet Wednesday night and debate issues that matter to Black Ontarians. Among opposition leaders, the NDP’s Andrea Horwath and the Green Party’s Mike Schreiner showed up; Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford was travelling in the Sudbury area (his absence was controversial, and organizers highlighted it by placing an empty chair for him on the dais). The Toronto Star reports that Premier Kathleen Wynne was given the hardest time, however: audience members hurled a number of jeers her way, especially over the problem of racially skewed carding by police.
What to watch for
- Wynne has challenged Ford to three more leaders’ debates before June (in the past there has been just one televised debate in Ontario elections). Ford replied on Twitter: “I accept Kathleen Wynne’s challenge to three televised debates. Let’s do the first one outside the jail where the senior Liberal operative will be spending [four] months.” (That sounds like a… yes?) The premier dropped the gauntlet in a blistering letter full of digs at Ford, including criticism for not commenting on the Michael Harris affair.
- Ford, while wrapping up his northern Ontario tour last night, did comment at last about the Waterloo-area MPP who sexted an intern, telling a CBC reporter: “We acted professionally, we acted quick — in my opinion at lightning speed — and we’re moving forward as a party.” But watch for reporters and the opposition to keep asking, because the question hanging over Ford and the PC leadership isn’t how quickly they turfed Harris from caucus and as a candidate once they knew of his sexting. The lingering issue is why they initially withheld the real reason he wasn’t running again.
- Three debates, you say? Horwath, for the record, is in.
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