Here’s our daily look at what’s making news in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
Update: 10:45 a.m.
- New PC leader Doug Ford sits down with Steve Paikin for a feature interview on The Agenda tonight. Watch it on TVO at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. You can also view it via The Agenda's Twitter account and The Agenda's Facebook page at 8:00 p.m.
- In the wake of the Progressive Conservatives' decision to bar Patrick Brown from running as their candidate in the riding of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, former Tory MPP Garfield Dunlop has announced he will seek the party's nomination. Dunlop served in the legislature for the riding of Simcoe North between 1999 and 2015, when he stepped down to open up a seat for... then-new leader Patrick Brown. And who is the PC candidate for the upcoming election in Dunlop's old riding of Simcoe North? His daughter, Jill.
- Premier Kathleen Wynne's argument that Doug Ford's idea of leaving cannabis sales to the private sector would be "reckless" is threatening to become an inter-provincial incident. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, himself a Progressive Conservative, hit back at Wynne on Twitter this morning: "Kathleen Wynne's comments yesterday on private sector retail of cannabis being reckless takes a shot at Manitoba’s system," he wrote. "You know who else doesn’t like our plan? Organized crime. Higher prices of Ontario’s government monopoly will keep black market business booming."
- Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a surprise throne speech, to be delivered by Lt.-Gov Elizabeth Dowdeswell at noon on Monday. Throne speeches are usually meant to set out a government’s legislative agenda at the start of its mandate or midway through it; to hold one a few months before an election is unusual. “The throne speech will set out our government’s plan for care and opportunity,” Wynne said in a statement. “It will outline how we will do more for people, how we won’t pull back at a time when people most need that support. There will then be time dedicated in the house for a very important debate on the issues our province is facing. I look forward to that discussion.” Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford and NDP leader Andrea Horwath both criticized the move as the ploy of a government desperate to cling on to power.
- Former PC leader Patrick Brown will not be allowed to run as a Tory candidate in the upcoming election. The decision by the party’s provincial nominations committee to bar Brown was made unanimously, party president Jag Badwal said in a statement. Shortly after that statement was released, Brown tweeted, “After much thought, I will not be running in the upcoming provincial election. I remain committed to the Conservative movement and to the well-being of my local community.”
- And after accusations that a number of nomination races were tainted under Brown’s leadership, the PCs have moved to reopen nominations in three ridings: Brampton North, Mississauga Centre, and Newmarket–Aurora. It has also decided to “set aside” the nomination in Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas, though it’s unclear what the distinction is between reopening a nomination and setting one aside. Hamilton West–Ancaster–Dundas was the centre of a ballot-box-stuffing controversy that is under police investigation. In a press release, Doug Ford said he fully supported the decision to overturn the nominations.
- The Ontario government is investing $105 million in the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to provide better services for children with special needs. The money will go toward building a 200,000-square-foot facility to provide various services that are now housed in rented spaces across Ottawa. In making the announcement, Kathleen Wynne said the new facility would reduce wait times, allow for more customized treatments, and reduce stress and logistical challenges for families.
What to watch for
- NDP leader Andrea Horwath says she will be making a “major campaign announcement” on Saturday in downtown Toronto.
- If you have questions about voting, registering to vote, or the electoral process in the upcoming election, Greg Essensa, the province’s chief electoral officer, will be holding a Q&A on Twitter on Tuesday between 3 p.m. and 3:40 p.m. Submit your questions using the hashtag #askCEOGreg.
- The carbon tax was a pillar of Patrick Brown's PC platform, but newly elected leader Doug Ford has vowed to scrap it. How do conservatives feel about climate change action, and will they ever embrace carbon pricing again? In this week's The Agenda on Politics podcast, John Michael McGrath talks to Mark Cameron, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity, and former policy director for prime minister Stephen Harper, about conservatives' complex relationship with climate change:
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