Here’s our daily look at what’s making news in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
- The Ontario Cannabis Store announced this week where its first four locations will be; the addresses are in Thunder Bay, Guelph, Toronto, and Kingston. Those last two have already become controversial. In Toronto, members of the local community say one pot store is too close to a school, at less than a kilometre away. Premier Kathleen Wynne agrees, and she’s now demanding an explanation. Meanwhile, the future Kingston shop has been criticized for its proposed location: a suburban mall with poor accessibility for non-drivers. (There are, however, those in favour of this placement, as the CBC reports: “Jimmy Patel, who has owned a Mucho Burrito at the mall for the past six months, said he’s hoping for a spike in business.”) Twenty-nine Ontario municipalities have been identified as places where the OCS will set up shop when recreational marijuana is legalized later this year. As more store sites are announced, they could become an election issue at the local level.
- Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford has railed against the high salaries of Hydro One board members — especially CEO Mayo Schmidt, who took home more than $6 million last year. On Thursday, Ford pledged to show them the door: “You can take this to the bank. The CEO is gone and the board is gone.” Pundits and reporters spent part of the day wondering whether such a move was even possible, given that the province currently owns a 40 per cent minority stake in the utility. Now, the Toronto Star reports that Ford could fulfil his pledge as premier, though there’s a major catch. The government did retain the ability to fire Hydro One’s board post-privatization, but such a move would make Schmidt even richer: if he’s fired without cause, he could take a $10.7 million severance payout to the bank.
What to watch for
The first televised leaders’ debate of the 2018 election season is set for May 27 at 6:30 p.m. Wynne wants the consortium of broadcasters that organize the debates (of which TVO is a member) to change their rules so that Green Party leader Mike Schreiner can attend. (At present, only parties with seats in the legislature get a podium.) The Toronto Star quoted Wynne: “I’m happy at any time to have Mike Schreiner as part of the debates.”
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