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Ford government shields themselves from public criticism while increasing Conservative party coffers

February 26, 2021

Toronto, ON – While Ontarians continue to struggle with the province’s failed response to COVID-19, the Ford government is making changes to Ontario’s election laws that will shield them from public criticism and increase the Conservative party coffers. 

The amendments to Ontario's Election Act and Election Finances Act were tabled by the government yesterday. “This is a self-serving move by the Conservative government to increase the influence of wealthy and well-connected donors, while silencing critics who speak out against this government’s cuts to public services and its disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) President Sam Hammond.

The Ford government continues to drag their heels on appropriately funding the province’s COVID-19 response. Adds Hammond, “They know there will be a lot of criticism coming out the pandemic, ahead of the next election. Just this week, Ontario’s commission on long-term care grilled them over their failures to protect residents and staff during the pandemic’s first wave. Their proposed changes to legislation essentially silence everyone who’s been working to push the province to take urgent and necessary action to keep Ontarians safe. Scientists, educators and parent groups deserve to be heard. Suppressing dissent and repressing alternative voices undermine democracy.”

The Progressive Conservatives of Ontario have a track record of maximizing donations from the wealthy and rewarding donors with party favours—not the confetti-kind. “Doubling campaign donation limits and changing the rules that govern political advertising to silence critics while schools in Thunder Bay are forced to return to virtual learning due to rising COVID-19 cases is unconscionable, but not surprising,” notes Hammond. “Time and again, we’ve seen this government prioritize politics over public health and the safety of students and educators. It’s time for the Ford government to stop rewarding themselves with cash grabs, and to focus instead on funding the supports Ontarians deserve during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at BuildingBetterSchools.ca

For more information, contact:
Carla Pereira, ETFO Media Relations, 416-576-9074, cpereira@etfo.org