The Ford Government tells us the title “KC” is awarded to lawyers who have demonstrated a commitment to the pursuit of legal excellence in service to the Crown, the public and their communities.
The rule of law means that governments… should follow the law… it is a principle that this Attorney General is sworn to uphold. That’s why it’s so concerning that this government is ripping up contracts and ignoring the rule of law—all for beer. In fact, the Canadian American Bar Association wrote the Attorney General an urgent letter and said that this government will “undermine the rule of law.” The Attorney General’s job is to uphold the rule of law. Has she spoken to the Premier about these serious concerns?
Refuses to answer
Mulroney refused to answer, passing the question to Vic Fedeli, then Minister of Finance, who accused the Liberals of giving the three global multinationals that own the Beer Store a sweetheart deal.
“International companies understand our parliamentary system. They know that a new government isn’t bound by bad legislation.”
Even if that means ripping up contracts without offering compensation.
We still don’t know if Caroline Mulroney KC believes this kind of behaviour undermines the rule of law.
She won’t tell us.
Update on 6 July 2023: From the Toronto Star: Doug Ford's Patronage Controversy builds on a Pattern of Poor Decision Making.
Update on 7 July 2023: From TVO: Thanks to Doug Ford we've got ourselves a good old fashioned patronage scandal
Hansard 6 June 2019
Ms. Sandy Shaw: My question is to the Attorney General. The rule of law means that governments, even—I must remind the members across—this one, should follow the law, just like every Ontarian is required to do on a daily basis. It’s a basic principle of justice and how we function as a civil society. Speaker, it’s a principle that this Attorney General is sworn to uphold. That’s why it’s so concerning that this government is ripping up contracts and ignoring the rule of law—all for beer. In fact, the Canadian American Bar Association wrote the Attorney General an urgent letter and said that this government will “undermine the rule of law.”
The Attorney General’s job is to uphold the rule of law. Has she spoken to the Premier about these serious concerns?
Hon. Caroline Mulroney: To the Minister of Finance.
Hon. Victor Fedeli: Speaker, we continue—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): I’d ask the Minister of Finance to sit down. I apologize.
The rules of the House allow any minister to refer any question to another minister. What they’re doing is completely within the standing orders.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Order.
The Minister of Finance to reply.
Hon. Victor Fedeli: Speaker, I’ll begin like I begin this answer all the time. Most people in the province of Ontario are not aware that the government does not own the Beer Store. It is not like the LCBO, which we do own, and that great brand.
The Beer Store is owned by three global multinationals. They were given a sweetheart deal by the Liberal government. The Liberal government put profits ahead of people, a deal that’s terrible for the consumers, a deal that’s killing competition, a deal that’s keeping prices high and a deal that’s stifling the craft brewers.
International companies understand our parliamentary system. They know that a new government isn’t bound by bad legislation—
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Thank you. The supplementary question?
Ms. Sandy Shaw: Back to the Attorney General: Clearly the Attorney General will not take responsibility for the severity of what she’s doing—again, all for beer.
Our international reputation as a place to do business is going down in flames. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce say that this legislation hurts Ontario’s investment climate. The Canadian American Bar Association says that this is an attempt to override the law of contracts. They don’t mince words at all, Mr. Speaker. They warn that this legislation will create uncertainty and risk upsetting a functioning legal system, and say that there isn’t a precedent for ridiculous legislation like this in Canadian legal history. This plan is so reckless, it’s now an international embarrassment.
Why is the Attorney General willing to put Ontario down in the history books as ignoring the rule of law?
Hon. Victor Fedeli: For the member, international companies completely understand that in our parliamentary system, a government isn’t bound by legislation from a previous government. If that were the case, this afternoon we could pass a brand new piece of legislation that would disallow tax increases in Ontario for the rest of time. But we know that our governments don’t work that way. Things simply don’t work like that.
On the international front, we heard from Fitch bond rating agency just last week, after they heard about our new legislation, and they gave our province an upgrade—their first upgrade in eight years. That tells us that our plan is working, that our legislation is respected. We will take no lessons on legislative procedure from that government.