LILLEY: Monday’s throne speech a preview for the coming election

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In some ways, the throne speech being delivered at Queen’s Park on Monday will be a prelude to the 2022 election campaign.


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Just after 9 a.m., Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell will begin reading the speech laying out the Ford government’s agenda for the last legislative session before the June 2 election.

By all accounts, we should expect little in the way of surprises.

In an op-ed that appeared exclusively in the Toronto Sun on Sunday, Premier Doug Ford laid out his government’s vision in broad strokes. It included a continued focus on the pandemic, ensuring Ontario exits the fourth wave, reinvesting in health care and long-term care facilities to fix the cracks exposed even further by COVID-19.

We should expect a bit more detail on the 3,100 hospital beds the Ford government has promised to add to the system and the pledge to redevelop hospitals across the province. The government will highlight its pledge to add 30,000 new long-term beds and to add 27,000 new workers to the system as they move towards providing four hours of care per resident.


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The speech will make promises, but what voters will want to see by the time the election comes around are results. Ford’s PC government was elected on promises to fix the very things they are now promising to invest in.

As the premier alludes to in his op-ed, the government had made some progress before the pandemic hit the system hard.

Voters can understand that COVID strained the system and made wholesale changes impossible during the crisis. By June, though, they will want to see a plan, some movement, and not just another round of promises.

It wasn’t just Ford who laid out his vision for the coming sessions. All of the party leaders — Andrea Horwath, Steven Del Duca and Mike Schreiner — expressed their visions for the coming session.


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What is fascinating is that they all want to see action on many of the same priorities.

Horwath said the NDP wants a focus on schools, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Her focus is mainly on hiring more workers in their fields and giving existing ones raises rather than expanding the system.

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Del Duca and the Ontario Liberals are focused on a $10-a-day child care system that the Trudeau Liberals are trying to negotiate with the province as well as changes to long-term care.

Green Leader Mike Schreiner also wants changes for long-term care focused on better wages and working conditions for workers.

They agree there are problems; they don’t see eye to eye on how to fix them. Given that Ford’s PCs hold a majority, they don’t need the support of the other parties no matter how often the party leaders speak of being cooperative.


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Monday will be the unofficial launch of Ontario’s 43rd general election and the entire session between then and when the writ drops in the spring will be a warm-up for that campaign.

The only real wildcard to look for Monday might be from Randy Hillier. The erratic independent MPP who was kicked out of the PC caucus more than two years ago, was making threats online towards fellow MPPs and the legislature.

Hillier was telling supporters on social media to make ready and that they should, “bring a pot of boiling hot tar and a case of feathers.” That tweet was deleted by Twitter for encouraging violence and violating their terms of service.

  1. Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

    FORD: Economic growth will fuel Ontario’s path to recovery, not tax hikes or spending cuts

  2. Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during a recent news conference.

    Will Ford put spotlight on new policies in Monday’s throne speech?

  3. Morning City Council session in Council Chambers at City Hall in Toronto, Ont., on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.

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Hundreds of Hillier supporters expressed support for that tweet and others while also saying it was simply a metaphor.

In other posts, he asked people to defend their future, to bear arms, and said that “words are not enough.”

While Monday should be a staid and uneventful affair, Hillier and his supporters, if they show up, could very much change that.


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