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Ford continues to choose political revenge over Ontario families

November 13, 2018

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof says paying as much as $500,000 for another one of Doug Ford’s revenge plots is not acceptable, and Ontarians deserve answers about what Ford and his office did.

Doug Ford’s office allegedly directed OPG — a Crown corporation — to fire new OPG vice-president and former chief of staff to Patrick Brown, Alykhan Velshi, just as Velshi started the job.

“Despite media reports confirming that the premier’s office interfered to have Velshi fired, Doug Ford repeatedly dodged questions on Tuesday, refusing to come clean,” said Vanthof. “The premier has no business meddling in the staffing at a Crown corporation. The political infighting in the Conservative party is rearing its head again, and people deserve to know how much Doug Ford’s latest grudge match will cost them.

“No one in Ontario voted to finance Doug Ford’s personal revenge plots and vendettas.”




Oral Questions Executive compensation

Mr. John Vanthof: My question is to the Premier. There is a memorandum of agreement between the Ontario government and Ontario Power Generation. Basically, the government appoints the directors, and then the directors, who are appointed by the government, run the company. They do the hiring, the firing and the managing. Does the Premier agree with that memorandum of agreement? Hon. Doug Ford: Through you, Mr. Speaker: Ontario Power Generation is responsible for their own hiring. But let me tell you what we did with the energy act. We cancelled the Green Energy Act. We saved 7,500 jobs at Pickering that the Leader of the Opposition wanted to cancel. We saved $790 million in contracts. We got rid of Hydro One’s board and the CEO—they’re gone, they’re done. Home heating costs are actually going down. Energy costs are going down. That’s what we did for the energy file. That’s what we’re going to continue to do. Interjections. The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Stop the clock. Order. Start the clock. Supplementary. Mr. John Vanthof: Once again to the Premier: I think I heard that he said that the board is responsible for the hiring; I didn’t hear firing. I was surprised that, according to media reports, Alykhan Velshi was fired from his executive position at OPG after a single day on the job, thanks to a call from the Premier’s office. Yesterday, when Ontario Power Generation was asked for comment, they refused to give any details about Mr. Velshi’s severance package, but some are already suggesting that it could be as high as $500,000—half a million dollars. Can the Premier tell us how much of the public’s money Mr. Velshi will be taking home for his 24 hours on the job?

Hon. Doug Ford: Again through you, Mr. Speaker: The OPG is responsible for doing their own hiring. I’m going to repeat: The opposition wanted to fire 7,500 people out of Pickering. They wanted to get rid of 7,500 people who were relying on good-paying jobs to pay their mortgage, to put food on their table. You didn’t worry about the 7,500 people in Pickering; we cared about the 7,500 people in Pickering. That’s why they’re still employed there.

The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): Final supplementary. Mr. John Vanthof: To the Premier: Once again, it looks like the people of this province are going to be stuck with the bill for one of Premier Ford’s decisions and paying the price for settling his political scores. If a Tory insider is getting paid half a million dollars for one day’s work, people have a right to some answers. The question that needs to be answered is, did the Premier direct or request that Mr. Velshi be fired? If he did, how much will his severance cost the people of Ontario? Hon. Doug Ford: Minister of Energy. Hon. Greg Rickford: Ontario Power Generation is responsible for their own staffing decisions. OPG is a crown corporation that is responsible for their own staffing decisions. All staffing decisions at OPG are made by OPG. Thank you.

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