The Ford government is trying to make itself less accountable

Posted on April 16, 2019 in Governance Debates

Source: — Authors: – Opinion/Editorials
April 16, 2019.   By

When it comes to accountability, the Ford government seems to be saying: Do as I say, not as I do.

In last week’s budget, for example, it held universities and colleges to a higher level of accountability by threatening to withhold 60 per cent of their funding if they don’t meet certain performance metrics.

At the same time, this is the government that made itself less accountable to the public by firing the independent watchdogs for children, francophones and the environment.

Now it appears to be cutting off another avenue of accountability by introducing legislation that critics say would make it harder to take legal action against the government by increasing the threshold necessary to proceed with litigation.

According to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, the legislation merely updates “outdated procedures and codifies the common law to clarify and simplify the process for lawsuits brought by or against the government.”

But that’s not how critics see it.

“One way to look at it is that the government is saying, ‘With great power should come no responsibility’,” says Toronto human rights lawyer Kevin Wiener.

Or as Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner puts it: “He’s using a backdoor tactic to ensure his politically motivated legislation will be immune from legal challenges.”

Still, there’s one legal challenge the government can’t avoid. That’s the one coming from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association if the legislation is passed.

After all, when it comes to accountability the government should be setting the bar, not ducking under it.

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