Home Canadian News NDP accuses Ford government of telling ‘lie by omission’

NDP accuses Ford government of telling ‘lie by omission’


Ontario’s official Opposition is accusing the Doug Ford government of misleading the public about the circumstances of a senior minister’s departure from cabinet.
Late on Friday, the premier’s office announced then-trade minister Jim Wilson’s resignation from cabinet and caucus, citing his need to get treatment for an addiction.
However, on Monday, Global News and the Toronto Sun reported that Wilson resigned due to an allegation of sexual harassment. iPolitics has not independently verified the allegation.
Later on Monday, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod told reporters a third-party investigation had been launched.
The premier’s office has neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, nor has it confirmed an investigation was launched.
“This is a lie by omission,” NDP deputy leader Sara Singh told reporters Tuesday. “There is information that is being withheld and not shared with the public, and so I think there is absolutely some misleading that is happening.”
Singh said her party is calling on Ford to explain what has been going on in his government “behind closed doors.”
The premier’s director of issues management, Andrew Kimber, also resigned last week. Global News and the Toronto Sun report that he left due to a sexual-harassment complaint. iPolitics has not independently verified this allegation.
On Wednesday, Ford will hold his first media availability since the news of Wilson’s departure broke Friday. The premier will speak with reporters during an event at the National Air Force Museum near Trenton, Ont.
So far, Ford has not issued a single statement about the resignation of either Kimber or Wilson.
Opinion on how Ford’s team has handled the loss of two key members of his inner circle is mixed.
When asked about it by iPolitics, Tim Powers, Conservative strategist and vice-chairman of Summa Strategies, defended the government’s actions.
In circumstances when misconduct is alleged, Powers said the key is to act fast, and to handle with sensitivity the person or people lodging the complaint.
“You have to act quickly, and you have to act as fairly as possible while erring on the side of making sure that those who have complained or raised issues are feeling like their complaints and concerns are being properly addressed,” he said.
He added that the quick launch of a third-party investigation bolsters the government’s position, but said there’s never a perfect response to cases like Wilson’s resignation.
“I think they’re doing as well as they can,” Powers said. “There didn’t appear to be any hesitation in acting.”
But the fact that Wilson’s addiction was the only piece of information disclosed when reports suggest his resignation was much more controversial doesn’t fly with Scott Reid, a Liberal strategist and principal at Feschuk.Reid.
“There are two cardinal rules of crisis management: Tell it first and tell it all,” Reid said. “If you screwed up the latter, you for darn sure screwed up the former.”
Reid said governments can establish clear limits for what is and isn’t made public, but it’s incumbent on them to then explain why some information isn’t being released.
He also said politicians who are elected and staff who are appointed should be treated differently, because the former are accountable to the public while the latter are not.
“I wouldn’t give them a desperately failing grade, because they did move quickly and there was a degree of candour.
“But all of that was besmirched because they played fast and loose with the facts around the minister’s departure,” Reid said.
“When it came to Wilson, they failed, to be frank.”