Timmins MPP claims Doug Ford has 'unchecked power' during pandemic
TIMMINS -- Timmins MPP Gilles Bisson is questioning the lack of oversight power given to the provincial government's new 'Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.'
The NDP house leader said the committee can only table 30-minute meetings with premier Doug Ford or a designate to discuss emergency orders — after they have already been enacted.
Bisson claims this gives Ford unchecked power to "suspend the rights of citizens," which he is calling undemocratic.
"((The committee) can't say 'we refuse, we want to amend. We disagree.'' You can't do any of that and that's the problem," Bisson told CTV News. "If you live in a democracy, you've got to maintain and respect those democratic institutions. If the government is going to do this kind of thing, it is really going down a road that I don't think Ontarians would want if they understood what this government was doing."
The Ontario Legislative Assembly's website describes the new committee's mandate as being to "receive oral reports from the premier or his designate(s) on any extensions of emergency orders by the Lieutenant Governor in Council related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rationale for those extensions."
However, the committee's first meeting was on Monday and its mandate does not mention the ability to make decisions on emergency orders.
Bisson said he's asking for the government to return to the previous model of taking emergency orders to the legislature, so they can be scrutinized in the public eye.
The opposition house leader is calling for Ford to come to the next House meeting on Sept. 14 with a proper system for oversight.
"We all understand that the government needs these emergency orders to be able to function within this pandemic," Bisson said. "The difference was because it had to come to the House, they had to be measured in what they brought forward. Now they don't have to [...] which is wrong."