QUEEN’S PARK –Today’s announcement that Doug Ford has downgraded the Ministry of Energy shows that he has decided to settle for the hydro system the way it is. The Ministry of Energy is now no longer its own portfolio – a decision that raises serious concerns for Ontario families and small businesses as the hot weather brings huge hydro bills and families brace for the coming 70 per cent increase to their bills due to the Wynne/Ford Hydro borrowing scheme.
“Doug Ford’s decision to make the Minister of Energy a part-time job is devastating for families who have been struggling for years to keep up with soaring hydro bills,” said NDP MPP-elect Sara Singh. “This decision shows that Mr. Ford is not planning to tackle the hydro mess that the Liberals left Ontarians in and leaves families who are already squeezed by sky-rocketing hydro bills to worry.
“The other government portfolios Ford is eliminating or collapsing give us all reason to worry about who will be hurt most by Ford’s across-the-board cuts.”
Ministries cut include Citizenship and Immigration and Research, Innovation and Science. Ministries collapsed into other portfolios or being overseen by a minister with other duties as well include, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Energy, Francophone Affairs, Community and Social Services, Status of Women, Housing, International Trade, and Northern Development and Mines.
The critical files of Children, Community and Social Services, Women’s Issues and Anti-Racism have all been downgraded into a single ministry.
Andrea Horwath and the NDP have committed to be a constructive official Opposition – but to fight hard on people’s behalf when Ford’s cuts impact health care, education, transit and services people rely on, and when Ford’s moves make life more expensive.
The NDP is also highly critical of the decision to eliminate the full-time minister overseeing the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
In Ontario, dozens of First Nations communities are under boil water advisories or orders, Indigenous communities often have poor access to basics like health care and First Nations schools are disadvantaged and underfunded. Indigenous youth suicide is an epidemic. Downgrading MIRR is a big step backwards – one that makes the future for First Nations and Métis children bleaker.