Ontario's finance minister is suing his former colleague and the recently elected mayor of Brampton, the Toronto Star reports. Vic Fedeli is claiming $8 million from former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown for what he alleges were “numerous false and defamatory statements” made about him in Brown's book Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown and in interviews about the book. The document from Fedeli alleges that the false claims include a "workplace sexual harassment" allegation and being called a "suck up," among other statements. The Star reports the statement of claim as saying, "Fedeli has been exposed to hatred, ridicule and contempt, including on social media such as Twitter, and has suffered, and will continue to suffer, damage to his feelings and reputation." Along with Brown, the claim also mentions Optimum Publishing International and its president Dean Baxendale.
Meanwhile, a highly anticipated report on ending "hallway medicine" released this morning diagnoses one of major problems with health-care in Ontario as systemic "barriers that don't make sense" and criticizes a decentralized, siloed, duplicative bureaucracy, but it leaves the solutions to second report due back this spring. You can read our story on it here. The work of Reuben Devlin, chair of the Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine, and his council is expected to form the basis of the health-system transformation the Doug Ford government will undertake.
Former Mississauga mayor, Hazel McCallion, has officially taken a pass on the premier's job offer to become a special adviser on housing for the PC government, saying that she's just too busy, the Toronto Star reports. McCallion could have earned up to $150,000 for the gig. On Wednesday afternoon she released a statement saying that she was still just a "phone call away" for the premier and his government. Premier Doug Ford responded to her statement saying, “it is a sign of her true character that she didn’t feel comfortable accepting this appointment given the time and energy it would have required.” The former mayor turns 98 on Feb. 14.
In case you missed our Wednesday stories:
- Anticipated hallway medicine report diagnoses health care's problems, leaves solutions to spring report
- 'Well, if you guys want to beat me up a little bit more': A rundown of the premier's first media availability of 2019
- Disability advocates ask the government to 'rein in' principals' power on student exclusions
- NDP raises alarm after RCMP declines to investigate camper-gate
- Some new mental health funds to flow soon as new government perfects its plan, minister says
- NDP to introduce legislation to protect local governments from 'future meddling'
In other news:
Former Ontario Court of Appeal judge Gloria Epstein is requesting the Toronto police board to allow her to include the Bruce McArthur case in an independent review of Toronto police missing persons cases.
The executive producer of a new podcast called Crackdown, which aims to share the stories of drug-user activists who have advocated for supervised injection sites, hopes that policymakers such as Ford will take notice of their efforts in light of the provincial cap on such sites, the Vancouver Sun reports.
The London Free Press and The Canadian Press get reaction to the Ford government's refusal to commit to keeping in place full-day kindergarten beyond the next school year, with NDP MPP Peggy Sattler saying both she and parents "are furious."
The lead of Hamilton's light rail transit project updated city councillors Wednesday and said that Metrolinx's construction work on the city's light rail would likely be pushed back to 2020, but that the launch date could still be in 2024, CBC reports.
Ford agreed to the transfer of starving wolves from Michipicoten Island in northern Ontario to Isle Royale National Park in the United States, where it is expected the wolves will "keep the moose population in check," the Canadian Press reports.
The family of Soleiman Faqiri, who had schizophrenia and died while in the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ont., is suing the provincial government and jail guards, alleging that he was "beaten to death" by the guards, the Canadian Press reports.
The province's health ministry is reviewing applications for its new Consumption and Treatment Services sites, CBC reports.
In the opinion pages:
- Bill Kelly argues that the Ford government's appointment of Ron Taverner as the next Ontario Provincial Police Commissioners is "self-serving and unethical."
- Randall Denley says that teachers' unions are unlikely to let the province cut class sizes or bring "merit back to teacher hiring in Ontario."
- Martin Regg Cohn makes a case for relocating the Ontario Science Centre to the Ontario Place site.
- Chantal Hébert writes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more challenges ahead with the provinces.
- Andrew Chung defends radiologists, saying they're not the "bogeymen" people make them out to be and that interpreting images has become more complex.
8:45 a.m. (media availability); 9:00 a.m. (consultation)
Doug Downey, parliamentary assistant to the finance minister will join Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith to host a pre-budget consultation. Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 99, 132 Pinnacle St., Belleville.
9:00 a.m. (background briefing)
Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman will release a report titled Income in Ontario: Growth, Distribution and Mobility. Room 228, Queen's Park.
Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter will respond to the FAO's report. Media Studio, Queen's Park.
2:45 p.m. (media availability); 3:00 p.m.
Downey will join PC MPP Daryl Kramp to host a pre-budget consultation. Legion Hall Branch 181, 16 Station St., Bancroft.