National Newswatch

Premier Doug Ford enlists former head of the Canadian Armed Forces to oversee COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the province

Nov 23 2020 — Robert Benzie — The former head of the Canadian military will lead Ontario’s charge to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, the Star has learned. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier has been enlisted to chair the province’s new task force on the vaccine. Hillier, who was chief of the defence staff of the Canadian Armed Forces from 2005 to 2008, was […]

Pressure mounts on Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives to distance themselves from Charles McVety

Nov 19 2020 — Robert Benzie — Pressure is mounting on Progressive Conservatives to distance themselves from Premier Doug Ford’s controversial evangelist friend Charles McVety. McVety — who has been accused of intolerance toward gays, lesbians, transgender people and Muslims — is currently trying to get the provincial government to upgrade his Canada Christian College to a university. “Each day brings more […]

Poll suggests Ontarians do not want an early provincial election

Oct 4 2020 — Robert Benzie — As MPPs debate a Liberal motion designed to thwart the possibility of Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives calling a snap election, a new poll suggests most Ontarians do not want a campaign before the scheduled 2022 vote. The Campaign Research survey for the Toronto Star comes on the eve of Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter’s motion […]

Doug Ford’s government abandons unconstitutional gas-pump stickers that railed against federal carbon pricing

Oct 1 2020 — Robert Benzie — Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are sticking it to their own controversial gas-pump decals that a court ruled were unconstitutional. Ford’s cabinet decided late Wednesday against appealing a Sept. 4 Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision that found the mandatory stickers violated business owners’ freedom of expression. Energy Minister Greg Rickford’s office confirmed the government […]

Doug Ford praises appointment of ‘amazing’ Chrystia Freeland as federal finance minister

Aug 18 2020 — Robert Benzie — The Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario is hailing the new federal Liberal finance minister. “I absolutely love Chrystia Freeland. She’s amazing. I’ll have her back, I’ll help her any way we can,” an elated Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday. As first revealed by the Star’s Susan Delacourt in April, the COVID-19 pandemic has forged a […]

Ontario Liberals gearing up for 2022 election

Jun 29 2020 — Robert Benzie — The Ontario Liberals are gearing up for an election two years away as the Progressive Conservatives celebrate two years in power. Premier Doug Ford marks his second anniversary of taking office Monday — ending almost 15 years of Liberal rule under Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty — at the same as the Grits are getting […]

Queen’s Park and Ottawa giving small businesses $57.6M to boost their online sales

Jun 11 2020 — Robert Benzie — Queen’s Park and Ottawa are teaming up with a new $57.6-million “Digital Main Street” program to help thousands of Ontario small businesses boost their online sales, the Star has learned. Ontario’s Associate Minister of Small Business Prabmeet Sarkaria and federal Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly will announce the new initiative on a Zoom teleconference Thursday. […]

Premier Doug Ford lowers booze prices and extends takeout beer, wine, and liquor measures to help ailing restaurants during the pandemic

May 6 2020 — Robert Benzie — Premier Doug Ford’s government is further liberalizing Ontario’s liquor laws as a prescription for helping an ailing restaurant sector stricken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has lowered the minimum price that restaurants and bars are allowed to sell gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey.