Siding due to controversy with teachers in 2020 of RCMP government investigating Ontario group ads

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A demonstration organized by teacher unions takes place outside the Ontario Legislature in Toronto in February 2020.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

The Ontario NDP said Tuesday that the RCMP is investigating whether the newspaper supported the Ontario government in its labor dispute with teachers last year and was chosen by a Toronto-area leading developer-led group .

The advertisement, which ran in Toronto’s major newspapers in early February 2020 – preceded COVID-19 in an epidemic set by the government’s rhetoric and alleged that teacher unions used students as “pawns”. The advertisements were attributed to the Von Working Families, a previously known small group, and the government stated that it had no role in the advertisements.

The Vaughn Working Families name was registered in 2018 by a corporation called Vaughn’s Health Campus of Care, which was active a decade ago to raise funds and lobbying for a new hospital in Vaughan, Ont., North of Toronto. According to corporate records, the president of the corporation was prominent Toronto-area developer Michael Degasparis, a donor to the governing PC party.

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The lawyer who entered the name, who is also listed as director of the Vaughan Health Campus of Care, is a major donor of the PC party, Quinto Annibel, named by the Ford government as vice president of Ontario’s Liquor Control Board is.

Education Minister Stephen Lacey, who was locked in a growing labor dispute with teachers’ unions when the advertisement appeared, represents King-Vaughan’s ride in the Legislature

NDP MPP Peter Taboons revealed the RCMP’s investigation into the Ontario Legislature in question, demanding that Premier Doug Ford’s progressive conservative government allow a legislative committee to interrogate Mr. Annibel, a move that was previously blocked Was a “shady group” in which Mr. Tabuns called his involvement.

Government House Leader Paul Calandra did not answer that question, but said he was confident in the elections.

Last year, the NDP asked Election Ontario to see if the ads, which would typically sell for tens of thousands of dollars, violated election rules. In June, the agency concluded that the advertisements were “an explicit contraceptive” of sections of the Ontario Elections Act that require third-party political advertisers to register.

While Ontario’s next provincial election is not due until next June, at which time the ads surfaced, two Ottawa-area provincial by-elections were underway.

The agency referred the allegations to the Ontario Attorney General’s ministry. The ministry then referred the allegation to the RCMP. According to an e-mail on April 30 and produced by the NDP on Tuesday, the Mounties are now investigating. Possible penalties are a fine of up to $ 5,000.

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According to Election Ontario, Vaughan Health Campus of Care was registered as a third-party political advertiser in 2018 and in 2014. Election Ontario states that third-party advertisers must register if they spend $ 500 during an election period. According to election records, the group spent just $ 5,922 from May 2018 to September 2018, and $ 83,768.27 from May to September 2014.

The Ford government recently changed election rules to increase the maximum amount for individual political donations, imposing strict restrictions on third-party political advertisers.

Opposition in Queen’s Park has repeatedly criticized Mr and his government for helping key developers, including the minister’s use of the Zoning Order (MZO), allowing it to override normal planning procedures and fast-track approvals. gives.

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