Caroline Mulroney's dream is dead. Bob Hepburn writes:
The dream harboured by the Ontario attorney general when she first entered elected politics in the summer of 2017 was that one day she would become premier of Ontario and eventually move on to become Canada’s first elected woman prime minister.
But, after being elected, it fell to Mulroney to defend Doug Ford's decisions -- the latest being on French minority rights:
The latest blow to the dream came two weeks ago when Premier Doug Ford’s government announced it was eliminating the position of French Language Services Commissioner and scrapping the plan approved by the previous Liberal government to create a French-language university in 2020.
As the minister responsible for francophone affairs, Mulroney was tasked with selling the cuts to outraged Franco-Ontarians as well as francophones in Quebec and other provinces.
She did so with great gusto, despite widespread condemnation about the cutbacks from across the country, including from federal Conservatives who fear a backlash in Quebec and in Ontario ridings with a large French-speaking population.
Without shame or hesitation, Mulroney insisted the moves were necessary as part of efforts to reduce government spending. She also tried to blame both the former Wynne government and the federal Liberals for the cuts.
This wasn't the first time she stepped up to defend Doug Ford's stupidity:
The first came in late June when in addition to her post as attorney general she accepted the downgraded role as minister responsible for francophone affairs, which no longer was a full cabinet position. She should have insisted Ford retain the post as a full ministry, as it was under the Liberals.
The second came in July when Ford failed to include a single word of French in his initial throne speech, an insult to Franco-Ontarians. Either Mulroney didn’t raise the point in advance of the speech or Ford simply ignored her. Regardless, she appeared unconcerned or ineffective.
The third came in September when Ford said he would use the “notwithstanding” clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override a judge’s ruling that Ford’s move to cut the size of Toronto city council in the midst of an election was unconstitutional. Mulroney defended Ford’s action, despite almost universal condemnation, including from her father.
Rather than shaping government policy, it has fallen to Caroline to defend it. She's in a marriage that may well end in divorce. But that divorce would require displaying some integrity -- which, at the moment, is nowhere in sight.
Image: (CHRIS YOUNG / THE CANADIAN PRESS