Blair Case Raised in House – Attorney General Pleads the Fifth
Brad Blair’s challenge of the Ford government’s new legislation was put to Attorney General Downey today by NDP member John Vanthof. Blair is challenging provisions of the newly enacted Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, 2019 which strip private individuals of their access to courts, robbing them of the right to seek legal recourse for injuries caused by government officials.
The Attorney General declined to comment on the litigation at this time. Read the transcript of their exchange below.
Transcript, Ontario House of Common:
Mr. John Vanthof: Today’s Globe and Mail reports Brad Blair, the decorated police veteran who was fired as acting OPP commissioner when he blew the whistle on the Premier’s attempts to hire his friend, has launched a constitutional challenge against the government—specifically against Bill 100, the government’s blatant attempt to place itself above the law and to make the Premier immune from lawsuits. Does the Ford government truly believe that their legislation is justifiable and constitutional?
Hon. Christine Elliott: To the Attorney General.
Hon. Doug Downey: It’s interesting, because I know all members of the House understand the rules and how things work. To ask me about a question that is in the courts is very difficult for me to respond. I look forward to the member’s second question, which, perhaps, I can actually deal with.
The Speaker (Hon. Ted Arnott): The supplementary question.
Mr. John Vanthof: That actually was the point of the question. But if the Ford government genuinely thought this legislation was defensible, they wouldn’t have buried it in an omnibus bill and rammed it through with only two days of hearings.
The former commissioner wasn’t afraid to blow the whistle when the Premier tried to appoint his friend as OPP commissioner or when the Premier asked him to buy a van and keep it off the books, and he’s not afraid to take on the Ford government now. Brad Blair shouldn’t have to take this government to court in order to do the right thing. So, a question that the Attorney General can answer is how much money is the government willing to waste to drag this through the courts?
Hon. Doug Downey: I miss the member from Essex on these kinds of questions.
Again, it’s matter of litigation. I can’t address matters of litigation when they’re in proceeding. So I would love to have a dialogue, perhaps when litigation is completed, about whatever the process was or whatever the perceived difficulty it is the member has, but for the moment, as a matter of litigation, I can’t respond.
Read more about Brad Blair’s claim here: