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Doug Ford’s government gets back to work

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Re-elected Prime Minister Doug Ford and his new – likely larger – cabinet will be sworn in on Friday.

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Calls were made on Thursday night to MPs who made the cut and the core of Ford’s former cabinet was expected to largely remain in place.

The province’s 124 elected MLAs took the oath of allegiance on Thursday in a separate ceremony.

Official Opposition NDP MP Joel Harden held up a sign that read, “Work hard, be kind and do good.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner on Thursday repeated his call for the government to immediately double Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates.

“Inflation is skyrocketing and life is simply unaffordable for the most vulnerable,” Schreiner said in a statement. “Persons with disabilities deserve to be lifted out of legally imposed poverty. The Prime Minister must listen to those in need and immediately double ODSP rates and tie all future increases to inflation.

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Schreiner also called on Ford and his new environment minister to act urgently to prepare the province for climate change.

“We need to protect the farmlands that feed us, the wetlands that purify our drinking water and protect us from flooding, and the nature that helps mitigate the severity of climate-fueled extreme weather events,” he said. “The government simply cannot continue down the path of dismantling environmental protections and increasing climate pollution by building new highways and reinforcing gasworks.

“We need to address the housing affordability crisis without paving our future and threatening our agricultural economy and food security,” Schreiner said.

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The Ontario Autism Coalition has scheduled a press conference to send a message to the new Minister responsible for Children, Community and Social Services.

“After four years and three ministers, Doug Ford is still not successful when it comes to services for children and youth with autism,” a statement read. “While this government continues to dither, 54,000 children are stuck waiting for help.”