In a recent statement, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has denied any knowledge or approval of a list of lawyers receiving the honorary title of King’s Counsel. The government’s announcement, made by Attorney General Doug Downey, drew attention due to its timing and the individuals included in the list. This article aims to provide an overview of the situation and shed light on the controversy surrounding the designations.
Revival of the King’s Counsel Designation
The government’s announcement regarding the revival of the King’s Counsel designation was made quietly on the Friday afternoon preceding the Canada Day long weekend. Attorney General Doug Downey stated that the title is awarded to lawyers who have showcased dedication to legal excellence in their service to the Crown, the public, and their communities.
Controversial Inclusion in the List
According to an initial report by the Toronto Star, the list includes various individuals, raising questions about potential favoritism and patronage. Noteworthy inclusions comprise members of Premier Ford’s cabinet who are lawyers, prominent Conservatives, Gavin Tighe, the Ford family lawyer, Tory staffers, and even Attorney General Doug Downey himself.
Premier Ford’s Response
During a press conference at the premiers’ meeting held in Winnipeg, Premier Doug Ford addressed the controversy surrounding the King’s Counsel designations. He affirmed that he neither saw nor approved any list and expressed confidence in Attorney General Doug Downey’s judgment.
Focusing on Priority Issues
Premier Ford emphasized that he prioritizes handling pressing matters over the addition of the initials “K.C.” to lawyers’ names. He conveyed that numerous important issues demand his attention, highlighting the need to focus on key responsibilities rather than engaging in debates about honorary titles.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has distanced himself from the controversy surrounding the King’s Counsel designation. While denying involvement in the list’s creation or approval, he expressed trust in Attorney General Doug Downey. As the situation unfolds, the government’s decision to revive the honorary title continues to draw attention and raises concerns about potential patronage within the legal community. Premier Ford remains committed to addressing essential matters that impact the province and its residents.