‘It’s like the mob has taken over Queen’s Park’: OPSEU

Warren "Smokey" Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News.

A large union in Ontario is calling on the premier to turn off his “propaganda machine”.

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said it’s time for the taxpayer-funded Ontario News Now (ONN) to be unplugged by Doug Ford. His comments came a day after the latest scandal involving the online channel called Ontario News Now.

“Talk about blurred ethical boundaries,” said Thomas. “For a premier that’s been plagued by a string of lobbying and appointment scandals, you’d think he’d learn a lesson about power and patronage.”

Ford recently visited Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville and on Sunday posted a tweet promoting the winery after touring the operation. That caught the ire of many social media users, who are accusing the premier and the winery of cronyism and kickbacks after two political contributions by the winery’s president to the Ontario Conservatives so far this year totaling $2,050.

“Ford’s latest imbibe bribe proves he’s just squeaking by with a little help from and for his friends,” added Thomas.

Thomas said “Ford’s gravy train is full steam ahead” after ONN was caught pumping out a promotional video for Pelee Island Winery less than two weeks after winery president Walter Schmoranz made a second donation to the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

“It’s like the mob has taken over Queen’s Park and their main trade is in alcohol and cannabis,” said Thomas. “The premier says he can’t be bought, but the latest ONN scandal proves that airtime on his propaganda network definitely can be.”

The winery denies any allegations of cronyism and issued a statement Monday morning stating its officials met with the premier to discuss the future of the wine and grape industry.