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Ontario Politics in Focus: Assessing Premier Doug Ford’s Mandate, Leadership Shifts, and Future Prospects

Thursday, March 28, 2024

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As we near the halfway point of Premier Doug Ford’s second mandate, it’s time for a stock take on his achievements and challenges – and what it means for the Spring sitting of the Ontario legislature.

With the election of Bonnie Crombie as the Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party in December, the main protagonists of the next Ontario election are now set. Ms. Crombie is a brand name in the vote rich GTA, and while she will not have a seat in the legislature, she will be a new force for Doug Ford to reckon with, while also setting up a “progressive primary” with Marit Stiles’ NDP.

  • How has Marit Stiles fared in her first year on the job as Leader of the Official Opposition?
  • Will the Ford government need to recalibrate policy to respond to the recent changes in political leadership?
  • Will Bonnie Crombie’s election finally dig the Ontario Liberals out of their multi-year funk?

Our political experts will debate these hot topics – and more.  Please join us on March 28th for a fantastic evening discussion on Ontario politics.

headshot of Adrienne Batra

Adrienne Batra

Editor in Chief, Toronto Sun

Adrienne Batra was born and raised in Saskatchewan. She has an undergraduate degree in political science and a Masters in Public Administration. Ms. Batra worked at the Saskatchewan Legislature as a researcher with the opposition caucus office. She then moved on to be the Manitoba Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canada’s largest taxpayer advocacy group. In 2010, Ms. Batra was the Director of Communications for the Rob Ford for Mayor campaign, and moved on to serve in the Office of the Mayor as Ford’s Press Secretary. Upon leaving City Hall, she became the Comment Editor and columnist for the Toronto Sun and political commentator on Newstalk 1010.Â

In June of 2015, Ms. Batra was appointed as the Editor in Chief of the Toronto Sun and 24Hours Toronto. She has appeared on Fox Business News, CNN and BBC and is a frequent contributor on Global News and CTV News Channel, CP24 and AM640.

Ms. Batra also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, obtaining the rank of Lieutenant, and was nominated for a YWCA Woman of Distinction award. In 2013 she was awarded with a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and serves on the Board of Governors for the National Newspaper Awards, Canadian Journalism Foundation and is a board member of George Brown College and the Randolph School of the Arts.

headshot of Brad Lavigne

Brad Lavigne

Partner, Counsel Public Affairs Inc.

Named one of the Hill Times Top 100 Lobbyists, Brad Lavigne has over 30 years of communications, government relations, and political experience.

Brad served as the New Democratic Party’s National Campaign Director in the 2011 general election that resulted in the party’s best election result in its 50-year history, becoming Canada’s Official Opposition for the first time. Brad served as Principal Secretary and Director of Communications for the Hon. Jack Layton and as National Director and Director of Communications for the NDP. He is author of the bestselling book Building the Orange Wave: The Inside Story of the Historic Rise of Jack Layton and the NDP.

A seasoned government relations practitioner with over a decade of experience advocating for clients at the federal level, in Ontario and throughout Western Canada, Brad founded his own government relations firm in 2015, which was acquired by Counsel in 2017. Prior to that, he was a government relations consultant serving as Vice President with a national public affairs company, working with clients from across Canada in a wide variety of sectors.

Between 1998 and 2001, Brad served as an advisor to two BC Premiers and served as Chief of Staff to the BC Minister of Finance and Ministerial Assistant to the BC Minister of Advanced Education, Training & Technology.

Brad is a weekly panelist on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics and appears in media across Canada as a political commentator. He is a Fellow at the Broadbent Institute and a Board Member of the Douglas Coldwell Layton Foundation.

headshot of Kory Teneycke

Kory Teneycke

Co-founder and CEO, Rubicon Strategy Inc.

If you’re in a tough fight, Kory is the guy you want on your side. With two decades in public affairs, Kory has served as the Director of Communications to the Prime Minister of Canada, managed the cable news channel “Sun News”, and served as Executive Director of the Renewable Fuels Association. Kory was the manager of the 2018 campaign that saw Doug Ford become Premier of Ontario and the leading force behind the Premier winning a second term, increasing the Ontario PC Party’s majority.

headshot of Genevieve Tomney

Genevieve Tomney

Principal, GT & Company Executive Advisors

Genevieve is a Principal at GT and Company – an executive advisory firm where she leads communications for the firm’s clients. Gen is an experienced communicator with 15+ years working in senior roles within government, public sector, media and both public and private corporations. In her political work, Gen most recently lead communications strategy for Bonnie Crombie’s successful campaign to become Ontario Liberal Leader. She previously served as Director of Strategic Messaging for former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Prior to that, she spent the better part of a decade as a journalist for the CBC, working in television, radio and online as a reporter and host.