Ford’s pick to head government’s new Ottawa office panned as ‘patronage appointment’

Premier Doug Ford says his government’s new office in Ottawa will help get results for the city, but the opposition is panning his pick to lead it as political patronage.Ford named Sean Webster, who unsuccessfully ran for the Progressive Conservatives in Kanata–Carleton in a byelection last year, to head a regional office intended to “support better services for the people of Ottawa and the surrounding region.”Ford said Webster is a “talented individual” who will do “an incredible job” advocating for the city. He said Webster, who was previously an executive with cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation, has both private and public sector experience and is well-known in Ottawa.He said Webster will be a “touchpoint person” linking his government to Ottawa, making sure the city and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe are “well taken care of.”Sean Webster ran for the Progressive Conservatives in the Kanata-Carleton byelection last year. (Supplied)Sutcliffe welcomed the announcement. But opposition parties quickly zeroed in on Webster’s past run for Ford’s party. In a media release, the Ontario NDP Caucus called it “a patronage appointment.”Local Liberal MPP John Fraser called Webster a “failed candidate” and said Ford is rewarding “well-connected insiders.”According to Ford, the regional office is meant to help implement the “new deal” his government signed with Ottawa last month, with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to support priorities like infrastructure and housing.But a chunk of that funding is conditional on the federal government pitching in matching funding, which didn’t materialize in the most recent federal budget, except to support the Ottawa Police Service.In a media release, the provincial government said the new office will support better engagement with both municipal and federal governments.

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