By Zaid Noorsumar
Last month, Rankandfile.ca exposed extensive connections between Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives and the for-profit lobbying group, the Ontario Long-Term Care Association (OLTCA).
Amidst growing public anger against the for-profit long-term care homes, a recent Huffington Post news report further highlights the ugly nexus between the for-profit long-term care industry, the Ford government, and the Ontario PC Party.
Because of the fire directed at the Ontario PC government, there may be a growing misperception that this problem is one of Ford and his predecessors, such as Mike Harris. However, further research by Rankandfile.ca reveals that the for-profit LTC lobby also developed deep ties with the Ontario Liberals.
During the long Liberal era in Ontario (2003-2018), former Liberal insiders were also employed as lobbyists for the OLTCA. Some of these connections were reported by The Bullet in February 2016.
The revolving door
It’s no secret there is a revolving door between industry and government. Political staffers can leverage their understanding of government operations to establish lobbying careers, typically advocating for profit-driven business interests.
Meanwhile, former industry insiders can find themselves in positions of influence in political parties and government.
For instance, Adrienne Spafford worked in various roles in the Ontario Liberal government from 2004 until 2011, including as a senior policy advisor in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
From 2013 to 2016, Spafford was strategy and public affairs director for the OLTCA. In June 2016, she left the OLTCA to become policy advisor in Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Office. Since 2018, she has been serving as CEO of Mental Health and Addictions Ontario.
Similarly, John Duffy, advisor to former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, has been a long-time lobbyist for numerous business interests while remaining involved with the Liberals. In 2000, he was registered as a lobbyist for OLTCA. In 2003, he was a strategic consultant for eventual Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Here are some of the other connections we found between Liberals and lobbyists for long-term care corporations.