And the most lobbied minister of 2022 is...
Also: Bill 124 appeal, meet Ford's new chief, looking back on a scoop-filled year, holiday headlines
🎊 PROGRAMMING NOTE: This is a special edition rounding up headlines from the past week. Queen’s Park Observer is taking some time off to recharge during the winter holidays, which helps me write better stuff the rest of the year.
Thanks for closing out a wild year in #onpoli with us! Let’s do it again in 2023. We’ll be back in your inbox regularly starting January 3.
ABOVE THE FOLD
TOP INFLUENCERS — 2022 saw the return of many Covid-cancelled goings-on, including in-person lobbyist receptions at Queen’s Park.
Dozens of advocacy groups, industry insiders and stakeholders were back to rubbing shoulders with MPPs and their top staff over hors d’oeuvres and made-in-Ontario wine in repurposed committee meeting rooms over breakfast, lunch and dinner.
That’s over and above their usual behind-the-scenes lobbying — which, in Ontario, isn’t exactly the most transparent of systems. It’s certainly less forthcoming than on the Hill and at Toronto City Hall, where more details about lobbyist meetings are publicly disclosed.
What we do know: The Office of Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, J. DAVID WAKE, publishes high-level stats laying out top lobbying efforts. Let’s dig in.
By the numbers: Next to Premier DOUG FORD, the most lobbied cabinet minister of 2022 was Finance Minister PETER BETHLENFALVY, with 1,789 registrations targeting his office (as of December 27).
That’s not surprising, given Bethlenfalvy holds the province’s purse strings. Ford wasn’t so far ahead, with 2,378 registrations aimed at his team.
Sticking to the money theme, Economic Development Minister VIC FEDELI was next, with 1,632 lobbyists’ registrations directed at his file.
Treasury Board President PRABMEET SARKARIA (1,444 registrations), Health Minister SYLVIA JONES (1,131) and Housing Minister STEVE CLARK (1,025) rounded out the top five.
And the rest:
Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister DAVID PICCINI: 950 registrations
Infrastructure Minister KINGA SURMA: 932
Transportation Minister CAROLINE MULRONEY: 825
Attorney General DOUG DOWNEY: 660
Long-Term Care Minister PAUL CALANDRA: 582
Indigenous Affairs Minister GREG RICKFORD: 555
Associate Minister of Transportation STAN CHO: 546
Education Minister STEPHEN LECCE: 535
Energy Minister TODD SMITH: 526
Children, Community and Social Services Minister MERRILEE FULLERTON: 520
Colleges and Universities Minister JILL DUNLOP: 498
Red Tape Reduction Minister PARM GILL: 493
Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Minister LISA THOMPSON: 489
Minister of Labour Immigration Training and Skills Development MONTE MCNAUGHTON: 487
Associate Mental Health and Addictions Minister MICHAEL TIBOLLO: 447
Seniors and Accessibility Minister RAYMOND CHO: 444
Government House Leader PAUL CALANDRA: 411
Minister of Northern Development Minister GREG RICKFORD: 384
Solicitor General MICHAEL KERZNER: 383
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister DOUG FORD: 307
Tourism, Culture and Sport Minister NEIL LUMSDEN: 307
Public and Business Service Delivery Minister KALEED RASHEED: 301
Natural Resources and Forestry Minister GRAYDON SMITH: 296
Associate Minister of Housing MICHAEL PARSA: 289
Mines Minister GEORGE PIRIE: 271
Citizenship and Multiculturalism Minister MICHAEL FORD: 178
Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity CHARMAINE WILLIAMS: 172
Francophone Affairs Minister CAROLINE MULRONEY: 161
Legislative Affairs Minister PAUL CALANDRA: 104
TOP AGENCIES — The most lobbied agencies, in order: Ontario Health, Independent Electricity System Operator, Infrastructure Ontario, Metrolinx, Ontario Energy Board, Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Ontario Power Generation (or its subsidiaries) and the Toronto Central LHIN.
TOP ISSUES — The Top 10 issues were: Economic Development and Trade, Health, Environment, Infrastructure, Covid/Pandemic response, Municipal Affairs, Industry, Research and Innovation, Taxation and Finance, and Transportation.
TOP SCOOPS — We’re reflecting on a scoop-filled year by rounding up our most read, shared and clicked stories — thanks to readers like you!
Here are Queen’s Park Observer’s Top 22 stories of 2022:
Hungry for more? Get all our top stories in the archive.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
NEW CHIEF — PATRICK SACKVILLE is replacing JAMIE WALLACE as Premier DOUG FORD’s chief of staff. Sackville was most recently Ford’s principal secretary, which we had the jump on.
EXIT — MICHELLE ERVIN, longtime staffer on the NDP’s comms team, has left the Pink Palace.
BEYOND THE BUBBLE — More than a decade later, Metrolinx comms pro ANNE MARIE AIKINS is hanging up her hat next month.