POLITICS
09/13/2018 15:57 EDT | Updated 09/13/2018 18:33 EDT

Andrea Horwath Accuses Doug Ford Of Muzzling Female Cabinet Ministers

Premier Doug Ford took questions on behalf of one of his ministers in question period.

Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Sept. 13, 2018.
Chris Young/CANADIAN PRESS
Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath speaks at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Sept. 13, 2018.

Opposition leader Andrea Horwath says Premier Doug Ford is muzzling his female cabinet ministers.

The NDP directed a number of questions to Health Minister Christine Elliott and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney in question period this week. Ford answered on Elliott's behalf on Wednesday and Thursday. While Mulroney took her own questions in the legislature, she was noticeably absent at the news conference where Ford announced he would invoke the notwithstanding clause of the constitution to pass legislation to reduce the size of Toronto city council.

"These are all strong women and he's simply walking all over them," Horwath told HuffPost Canada on Thursday.

She said she's shocked that Ford's entire cabinet supports his choice to protect laws from judicial review.

These are all strong women and he's simply walking all over them.Andrea Horwath

"They pretended during the election campaign that some of the more moderate voices would actually curb Mr. Ford's penchant for being over the top. His radicalism has, in fact, not been tamed by those cabinet ministers," Horwath said.

Aside from Ford himself, Caroline Mulroney has faced the most intense criticism over the government's decision to protect legislation from certain types of judicial review. A heckler called her out from the public gallery on Thursday for the second day in a row.

"Ms. Mulroney, where do you stand?" a man shouted at her before being asked to leave.

Chris Young/CANADIAN PRESS
Caroline Mulroney walks away after scrumming with reporters after at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto, on Sept. 13, 2018.

As attorney general, Mulroney is supposed to act as a "guardian of the public interest" and as a sort of legal counsel to the government. She's taken questions from the opposition during question period and from media during scrums this week.

"We are using the charter ... to uphold the Constitution," Mulroney said Thursday. "We are using the legal tools at our disposal to provide the certainty that the people of the city of Toronto need with respect to their election."

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Toronto's city clerk said Thursday that it will be "virtually impossible" to hold a fair election as scheduled.

Horwath's accusation that Ford is silencing ministers is "offensive, and quite frankly absurd," a spokesman for Ford's office told HuffPost Canada by email.

"Our cabinet ministers are more than capable of taking care of themselves, and they don't need to be lectured by Andrea Horwath from the opposition benches," Simon Jefferies said.

Previously On HuffPost: