Wow, what a week!
Remember back at the start of this pandemic, how impressed we all were with how Premier Doug Ford handled the crisis? This was the team that couldn’t print licenses plates, and hated to spend money on public services. Could we have the worse possible choice to lead us through a global pandemic? It turns out, Doug had a compassionate side. A side that he liked to show to all of us each day at the podium. Expressing sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones to COVID-19. As well as, understanding for the small business owner and entrepreneur scared for their livelihood. Maybe this was the real Doug Ford.
Well it turns out the old Doug Ford was there all along. Underneath the compassionate veneer, remained the vindictive and cronyism enthusiast we were all familiar with. This week alone has seen him come back in a big way.
Old Friends get a Big Favour
This week, the Ford government moved forward with granting Canada Christian College permission to become a university. The scandal here is that Canada Christian College is headed by Charles McVety. Now, it isn’t the fact necessarily that Mr. McVety enjoys promoting islamophobic ideas, or is adamantly opposed to modernising sexual education in the province, or his opposition to LGBTQ rights. It’s the fact that Mr. McVety was a donor, supporter and advocate of Doug Ford’s leadership ambitions. As well as the fact that the Canada Christian College has failed of yet to gain approval through the proper vetting processes to attain university status in this province. It appears that Mr. Ford has intervened to help out his friend Mr. McVety.
This is the same old Mr. Ford who tried to give the top OPP job to his friend, despite being eminently unqualified for the position. It’s the same Mr. Ford who tried to permit developers to cut into the green belt, only to be caught red handed at the last minute. Old habits are hard to break I suppose. But wait there’s more.
What’s a Little Meddling in Municipal Affairs?
Remember the Doug Ford who spontaneously, without consultation or warning decided to redesign the City of Toronto municipal boundaries drastically reducing the number of councillors? Well that Doug Ford showed up again this week.
Sneaking in an omnibus bill meant to help support small businesses, Ford decided arbitrarily to eliminate the provision the previous Liberal government instituted allowing municipalities to decide for themselves on the issue. What brought this on is a mystery. Ranked ballots have been on the rise throughout the province in recent years. In London the city elected their current council through ranked ballots. By all accounts it was considered a success.
In Kingston, the city council was moving forward to permit ranked ballots in their elections, and Burlington was in a similar process examining the option for theirs. It was a system that was slowly becoming normalised throughout the province.
Ford’s reasoning to eliminate it, reeked of hypocrisy. One excuse put forward by Paul Calandra was this:
It is questionable as to how this would distract municipalities from the immediate pressures of the pandemic when the next municipal elections aren’t for a few years. It is also hypocritical on Ford’s part, as he himself was elected to leader of the Progressive Conservatives this way. In fact all politicians are elected leader or nominated in their ridings using this manner. It is a familiar voting system to be certain.
Is All of This a Distraction?
I raise the question, as I wonder why all of this now? Why push through all of this in one week? I think it all comes down to their COVID-19 strategy. One they think the strategy is working and everyone in Ontario is focused on what Doug Ford is going to do next on the pandemic file, that they think they can shuffle these things through.
They realize their COVID-19 strategy isn’t necessarily working. Long Term Care homes are becoming hot beds of the disease, questions surrounding the reopening of schools and how it has lead to the incapacitation of our testing system abound. As well, confusion over what can and cannot operate in the pandemic is rampant. Culminating in fear of whether or not a region or county will be spontaneously shut back down to Stage 2.
I suspect it might be a combination of both. It’s hard governing in the best of times. I can imagine it’s also more incredibly hard during a global pandemic. It’s safe to say, that by now the Ford government is unwilling or unable to spend more money or stick to a coherent messaging strategy to get this pandemic under control.
When a problem becomes unmanageable its common to just focus on what you are familiar with. Apparently for Doug Ford, that is cronyism and screwing over municipalities arbitrarily. It’s said that in times of crisis your true colours shine through. Well, in Doug Ford’s case I think thats true. Except we’ve already seen his true colours. The vindictive and short minded man, who is more about protecting him and his friends than about actual leadership.
The caring Ford who we all praised at the start of the pandemic. He’s the charade, the fake, the phony. The one who used our fears to try and sell a new image. There is a word for that…con man.
Grifters gotta grift.