Toronto, ON – He has been in office less than six months and already Premier Doug Ford has turned the province Ontario on its ear and managed to create a political fur ball for his federal counterparts.
Last Thursday, Ford decided to cut French services in Ontario seemingly oblivious of the impact the decision has on the fortunes of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in the upcoming federal election.
Moves like this and all of the photo-ops of Ford and Scheer, lead to guilt by association in the eyes of the voter, as one Scheer team member told the HuffPost Canada on Sunday, “we are associated to a decision that we did not help make, that we were not aware of.”
During Thursday’s fiscal update, Premier Ford announced his government would cancel a project to build a French language university in Toronto and would be eliminating the position of a French language services commissioner. The government said the move was a cost cutting measure, though it did not reveal how much money it expected to save as a result. “Everyone across the province will be required to make sacrifices, without exception,” said Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli, who represents the riding of Nipissing which is predominantly Francophone.
It created a firestorm of outrage in Québec with columns and editorials in every major Québec newspaper. It appears with the decision, Ford has inadvertently repeated history. Critics within the federal party are comparing it to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to cut services to veterans.
Couple this with the following:
- dismantling Bill 148 which provided workers with a minimum of three weeks’ vacation who have worked more than five years, a minimum wage of $15 an hour, termed by many as the most progressive labour legislation in the past thirty years
- cutting Toronto city council in half
- cutting refugee settlement and training
- reversing sex education to 1998 standards
- eliminating the carbon tax
- eliminating cap and trade
- cancelled Ontario’s basic income pilot program
- cancelled $100 school infrastructure repair program
- raising the threshold for party status from eight seats to 12 in the legislature
- eliminate three independent officers who report to the legislature, the Environment commissioner, French Language Services commissioner and the Provincial Children’s Advocate
- Elimination of free prescription medication for people under 25 with private coverage
- Cancellation of the White Pines Wind Project
- Elimination of the Roundtable on Violence Against Women
Those are all of the things that Doug Ford and his government have taken away. What his government has given Ontario taxpayers are a series of scandals. Development and Trade Minister Jim Wilson resigned amid accusations of sexual assault. One of the Premier’s aides, Andrew Kimber quit for allegedly sending sexually inappropriate text messages. Mr. Ford’s Corrections minister was demoted after revelations that he and his law firm were embroiled in several lawsuits. Two election promises that haven’t been delivered are the ‘Buck-A-Beer’ and the ten cent per liter reduction at the gas pumps.
What appears to be emerging at Queen’s Park is a ‘Kakistocracy’ a term from 1644, which loosely translated means ‘ruled by the worst, a government run by the least qualified.’