The LB Podcast Blog
Whenever you take a look at the social media feeds of Ontario premier Doug Ford, one can't help but wonder if he's confused as to what his job is. Does he think that he's the unofficial spokesman for McDonald's? Has he forgotten that his real job is to govern the province of Ontario? Has he been asleep or in a hash-induced coma the past 2 years? Seriously, someone tell me what is going on. I can't understand how he finds the time for these photo-ops when Ontario is in the midst of a pandemic and is breaking records for active cases of COVID-19.
With active cases of COVID-19 soaring in Ontario, you would think that their premier would be working overtime to ensure that residents are being taken care of. However, if you know Doug Ford at all, you know that isn't the case. Whether it's making time for photo-ops, or waxing poetic about the poppy, or granting university status to xenophobic religious bigots, Doug Ford seems to be too pre-occupied with securing his political status to effectively manage a pandemic. Even with the worst second wave in the country, Ford seems to be ambivalent, and at times, combative with members of the press, the opposition, and just about everyone else around him.
As if that weren't enough, his minister of health, Christine Elliott, put together this patchwork of COVID safety protocols in place to deal with different levels of outbreak in the province. It has already been panned by health experts who argue that transmission levels could actually worsen before the government responds and implements stricter measures, based on their own framework. It's such a poorly written document that there are pages mis-numbered (or missing altogether), and the terminology is confusing and ambiguous.
But then again, what would you expect from a government that doesn't listen to experts, attacks public health officials, and wastes public money on pointless endeavours like Ontario News Network. Seriously, if you don't know about the Ontario government's propaganda arm, you should go take a look at it now. This is part and parcel to what Doug Ford prioritizes. He cares more about staying in power than he does protecting Ontarians in the worst public health crisis since SARS.
It's honestly astonishing to me just how embedded Doug Ford's incompetence and arrogance is, particularly when one looks at opinion polls in Ontario. How can someone so inept and unqualified be still so popular, given all of the evidence we have seen since he became premier? One only needs to look at the cult of personality that the Ford family has enjoyed over the years. Like Trump in the US, Ford has cultivated a rabid base of supporters, and often uses similar tactics to bully and intimidate dissenting opinions and opposition. If you follow local politics in Toronto, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Whether it's extracting revenge on political opponents or patronage appointments to his friends, Doug Ford is very transparent when it comes to who his allies and enemies are. In many cases, those enemies end up being members of the public and organizations who dare to criticize his government, not the least of which being labour groups. Back in 2018, the Ford government passed Bill 47, which repealed many of the labour reforms introduced by the previous government. Not surprisingly, the Ontario Federation of Labour denounced these actions as 'driving millions of working Ontarians into poverty'.
He's also declared war on the 'media party' in Queen's Park, been verbally abusive to Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, and is repeatedly in the news for scandals involving former candidates, inept cabinet ministers and questionable (at best) moral and social ethics. Yet Ford still presses ahead with his agenda unfazed, due in part to the cult-like following he has in the 905 region of Ontario. It leaves one to wonder what it's going to take to make people realize that Doug Ford doesn't give a shit about them. What's it going to take? How many people need to die to wake them up to the fact that their premier is clueless and narcisstic?
A Dangerous Pattern
It's not like there isn't a precedent for this sort of behaviour. For years now, Doug Ford has repeatedly shown what he is really like, once you get past the political speeches and carefully crafted news conferences. Journalists and bloggers across the spectrum have consistently documented the Ontario government's actions since they took office in 2018. He has also been proven to be remarkably petty, as was shown when his government announced a public inquiry into the previous government's spending habits.
Of course, that's not all. He's also been repeatedly accused of lending support to homophobic and racist religious leaders, and he's received financial donations from conservative media moguls as well. On top of this, he has a well-documented history of very problematic statements over the years, going back to his city council days. No matter who his perceived opponents are, he wastes no time in attempting to steamroll over them, either with very callous and rude comments, or with sneaky and underhanded legislative measures. If you have a problem with how the premier is handling his job, rest assured he will come after you sooner or later.
If Ontario is going to pull themselves out of the mess they're in, they're going to need to start holding their politicians accountable, both at the legislature and at the ballot box. They cannot keep electing governments that don't care about their well-being. When supposed leaders like Doug Ford will even stoop so low as politicizing their own family member's death, there is no end in sight to the lengths they will go to protect their own political interests. It's up to the people to demand a better standard for their politicians. While the government is ultimately responsible for taking care of the people once they get into power, it is the people's responsibility to choose that government by electing them, and they would do well to choose more wisely than Doug Ford.
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