One year report on Ford government

July 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

After a year in government, things are not looking good for Doug Ford.  He was heartily booed at the Raptors celebration.  For a Premier who says that he is “for the people”, nothing hurts a populist politician more than to witness such visceral rejection.

As often happens with populist leaders, they blame others.  Ford has spread his vindictiveness to many people.  With the radical cabinet shuffle, he has blamed those closest to him, a sort of political “friendly fire”.  

We shouldn’t be surprised.  Few governments have come to power led by a man who seems not to  understand that some people need important government services.  I suspect this is shared by his federal cousin Andrew Scheer.  And above all, don’t look like you’re having fun when you cut programs upon which many people rely.      

The Premier said he wants to help the people, but look at the evidence!  He cancelled the minimum wage raise to $15 an hour.  He cut funding and made ill-advised program changes to children with autism.  He announced cuts to OSAP as well as eliminating the six-month interest free grace period after graduation.  He cancelled free prescription medication to those under 25 through Pharmacare.  

This doesn’t help people – it hurts them.

In education where Ford appears to be seeking the most savings, he removed $100 million for school repairs.  He removed free post-secondary tuition for low income students.  The trend is obvious – cut programs that assist people who need help the most.  His priorities are to give tax breaks to wealthy Ontarians.  And above all else, make beer more easily available to people.   

Previous governments understood that governments are designed to help.  Think back to 2003 when the Ontario Liberals took power.  In their first year they made the following programs their top priorities:  they placed a cap on auto insurance premium increases; they rolled back corporate and personal tax cuts designed for the wealthiest Ontarians; they passed legislation to enshrine medicare into provincial law and Premier McGuinty chaired a federal-provincial meeting that resulted in a national health care accord.  

As well, the Liberals hired more meat and water inspectors (remember Walkerton?) to protect our health.  Ford has cut the budgets of municipal public health agencies.  

Its also worth noting that the Liberals inherited a large deficit in 2003 – a $5.5 billion fiscal hole even though the PCs said they had a balanced budget.  This was when governments could hide their true financial health from voters.  This lack of transparency was removed by the Ontario Liberals.  

Perhaps most pointedly, the Liberal government did not shy away from tough decisions.  It passed the Ontario Health Premium, even after it had promised not to raise taxes.  Why take such a risky move?  Canadians value their public health care system.  They do so because it serves the people, each and every one of us.    

While McGuinty took significant heat for a broken promise, he did so for one reason – it helped people.  It served a greater good.  It made people healthier and feeling better about themselves and their future.  This approach, radically different from Ford’s, can be summed up by the Liberal 2011 campaign slogan:

Forward.  Together.  This sentiment is needed now more than ever.

Mark Hauck, 

Orangeville resident

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