Troubling times with Doug Ford

September 24, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Jasen Obermeyer

With school now in full swing, and the upcoming October 22 municipal election firmly edged in everyone’s mind, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at the centre of both.

Often dubbed a ‘Mini-Trump,’ Premier Ford brings his own style of controversy and heated debates/discussions in both political and social aspects. His two biggest controversial issues are scrapping the province’s sex-ed curriculum, and slashing Toronto city council nearly in half.

It’s best to discuss the city council first, as that is the most relevant and heated issue.

Premier Ford has given strong reasons on why he wants to cut the council from 47 members to 25, a slash of 22 councillors. His reasons are for “reducing the size and cost of government,” to empower “people instead of the government.” This, Mr. Ford said, would remove the “dysfunctional” city government, save taxpayers $25-million, and make decisions and polices “more effective and efficient.”

Now, he may have some valid arguments to (possibly) better the city and its people, but these are not concrete, valid statistics. But the biggest issue is that in a month’s time, it will be the municipal election. With the election so close, it is not the best time to slash the city council nearly in half.

How will Toronto’s ward system change? Will it be done in time for the election? It’s just causing more stress and chaos that’s not needed for an election.

Really, a decision should be made after the election, as right now this topic is destroying and interfering with the very foundation of a democratic government. If Premier Ford decided to cut council by a few, or five, or even 10 members, that’s fine. Maybe that would save some taxpayers money and get work done a bit faster, without causing drastic changes.

But almost in half means more power in fewer hands. The interests of the people will not be in the minds of the councillors, because they will be responsible to represent a larger Ward, something that would be very difficult to keep up with.

A small council works in the right type of environment. Small towns, with populations ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 or even 30,000 don’t need a city council like Toronto’s. Five- or seven-person councils work because the town is small enough that the citizens can be represented. Hopefully a decision that will truly benefit democracy and the people will be reached before this election.

Though it has taken a bit of a back seat, let’s look at Premier Ford’s plan to scrap the province’s 2015 sex-ed curriculum and replace it with the 1998 one, with an argument that it is not age-appropriate, and to introduce another one after consulting with teachers and parents.

First off, it’s easy to say you will do one thing, when in reality you may not be getting anything done at all.

Next, reversing the curriculum by 18 years is not a step forward. It’s a giant leap back. Between 1998 and 2015, a lot changed in regard to sex-ed, society, and politics. Gender Sexuality Alliances have been created and encouraged in schools, pride parades have grown in strength everywhere, and most importantly, laws have been created to grant LGBTQ’s the right to marriage.

Those topics mentioned are current, relevant. I was taught the 1998 sex-ed curriculum back in 2005, and even then it was outdated.

Today’s youth need to learn about lesbians and gays, trans-gender, same-sex marriage, sexting, because they are topics that are relatively new, and if taught, can maybe help end homophobia.

Would you rather it be taught in a classroom than through Google? Should your kids really consult the Internet? I’m sure that will not go well down the road for anyone, especially the kids.

It is a little weird to hear my younger cousins talk about sexism, trans-gender, all of that. But I understand that they know what they all mean, and thus received better teaching than during my time, when it was best to just gloss over the curriculum.

Sex-ed is a sensitive, often awkward topic, but that’s why it should be taught. Today’s youth need to learn what it going on in regard to sex in our present ever-changing world.

Premier Ford unfortunately has been at the centre of controversy even before he was elected. Both the issues of cutting Toronto city council and scrapping the sex-ed curriculum threaten the foundation of a democratic government and society. But fortunately, the people of Toronto and Ontario have spoken up – either for or against – about Mr. Ford’s recent promise to ensure that their voices will not go unheard.

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