Motherlode: This is not my father’s Conservative Party. Don’t be conned
Pure hatred pours out of our headlines, writes Lorraine Sommerfeld. What the hell is wrong with people?
OPINION Jun 04, 2018 by Lorraine Sommerfeld Hamilton Spectator
One year and 134 days. That’s how long Trump has been disgracing the office of the U.S. presidency. There’s a countdown timer on the internet; in fact, there are tons of them. I’m not the only one tired of waking up wondering what fresh hell has been unleashed overnight by the feeble-minded racist with the attention span of a toddler who is determined to reduce the country he leads to a pile of ashes.
But my anxiety is more for our country. I’ve watched a vile underbelly here rise up, emboldened by the actions of those to the south who are capitalizing on a terrible moment in history, one most of us thought could never be revisited. Pure hatred pours out of our headlines; what the hell is wrong with people?
I thought it couldn’t come here. I thought Canadians were better than this. I’m wrong. I’m watching an alleged former drug dealer who has proven he has zero grasp of how government works be nominated to run this province. And where once I might have been convinced that a terrible leader like Doug Ford could at least be surrounded by decent people to steer him right, I realize that is simply wishful thinking. Who stands proudly beside a man who, in his brief and shambolic political “career” at the municipal level (and he has exhibited little knowledge of knowing what each level of government is actually responsible for) repeatedly voted to cut the very things that a great city needs? Infrastructure, libraries, child care and water treatment. Remember Walkerton, anyone? Hey, let’s do that again.
Ford is a fan of restricting women’s right to choice, welcoming his caucus to go there. Bill 163, which finally blocks those who protest and harass women at abortion clinics, had total support from all parties (except for whackjob — sorry, “fringe” — MPP Jack McLaren) but still, to woo the religious right, Ford proudly (or cowardly; your call) came out against it. Getting rid of a health curriculum that is based on teaching our kids about consent and respect is high on his hit list — a program that brings Ontario up to date, not down some Marquis de Sade rabbit hole.
What are Ford’s foot soldiers — those MPPs who stand to get elected under his banner — going to do as their leader changes his mind depending on his audience? Will they have the stones to stick to original commitments or will they, like their counterparts in the U.S., instead stand for looking as inept as the man they support? Remember: many of those candidates made it onto the ballot over local riding objections. Imagine working years for a democratic process then having Mike Harris’s son be installed.
Forget the “but he’s a businessman” rhetoric. Citizens are not customers, and that is where the truly foolhardy get confused. If Doug Ford ran a restaurant, who do you think he would treat better? A well-heeled customer who dropped a lot of money in his establishment regularly, or someone who popped in and asked to use the washroom? A responsible government must be fair in its advocacy of doing the best for the most. Doesn’t make everyone happy all the time, but that is why it is work. Ford showed up for his last political job less than half the time. I wonder if he golfs.
You should care that his idea of a platform is, loosely, that he’ll figure it out as he goes along. We have a front-row seat to how that’s working. A week before the election, he finally offered some numbers on what his promises would cost, but not how they’d be paid for. That’s not a budget, that’s not a plan. That’s filling up your cart and getting to the checkout and clutching your pockets, surprised you have to pay. There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance and arrogance holding hands, and that is Doug Ford. Even as the U.S. provokes an all-out trade war with Canada, Ford remains “unwavering” in his support of the worst president in U.S. history. He will tie us to a regime that is going down, and most likely to jail.
I have always been a huge believer that people should vote. Become engaged, learn, vote, whoever you vote for. This time around, I have to wonder what kind of people can be bought with cheap beer.
He’s insulting you.