The Garden City Refugee

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A Premier’s Betrayal

October 10, 2020

The day was June 29, 2018.

I remember it well.

That day, I traveled to Queen’s Park to join in the celebration as Doug Ford and his PC government was sworn into power, taking over from the reviled Kathleen Wynne, who had rightly earned her status as Canada’s most unpopular premier. Ontarians had had enough of her free-spending ways. And of the astronomical hydro bills. Sex-ed. Job losses. By electing Ford and the PCs, we had also been spared the wrath of the NDP and their leader, the ultra-radical Andrea Horwath. During the campaign, Ford had called her “Kathleen Wynne on steroids.”

Doug 'Closed for Business' Ford

Doug “Closed for Business” Ford's coronation as Great Leader

Little could we have imagined how that characterization would instead apply to him.

Even before Ford effectively declared war on his own people this spring, there were warning signs pointing in that direction. While running for the party leadership, he was helped by Tanya Granic Allen, a principled conservative who came out of nowhere and showed well in the leadership race. Remember her? I do. And how Ford unceremoniously kicked her to the curb after being elected leader.

Then there were his underwhelming early days as premier. His Wynne-like first budget. No relief for hydro bills. He backtracked on sex-ed. He talked a good game when going toe to toe with the GTU (Greedy Teachers Union), but he still gave into them. Just like Wynne would have done.

He went to the border and proclaimed to the world that Ontario was open for business. Then he proceeded to ruthlessly shut down private industry, thus becoming a hero to his enemies and a pariah to his supporters. Anyone who dared to disagree with the Great Leader was cavalierly dismissed as a “yahoo.” Including those in his own party. See Karahalios, Belinda. Conservatives pride themselves in respecting differing opinions. But the problem is that Ford had long since stopped being a conservative. He changed the slogan on the license plates to “A Place to Grow,” yet all that Ford has been growing is unemployment and debt. So much debt, in fact, that he’s making Wynne look like a good money manager.

There’s an evil virus running amok these days, leaving a devastating trail of heartache and destruction in its wake.

It’s not COVID.

It’s the occupant of the premier’s office at Queen’s Park. Whose brother, rest his soul, must be rolling in his grave.

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