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EDITORIAL: The “Get it Done Act” should get Ford out (Feb. 2024)

April 6th, 2024 · No Comments

Premier Doug Ford’s latest gimmick is his pending “Get it Done Act.” Ford is banking on Ontario voters having short memories, being easily duped, and not minding at all being bribed with their own money. This latest omnibus legislation is a dog’s breakfast of silly, shiny objects designed to distract from a string of failures and flip flops that appear to have been authored by the premier himself.

The Act aims to constrain future Ontario governments from introducing a carbon tax without a referendum. Of course, we only have a carbon tax, the federal one, because Ford scraped the former government’s cap-and-trade policy and had no climate change plan of his own. Ford fought the feds on the federal tax all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. It’s not likely that this government is serious about addressing climate change or is really prepared to even acknowledge it as a crisis. The threat of a provincial carbon tax is not a real one. The omnibus bill is also completely toothless, as any future government can simply repeal it. 

The legislation also aims to make licence plate renewals automatic. Apparently, the province’s 2022 move to relieve drivers of the $120 annual licence fee has not gone so smoothly. It costs the Ontario treasury $1.2 billion in revenue annually. The province says over one million vehicle owners did not appreciate that they still needed to renew their plates even though there is no fee. This created much confusion as many were given $1000 tickets for driving with expired permits. Even for those who renewed, no new stickers were provided. Those who travel out of province appear to be driving on expired permits which attracts extra jurisdictional fines and unnecessary police interactions. 

The “Get it Done Act” also promises to prohibit tolls on provincial highways. Of course there are no tolls, or plans to have them, on provincial highways except on Highway 407. The Act will not touch the 407 which was created by another Conservative government, then led by Mike Harris. We have Harris to thank for building a highway that few Ontarians can afford to use.

It’s no wonder such useless legislation is conjured up. The premier needs to distract voters lest they reflect on his string of failures and reversals, such as:

Bill 124, the wage restraint law introduced in 2022 holding public-sector workers to a one per cent pay increase per year. It was struck down this month by the Ontario Court of Appeal on constitutional grounds. Ford had promised it would save Ontario taxpayers $9.7 billion, but instead it will cost them $13.7 billion according to Ontario’s financial accountability officer. Thanks Doug. It was a terrible law to begin with as it drove workers such as nurses away creating a myriad of new problems. The wage restraint bill was also very inequitable as it applied to nurses and teachers, female dominated professions, but did not apply to fire fighters and police officers, male dominated professions. Hmmm…. In any case, it’s just another failed Ford stunt that will cost you billions. And the nurses that left the province are probably not coming back any time soon.

On the promise to dissolve the Region of Peel and make Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon independent cities Ford has reversed course. When the former mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, who supported dissolving Peel, took the reins of the Ontario Liberal Party, Ford promptly abandoned the plan. As Crombie is a serious threat to Ford, he has already started the election campaign to oppose her and does not care what good policy he needs to ditch along the road to re-election.

The largest of the government’s policy reversals has been its 180-degree turn on redeveloping sections of the Greenbelt. Ford ran afoul of the auditor general, the integrity commissioner, public opinion, and is now being investigated by the RCMP. Shady land deals appeared to have happened by developers who were “in the know” about Ford’s plans to convert protected lands into subdivisions. He has now reversed course. 

Ford spends more time going backwards than forwards, then spends energy on folksy populism such as the “Get it Done Act.” It’s just a lame attempt to get voters to change the channel. It’s time to change the channel on this premier altogether. 


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