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EDITORIAL Ford must resign (Apr. 2021)

May 12th, 2021 · No Comments

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has just announced three days of paid sick leave while on day nine of his 14-day PAID leave. He is self-isolating after a colleague in his office tested positive for COVID-19. The hypocrisy does not cause Mr. Ford to flinch, though he claims to be following the advice of “the brightest minds in the world.”

Ford’s aides have dressed him up in a new “crisis commander” jacket with a badge and his name emblazoned on it. The new uniform, if perhaps a little ridiculous, inspires confidence until he opens his mouth: “Folks,” he’ll say, “everything’s on the table… I won’t hesitate… I’ll come down like an 800lb gorilla,” and so on. In all this blather he has made only one thing clear: he is blameless. This province may sink under the weight of this self-described gorilla, but we shouldn’t bother to feign shock when he fails to take responsibility for it.

Conservative populists are often suspicious of advice coming from experts for a simple reason: those experts often don’t share the same world view. Experts want leaders who are willing to do what it takes to protect public health and well-being. Theoretically, once you take the reins following a successful bid for public office, you have a duty towards all the citizens within your jurisdiction – whether they voted for you or not. Premier Ford’s cabinet seem happy to follow a different set of leadership ethics.

Former Conservative Premier Mike Harris, a populist from another era, acted against the advice of experts and cut regulations meant to protect Ontario’s water supply. Seven people in Walkerton, Ontario died as a result and another 2,300 people fell ill, many severely. 

In late April, faced with a third wave of infections, Premier Ford got advice from Ontario’s Science Table to do three things; close non-essential workplaces such as warehouses and factories, shut down non-essential construction sites, let outdoor activities (where the risk of transmission is low) continue, and provide paid sick days. Instead, Ford closed playgrounds and most outdoor activities, shuttered construction sites that are not running anyhow (like sites building malls and office towers) and failed to legislate paid sick days. He deflected blame for the lack of sick days to the federal government even though Justin Trudeau lacks the constitutional authority to tell Ontario employers what to do in this regard. Doug Ford knows this, but it doesn’t matter because he’s only speaking to his base.

Most police forces in Ontario were so appalled by the Premier’s orders that they openly stated their unwillingness to enforce his rules. When the troops ignore your orders that is a clear sign, Doug. On the other hand, at least one OPP officer felt emboldened by Ford’s announcement and assaulted a 12-year-old riding his scooter through a playground. Ford has inspired bullies to act with impunity. 

It costs $4,000 per day for Ontario taxpayers to operate an ICU bed. It costs $120 per day to keep a minimum wage earner at home while they have COVID-19 symptoms. At a minimum that cost should be borne by employers for 14 days. Ford is robbing taxpayers in order to protect the bottom line of his buddies in the manufacturing and construction sectors. 

A 13-year-old girl named Emily Viegas has become one of the youngest victims of the pandemic. Her father, whose wife was already in the in the ICU with COVID-19, is a warehouse worker in Brampton. He could not afford to stay at home. This case was both tragic and preventable. Enough of Ford’s flailing about aimlessly while people die needlessly. It’s time for the Premier to resign.


Tags: Annex · Editorial · Opinion