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EDITORIAL: Doug Ford, the chaos king (Fall 2021)

November 11th, 2021 · No Comments

Frustration. Nonsense. Chaos.

These are just a few words that are used to describe the situation for Ontario businesses following the release of the province’s plan to lift all Covid restrictions for businesses. You’d think there would be more celebration, but it’s hard, given the fact that small businesses are being impacted extra hard by policy that seems designed to hurt them.

Our premier likes to talk about how he’s the one looking out for the “little guy,” but this pandemic has proved that to be patently false as restaurants have been forced to wait at least two weeks before their pandemic restrictions were lifted while concert halls, sports venues, big box stores and theatres were allowed to open to 100 per cent capacity.

While the Ontario Chamber of Commerce said they welcomed the plan, the organization’s CEO, Rocco Rossi, took the opportunity to express his frustration at the rollout.

“Lifting capacity limits for some businesses and not others, without presenting data, public health indicators or a clear rationale has left many in the business community completely frustrated,” he wrote in a recent press release. “As we have said from the beginning, transparency and clear communication from the Government of Ontario are critical for confidence in public health measures during this time.”

When faced with heat after making questionable decisions, Premier Ford likes to deflect and blame his advisors. A favourite target is the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Kieran Moore. But in this case Moore felt obliged to contradict the premier, “this a government decision, it is not mine. It is that of the government.” 

The founder of the advocacy group SaveHospitality.ca John Sinopoli said many restaurants are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy with patio season ending and the onset of colder weather. Sinopoli accused Ford of again favouring large corporations such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the owner of the Raptors and Leafs, while ignoring the plight of small businesses. MLSE partnered with the province in creating the newly minted vaccine app. 

“Pure nonsense”, is what Sinopoli said about the premise that eating in restaurants is more of a risk than spending hours surrounded by shouting, often maskless fans. Data that suggested bars and restaurants were risk centres for COVID spread was gathered before the 84 per cent of the province’s eligible population were fully vaccinated and before food establishments required indoor diners to prove they had received both jabs.

Peter Juni, head of the province’s science table, was apparently not asked either about the sudden decision to open large sports venues, concert halls, and theatres to 100 per cent capacity. This seems to be the premier acting on his own which might explain why many of these rules continue to make no sense. 

Restaurant employees still don’t have to be vaccinated, according to the province. Nor do the employees at the aforementioned large venues, though those businesses may require it. Personal service businesses such as hair salons, barber shops, nail spas and tattoo parlours don’t require vaccinations for either staff or customers. How can that be safe?

Ford did recently ask the science table whether it thought it was a good idea or not to require health care workers to be vaccinated. Are you kidding? Hospitals are suspending staff now who are not fully protected for the sake of vulnerable patients and co-workers, and the premier is only now pondering if it’s a good idea or not for the province to require it? That horse has left the barn.

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