A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted June 8thth, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Doug Ford’s PC Party won a majority government in Ontario this June 7th – a majority!
A majority government gives Ford a license to run a virtual dictatorship over the next four years.
The province’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promises that she is going to use her party’s second place finish and newly minted official party status to “hold Ford’s feet to the fire.”
Sounds good, Andrea, but with the size of the majority Ford has won, he can, in so many words, simply tell any NDP member who stands in the legislature and questions or complaints to sit down and shut up.
Given Ford’s past conduct, loaded with bullying and bluster, on Toronto’s city council, that may very well be the way it goes.
So welcome to Trumpland, my fellow Ontarians.
Welcome to Trumpland, and when the cuts in services like health care, seniors’ entitlements, day care, education, public transit and the like come to pay for the billions of dollars in tax cuts Ford has promised, I don’t want to hear anyone who voted for Ford complaining.
You are getting the cutting and gutting government you deserve.
And have no illusions. The cuts to services will come, and when they ravage the ones you need, there will be few places left to turn given the shit-kicking they have already received over the past 20 or more years. You’ll be on your own and maybe if you are affluent enough to purchase the services you need from private vendors, you won’t care. We shall see.
“Tonight, you have sent a message to the world that Ontario is open for business,” Ford declared during his victory speech at the end of the night.
Make no mistake. ‘Open for business’ is, as he so bluntly put it during a taped statement to developers earlier this year, code for selling off “chunks” of the Golden Horseshoe’s protected “greenbelt” lands for housing, and gutting even more environmental and planning rules than Ontario’s former Mike Harris PC government did to make bringing in the bulldozers and buzz saws all the easier.
I’ve read reports that a disproportionate number of the people supporting Ford and his PC Party are seniors, and perhaps they don’t care what his policies do to the environment because they will be checking out in the not too distant future anyway. It’s the younger people who will still be around to deal with consequences no amount of tax cuts we get now will ever make up for.
Welcome to Trumpland where you can be sure that the one occupying the Oval Office down south now will be happy to know that there is one less jurisdiction on this continent of states and provinces that will put up a resistance to his ongoing efforts to gut public services and safeguards, and to grant big tax breaks to the richest one or two per cent on a thin thread of a promise that some crumbs will trickle down to the rest of us.
Too bad for states like California, New York and Washington that saw Ontario as an ally in resisting Trump’s efforts to pull the plug on efforts to fight climate change.
In Niagara, two of the four provincial ridings in play – Niagara Falls and Niagara Centre – remained in NDP hands with Wayne Gates keeping his seat in Niagara Falls and Jeff Burch keeping the riding orange for retiring Cindy Forster.
For the first time in 41 years, the St. Catharines riding changed parties with city councillor Jennie Stevens winning it for the NDP, fellow St. Catharines city councillor and PC candidate Sandie Bellows coming in second and Liberal MPP Jim Bradley, who had a solid hold on it for those 41 years falling victim to the province-wide dislike of the Liberal’s leader Kathleen Wynne, and coming in third.
Bradley, as would be expected of him, handled the defeat with class, telling his supporters crowded inside the St. Catharines Curling Club last night that it was “an absolute honour” serve people in the riding for so many years.
Niagara At Large will post tributes to Jim Bradley’s years of service and to outgoing Cindy Forster in the weeks ahead. Hope you visit our news site for those.
As for the fourth and final riding, Niagara West-Glanbrook, Sam Oosterhoff, who won it in a by-election at age 19 just a little over a year ago, won it handily for the PCs.
At least one encouraging result in this election. The Green Party, for the very first time, one a seat in the provincial legislature. The seat was won by Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner in Guelph, hopefully planting a seed for a whole new and exciting chapter in politics in the province.
Finally, Kathleen Wynne resigned as leader of Ontario’s Liberal Party before the night was over – something she should probably have done a year ago in an effort to spare a governing party that is now down to a mere seven seats, such a humiliating defeat.
When Wynne admitted six days before the election that her party was going down to defeat, she could have at least urged people to vote NDP in the hope that it might form a majority government, but she couldn’t even do that.
Instead, she demonized the NDP, along with Ford’s PCs. This after spending the last year cherry picking some of the NDP’s more progressive ideas for raising the minimum wage and expanding health care benefits to include covering more people for drugs and dental care.
Wynne’s awful performance as premier over the past three or four years, including the sale of public pieces of Ontario’s hydro system to private interests, helped liquidate her party and get the likes of Doug Ford elected.
More on all of this and what it may mean for the future, including this coming October’s municipal elections, later.
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