And What’s With Ford’s Incessant Use of this Totalitarian Trope “Government for the People”
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted April 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Unless you have been living somewhere far away from the province over the past 10 months, it probably comes as as no news to you that Doug Ford wants to make Ontario “Open for Business”.
That apparently means that Ontario’s premier and his self-described “Government for the People” are bent on making the province a more friendly place for private companies to do business in.
As of the release of his ‘Government for the People’s first budget this April 14th, Ford may want to amend that “open for business” call-out to say that Ontario is open for business just so long as your business is willing to stick whatever propaganda his government wants on or near a product you are selling, or face a steep fine!
As much as that is what you might expect from a government in a totalitarian state, Ford and his army of MPPs are now looking at making it mandatory for private companies that sell gasoline in their oh-so “open for business” Ontario to place a sticker on their gas pumps, telling customers that they are paying an extra four to five cents per litre for a federal “tax” on climate polluting carbon.
If owners of gas stations don’t put these stickers on their pumps where prospective customers can see them, they could face a $10,000 fine.
What Ford and his minions choose to call a “carbon tax,” by the way, which is more realistically a price the federal government is trying to impose on highly damaging carbon pollution in an effort to address climate change by reducing our country’s carbon footprint, is a hell of a lot less than the 25 or so cents slapped on to a litre of gas through provincial taxes.
Maybe the Ford government should post the provincial taxes on gas pumps so we can decide whether we want to buy our gas on the Ontario side of the border or cross the border and fill up in New York State where gas is cheaper, even when you calculate the exchange on the Canadian dollar.
Of course, one of the real reasons Ford and his federal Tory buddy Andrew Scheer are making such a big deal out of this federal “carbon tax” is that they want to stick it to the Liberal prime minister, Justin Trudeau, before this coming fall’s federal election. And it is a good way for them to do it since they have no interest in doing anything serious about the climate crisis the world is facing anyway.
The question private businesses may want to ask, whether they like Trudeau’s federal Liberals or not, or whether they believe it is necessary to do everything possible to address climate change or not, is what is next from e Ford’s so-called “Government for the People” if it is willing to get this draconian over making them display a partisan propaganda sticker on their private property at the threat of prosecution?
No wonder Ontario’s Official Opposition Party, the NDP, came out with a news release this April 15th noting that “businesses looking to invest in Ontario are becoming anxious due to changes announced in Doug Ford’s budget last (April 14th).”
Referencing Ford’s plan to require private companies to attach a partisan sticker on their gas pumps or face a stiff fine, along with cuts his government is making to education and career training programs, and to municipal infrastructure, the news release goes on to says that “businesses making investment decisions are anxious about the unstable climate the Ford government is creating.”
As for what we might expect a government to do in a totalitarian, what is it with Ford and his minions and their incessant use of the term “Government for the People” to brand what some used to refer to as a Conservative government?
Government for what people?
For what people? People like me?
I didn’t vote for Ford, nor did a majority of the people who went to the polls in last year’s provincial elections.
In fact, Ford somehow managed to win a majority of seats in the June 2018 elections with only 40 per cent of the popular vote. Even the Ontario Liberals, that went from a majority to losing so many seats that they don’t have official party status, drew almost 20 per cent of the popular vote.
Yet going back to his earliest weeks as premier, with his bully-like slashing the size of Toronto’s city council, just weeks before municipal elections, and his cancelling of elections for regional chair in Niagara and other regions of Ontario (even after candidates had registered to run), Ford has hardly shown a shred of class or humility.
Between the holy grail of a ‘one buck beer’ he promised last summer and what has come to be known as “the booze budget” he tabled this April (now we’re all apparently going to be able to saddle up at a bar for that first beer or double shot of vodka or gin at nine in the morning), Ford has been running the province like a dictator, which may explain why he and his gang use language like “Government for the People” to describe their government.
Don’t they know that “Government for the People” and verbiage like it is a trope that autocrats and leaders of totalitarian or fascists states often use to con the masses into thinking that the ‘Grand Poopah’ is on their side?
The dictators who still run China and who ran tanks over unarmed protesters marching for liberty a few decades ago in Tiananmen Square shamelessly call their set-up a “People’s Republic.”
Stalin and other dictators in Russia’s old Soviet Union used similar ‘people’s this and people’s that’ terminology to describe the iron-fisted, authoritarian systems of government they put in place. And in a similar spirit, the Tsar before them liked to refer to himself as the “Autocrat for all Russians.”
In North Korea, Donald Trump’s friend Kim Jong-un, one of the most brutal dictators in the world, uses terms to describe his governmental institutions like “Provisional People’s Committee of North Korea,” “Supreme People’s Assembly,” and “the Supreme Court of the People’s Republic of Korea.”
And now in Ontario, instead of having a Liberal government or an NDP government or a Conservative government, we have a “Government for the People” that formed a majority government with the support of well less than half of the people who bothered to go out and vote in last year’s provincial elections.
And while we are at it, here is one more pat phrase that Ford’s “Government for the People” incessantly uses to identify businesses – “job creators,” as if the terms “business” and “job creator” are mutually inclusive.
Here is a news flash for Ford and his minions. They are not.
There are some businesses out there who are creating jobs and who even go further by paying their employees a living or liveable wage. And those are businesses we certainly want to celebrate and support in our communities.
Then there are other businesses that are laying people off. In fact, some of them go out of their way to eliminate as many jobs as possible and to keep wages as low as they can for the employees who remain.
So just in case it didn’t sink through the first time – not all businesses are “job creators.”
They are not all “job creators” and they should not all be treated the same with grants and subsidies and tax breaks, even though, one can be sure that Ford would want to reward businesses that support his “Government for the People” whether they create jobs for people and pay people a decent wage, or not.
Any true “Government for the People” would only give tax incentives to businesses that put people first.
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