“The best argument against democracy is five-minute conversation with the average (Doug Ford) voter.” – a play on a quote from Winston Churchill, with apologies to the iconic British statesman
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted June 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
“Wow! I’ll tell you. … Wow!
“Thank you so much my friends. … I will never forget the trust you have placed in me. …. This victory belongs to the people and tonight the people of Ontario have sent a clear message. … a message of hope and prosperity and a vision of a government that works for the people.”
Those were Doug Ford’s opening words to a hall full of cheering supporters a year ago this June 7th, when his Ontario Conservatives won enough seats in the 2018 provincial election to be sworn in as a majority government – what he and his members continue to call a “Government for the People” – on June 29th of last year.
So okay then friends (If I may be so bold as to use the same word he does to address us all), how are you feeling a year after an election that made Doug Ford Ontario’s premier?
Are you feeling more hopeful and prosperous now? Are you feeling like you’ve finally got yourself a government you can trust? … A true “government for the people”?
And what “people” is Ford’s government is really working for?
Maybe it is working for the shareholders of corporations who were among the first to experience a little more prosperity from the government’s corporate tax cuts> Then there are all of the land speculators and developers who may benefit from the all of the environmental and planning rules and regulations that the Ford government is gutting so that they don’t get in the way of bulldozing and paving over just about any green area they want.
But what about all the people out there – single moms, students burdened in tuition debt and others – who are living and working below the poverty level and saw Ford pull back the raises promised by the previous government to the minimum wage?
How much is Ford’s plans to sell his one-buck-beer in corner stores, or opening booze bars across the province at 9 a.m. or scrapping a tax on climate-killing carbon fuels or gutting Ontario’ Endangered Species Act going to make them more prosperous?
How is raising the speed limits on the QEW and other 400-series highways in the province going to help families and their children, and seniors and others who have watched this Ford government make cut after cut to education and to a whole host of health care-related programs?
I could go on and on listing the cutting and gutting Ford and his all to dutiful MPPs, including his youngest government member, Sam Oosterhoff, out in West Niagara, have made and are continuing to make and support around a large host of common good programs so many Ontario residents use and need.
For now, though, it is at least a little heartening to note that people across the province must be paying attention to all of the cutting and gutting Ford is doing to policies, programs and services, and many must not be liking it much, because earlier this spring, polls showed Doug Ford with popularly ratings that have sunk to unprecedented lows for an Ontario premier this early in his term.
Ford’s popularity numbers are now even lower than those of former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne. Remember her?
She was the one who inspired so many people across this country to sing; “Ding, dong the witch is dead” a year ago this June when she and her once formidable Ontario Liberals suffered so devastating a defeat in the June 7th election that they lost official party status.
A good number of people obviously had enough of the Wynne Liberals but where does Ford get off assuming that “the people” of this province have put their trust and support in him.
In the first place (and this is a sad comment on some four million Ontario people of voting age), less than 60 per cent of the eligible voters across the province even bothered to go to the polls a year ago this June.
Of those who did go to the polls, Ford managed to scrape through with a majority of seats by winning only 40 per cent of the popular vote.
More than 3.2 million people voted to the NDP, Liberals and Greens, with the NDP ranking high enough to form Ontario’s Official Opposition Party, and 2.3 million of you voted for Doug Ford’s Tories.
Given how much Ford has been sinking ever since in the popularity polls, I can’t imagine too many of those 2.3 million people being happy with the way things have turned out now.
From time to time I have crossed paths with people who voted for Ford – people who now have the audacity to cry and complain about cuts Ford has been making to health care and other programs that they want or need.
Sad to say that more than a few of these people are of the baby boomer generation – older people my age – who, for whatever foolish reason – thought that Ford would not be wielding his great big medieval axe at services they use.
And I have to be honest. As much as these services are ones I also may soon need, I am having a hard time feeling sorry for people who voted for Ford and who now turn around and cry and complain.
These people apparently had the nerve to expect that Ford would leave their services or so-called entitlements alone and, at the same time, give them a tax cut too. Yet, was also apparently also okay for these folks to expected younger people, my daughter’s and her friend’s age, to pay the freight for their services, even while Ford was cutting education, raises to the minimum wage and other services and benefits younger people need to get some of the same opportunities baby boomers enjoyed in decades gone by.
Many of these people (and I know I am generalizing here) also apparently don’t mind Ford cutting and gutting programs for addressing the climate crisis and other environmental threats that could make the difference between a future that is decent or pure hell for present and future generations.
So it is getting harder and harder to feel sorry for people who voted for Ford, then turn around and complain when Ford turns his axe on services of benefit to them.
These people must have known, or should have known, about Doug Ford’s well-documented record as a Toronto city councillor of working with his late brother Rob, while he was Toronto’s mayor, of taking a wrecking ball to public services.
Listening to these people cry and complain now adds further weight to something Winston Churchill once said; “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
But enough of that. Let’s get back to that “message of hope and prosperity” made by the voters of Ontario a year ago this June 7th.
So hey friends! How many of you out there are up for having a first anniversary victory party for Doug Ford and his self-anointed “Government for the People?
Maybe I will catch some of you out at one of the local bars at 9 in the morning, pounding back some of the premier’s “one-buck beers.”
And no complaining, now!
There is that old line that goes: “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.”
As of June 7th, 2018, I’ve changed that to say; “If you voted for Ford, you have no right to complain.”
So saddle up to the bar, friends, and have another beer. It’s only a buck now, isn’t it?
And what else would you rather be doing at 9 in the morning than pounding back a cold one on Doug Ford.
For the record, here is a video you can click on below to watch and listen to Doug Ford’s victory address on June 7th, 2018 –
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders