Premier Ford and His Bungling Party of Covidiots Have Got to Go
ANews Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted April 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
Anyone who may have watched the live coverage this past April 22nd of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s news conference – zoomed to us from the backyard of his late mother’s home because he is under quarantine due to exposure to a member of his staff tested who tested positive for COVID-19 – might have been struck by his tearful emotion as he apologized for some failures in the way his government has been addressing the COVID plague.
Normally, when a politician shows that kind of contrition – rare for almost any politician these days, and certainly unexpected from a rough-and-tumble street fighter like Doug Ford – one wants to cut them some slack.
But normal does not apply here – not when our families and friends and loved ones, and our communities, including businesses and those who count on them for employment – continue to suffer so much through a third wave of this killer virus that arguably would never have turned this bad had Ford and his minions embraced the warnings and concerns of countless number of health experts and others working on the frontlines to keep essential services open.
So getting back to Ford’s tearful apology this past April 22nd, I could not sum up my response to it better than Tanya Talaga, an Anishinabbbe Canadian journalist who writes columns for The Globe and Mail –
“Mr. Ford shed tears when he made those apologies and reversals. But they are too little, too late,” Talaga wrote in a column that appeared in The Globe and Mail this past Friday, April 23rd..
“How many of our essential moms, dads, brothers, sisters and friends died,” she wrote on, “while Mr. Ford wasted time empowering Ontario’s police? How many more will die before paid sick days actually come into effect? Only decisive action, not saying sorry, will help.
How many indeed.
The Ford Conservatives now have a crystal clear record of marching goose step to an ideology that says – “We are not going to tell business in this province to do anything. In fact, we are going to gas rules and regulations so they can do whatever they want.
The code slogan Ford and his Tories have used for this libertarian way of thinking is “Open for Business,” which may sound fine on the surface. Who is against businesses in our communities doing well? But not at the expense of everything else, from working people to the quality of our environment, doing well.
One looks back at the Ford record during this pandemic and remembers, just as one of the earlier examples, a serious outbreak of COVID at a large farming operation using migrant workers in west St. Catharines. That was during the first wave a year ago this spring and when the operators of this farm were asked about providing the workers with protection, including masks, the response was, in so many words, governments aren’t requiring us to do it.
Did the Ford government then require large, factory farm type operations to do it? No, of course not. These farm operators make up a rock solid piece of the Ford Tories’ political base and there is no way they are going to tell them to do anything.
And more than a year has gone by since representatives for frontline workers in grocery stores and other sectors – never mind the ongoing pleas from opposition political parties – have pressed the Ford government to institute paid sick days.
Why on earth would any business want someone coming in to work with COVID-related symptoms or any other infectious illness like the flu, and run the risk of compromising everyone else in the workplace, because that worker feels they have to make a choice between going to work and losing much-needed income.
Apparently only in jurisdictions like Ontario where business leaders are so greedy and short-sighted, and lack the imagination that other parts of the developed world, in Europe, for example, to come up with a model for paid sick days that benefits businesses and employees alike.
Obviously the Ford government has lacked the will and imagination to do anything on the paid sick days front. And even if they announce a plan now, after more than a year of being hit over the head with a crowbar on the subject, look at all of the damage that has been done to people and the economy in terms of the continued spread of more virulent strains of this virus already.
Ford would not even use his bully pulpit as Ontario’s premier to urge the billionaire Weston family and others, who have been making a fortune through their grocery and pharmacy chains through this pandemic, to continue paying their employees an extra two bucks an hour as a COVID bonus while they risk their health on the frontlines every day.
Then there has been the Ford government’s dead silence on calls to put an end to an era – going back to the Tory government in the 1990s of his friend and mentor Mike Harris – of private, for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario, even though a disproportionate number of COVID deaths among seniors have occurred in homes run by private operators like Harris, who sits on the board of a major LTC home chain.
One could go on and on with the failures of Ford and is incompetent Tory caucus to address what is one of the most clear and present danger Ontario and the world faces, along with the climate emergency, in our lifetime.
Most all of the rest of Ford’s teary-eyed apology address this past April 22nd, retreated back to his playbook of blaming everyone else but himself for the burning fire of this virus now threating us. ‘It is the federal government that isn’t supplying us with enough vaccine.’ It’s the feds that should be funding sick days’. Etc, etc. etc.
It is why the spring of 2022, when the next Ontario election comes and we can vote Ford and every last one of his minions out, cannot come soon enough.
Tor read Tanya Talaga’s full column in The Globe and Mail, click on – https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-ontario-premier-doug-fords-apologies-mean-nothing/ .
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