Premier Ford: 'the vengeful little ‘man of all the people’ with a healthy disrespect for democracy.


Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 29th, 2018


“I stand with Mayor Tory… that is a direct affront on democracy… That is tin pot dictator stuff.” (Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi – Friday July 27, 2018))

Is anyone really surprised? Doug Ford is showing his real colours – the vengeful little ‘man of all the people’ with a healthy disrespect for democracy, the political process, and the people within it. Friday was the last day for municipal nominations and without any public discussion or forewarning, King Ford decided to cut the size of Toronto’s city council by almost 50%. Of course this caught everyone by surprise, and especially those candidates who had already submitted their nomination papers for wards which now no longer exist.

doug-ford hard face

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Ford apparently has the power to do pretty much what he wants. But everyone is asking why this wasn’t part of the PC election campaign. Its’ common knowledge that he and his late brother, the former mayor, had long harboured an ambition to punish City Council, and/or its mayor. After all Mayor Tory beat Ford in the last election.

Still if that was in the cards, why didn’t Ford nation mention the intention to downsize City Hall during the campaign. Our new Mr. ‘Create-a-Crisis’ is also cancelling elections for regional chair in Peel, in an attempt to contain former PC leader Patrick Brown, who was in the running. After all, once Brown wins his defamation law suit against CTV, he’ll be coming after Ford.

So Mr. ‘Wreck-it-Ralph’ is on the move. At least everyone understood from what existed of his piecemeal campaign that Ford was going to kill the province’s market-based climate change plan, scrap sex-education in schools and shut down Ontario’s renewable energy programs. It was an incredibly wrong-headed, in fact bone-headed, set of promises, if for no other reason than Ford and his team had yet to invent plausible alternatives to these purposeful policies.

Now Ontario taxpayers will be subjected to a long, divisive and costly legal battle with the federal government, which will implement it’s own carbon tax here this year. And that will be more costly than the one Ford has just cancelled. And nobody with half a brain expects the courts to side with Ford, particularly as how the feds will be returning all of the money collected back to Ontario’s households.

Schools will go back to teaching a 1998 version of sex-education, which predates the emergence of the real dangers of sexual predation on the internet, gender issues and the topic of consent, as an eleventh-hour stop gap promise to Wreck-it Ralph’s party’s religious-right wing. In the end, of course, the government will likely just repackage the current sex-ed curriculum and re-implement it. After all, education is neither liberal nor conservative – it is just education. And this poly-boo-hoo over sex-ed was just about winning the election.


A smog day in Toronto – most people thought these were a thing of the past – are there smog days ahead of us?

And ending the expansion of our renewable energy systems will condemn us to even greater reliance on climate-changing natural gas, and/or a return to imports of US coal fired electricity to meet Ontario’s emerging need for electricity. Importing US power in US dollars will be costly, though the biggest price will be deteriorating air quality, as we possibly move back to the era of smog days. Note that there were no smog days in the last year (2015) of phasing out coal burning compared to 53 a decade earlier.

Ford’s claim that he’ll be saving Ontario families $260 or so by killing cap and trade is as laughable as his assertion that it’ll only cost $5 million to do so. Has anyone seen buck-a-bottle beer yet or noticed that the pump prices have fallen by anything like the dime he promised? I’m looking forward to my 20% income tax rebate and another 12% off my hydro bill.

Ford with Tory

Toronto Mayor John Tory on the left in conversation with Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

He says he’s gutting TO’s city hall, making Toronto the most under represented city in Ontario, in order to save the city $25 million dollars. But the city will need to hire more staff to deal with the additional demand of now twice as many residents per Councillor. And that means that the costs will likely increase. And while we understand Ford’s disregard for Toronto’s politicians, does he really want to replace them with more bureaucrats? Doesn’t this remind everyone of how Mike Harris forced amalgamation on Toronto to supposedly save taxpayers money?

It’s easier to tear down than to build up again. And while Ford told us a bit about what he would be doing, he kept secret all the other plans he must have had, like reducing democracy in Toronto. Perhaps he hadn’t been warned by his entourage about how the public might react to such a draconian measure? Or perhaps downsizing was just a spontaneous thought that hit him when he read that municipal office nominations were closing on Friday?

Smog minimize use

The sign says it all.

Ford came to his position as party leader in a hurry and Ontario voters, at least 40% of them, were also in an almost inexplicable hurry to get rid of the Liberals. So Ontario voters might have been a little hasty. And there is little comfort for those who ignore those time-worn adages like haste makes waste, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The truth is that when you put garbage in a refrigerator it won’t take long until the fridge begins to smell like a garbage can.

And speaking of garbage, that was one of Ontario’s new premier’s claims to fame. As one-time Councillor he and his bro, Mayor Rob, dragged the rest of Toronto’s Council, fighting and screaming, into privatizing garbage collection. Oh, and there’s another adage which applies to the last provincial election: ‘garbage in… garbage out’.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Ford on Carbon Tax –    Carbon Taxes –    Climate Change

Ford’s Toronto –    More Toronto –    Smog Days –    Ford’s Powers

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19 comments to Premier Ford: ‘the vengeful little ‘man of all the people’ with a healthy disrespect for democracy.

  • Mike

    Folks, the question here across all the rhetoric is reducing the size and therefore cost of government. Ford said this was his direction and I am hopeful there will be more, like getting rid of 2-tier municipal governments. In Halton we no longer need a regional government. The towns/cities are mature enough. Keeping some services regional still likely makes sense (waste management for example) and can be managed by a board of councilors from the towns/cities but bureaucracy and therefore cost could be dramatically reduced (no need for a regional chair position,no duplicate planning department, duplicate finance department, duplicate clerk, etc).

    For anyone that had ever been on management committee or board, you will know first hand that more people on it does not make it more effective or efficient. Once you get a reasonable cross section of representation, usually having 8-12 people, more just causes waste. And as for asking people for their opinion on this ….ask them at the same time to take $20 from their pocket to pay for the extra positions and see what they say. These surveys are biased in the way they ask the question – no balance of the fact that this costs money…..hundreds of thousands for each councilor and staff, let alone extra work they inflict on the bureaucracy.

    Outcry by folks that are losing well paying taxpayer funded jobs that are not needed and add no value…..I am sleeping much better now that Ford is there and Wynne is not. She would have spent billions of dollars already that we don’t have (like the mortgage to reduce Hydro rates).

    Glad to see our government turned the right direction.

    • Mike

      Clipped from a story in the Milton Champion Aug 2, 2018…..supports the comment I made about reducing government. We no longer need the 2 tiers of municipal government.

      ” ……In late February, Milton councillors unanimously approved the relocation of the ReStore from downtown’s Brown Street to 151 Steeles Ave. E., an almost two-hectare tract of land.

      At the time, Habitat also received approvals from the town to defer payment of development charges related to its relocation.

      The Region of Halton appealed Milton’s zoning bylaw amendment of the Steeles Avenue site to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), stating the town’s land-use policy is in conflict with the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, the growth plan for the Golden Horseshoe and the region’s own official plan.

      Habitat’s ReStore sells donated building supply materials, furniture and fixtures to benefit the organization’s home-building endeavours. ….”

  • Ray Rivers

    Thanks for your comments Mr. White. But while you are correct in pointing out the the availability of fracked low cost natural gas helped the US reduce its coal consumption, and thus greenhouse emissions, for electricity production, the other reason the US showed progress here was that, like Canada, much of its heavy industrial output was relocated to other places, Mexico and China in particular. We should revisit that point after a couple years of America First.

  • rob n

    Acting without thinking through the implications will get you into trouble. It looks like we, the people, are in for trouble thanks to Mr. Ford’s actions.

    The cap and trade will not be cheap, or easy to resolve, costing taxpayers money.
    The school curriculum reversion is a messy internal PC battle, causing division amongst the ranks.
    The authoritarian decree of redistricting Toronto Wards and eliminating various Regional chairs shows disregard for engagement and democratic values.

    This in the first month of Doug Ford’s ‘leadership’.

    What’s next? Look for a rough ride in the next 4 years.

  • KJ

    Love it. The more lefties like Ray whine and moan, the better I sleep at night.

    • rob n

      Nice attitude KJ.

      Leviticus 19:18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbour as yourself.”

  • T. White

    I am trying to understand how and when more politicians has ever been a good thing. As it is Toronto has a hard enough time getting anything done because there is too many councillors talking and not enough of them doing anything. Toronto had consultations to add more council members but no one asked the public what they thought. I think Ray has it completely wrong. The taxpayers shouldn’t be paying councillors to talk and issue to death. Doug Ford did say he was considering reducing council during the Ontario election. He just didn’t make it part of his election platform. Kinda like Kathleen Wynne did with the Carbon Tax. Guess it was okay for her though. We should be focusing on the facts and not personal outrage. You say “wreck it” but if you look at the U.S., it has deregulated a lot of its energy sector and it now leads all countries in reducing carbon emissions thanks to Bush’s policy to allow more fracking. We can’t even get a pipeline built let along fracking. Ford wants to allow marijuana sales in corner stores along with alcohol. Sounds good to me. Data shows that more minors are able to get away with buying beer at the LCBO then at privately operated stores in selected markets in Ontario. Why is this? Could be that the LCBO is unionized and employees there don’t have to worry about losing their jobs if they accidentally sell to minors. Don’t see how this will change with Marijuana. Schools are a joke in this province and to imply that parents don’t know whats best for their kids or that they don’t have a right to make that determination without interference from government is also laughable.
    So far I haven’t seen anything outrageous in what Ford has done to date but hey, i’m just a regular working taxpayer who grew up in the 90’s so what do I know!

  • Ray Rivers

    Thanks for your comments everyone – and Steve D not sure which poll you were referring to but the recent Forum Poll had almost half those polled disapproving and only a third agreeing with the Premier.

  • Susan L.

    As I see it, the voters had 3 main choices:
    The Neo-Liberal who nobody wanted back in, including myself.
    The N.D.P. who said they would always support the Unions no matter what they demanded and who were tarred with a bad reputation after Bob Rae.
    And a pig in a poke, as the expression goes. Someone who ran without a platform.

    Doug Ford’s former Chief of Staff wrote, “Doug is a physical bully. He can be quick to anger, and, when opposed, puffs himself up and attempts direct intimidation, threatening physical violence, or some form of retribution or retaliation.” This is what we are seeing now and I expect to see more of this behaviour in the future.

    What he did was legal but his timing was cruel and immoral. This is what can happen when you vote for a pig in the poke.

  • Gary

    Everybody had a read on Doug Ford before he was elected. They voted fo him. Try not to disrespect the outcome of a democratic election process with your hatred and vitriol towards the individual. If he is successful during his term he will likely be re-elected, if not he will voted out next time around – that is how it works in a democracy.

    • Oxy Moron

      So are you suggesting that we should not criticize the Premier until the next election? There is ample evidence from his dark past, antics while a City councillor, termination of energy contracts without regard for the law suits that will follow, and now an “enemies” list, that you (not me) elected a petty, ignorant, and disgusting man.
      It is impossible to separate the man from the policies. One Trump is enough.

  • Hans

    One thing that Ford seems to have “achieved” is to divert the focus, at least temporarily, from the sex-ed curriculum debate.

    • D Walker

      Good point! It’s a classic Trump move – don’t like the news cycle? Get them to talk about something else.

  • Steve D

    Gee, a recent poll from a major toronto liberal news site had the, vast, overwhelming, majority vote for the reduction.

  • When your arguments take the form of personal attacks and name-calling it’s a pretty clear admission you don’t have anything valid or worthwhile to say.

  • Philip Waggett

    “Ontario voters..were in an inexplicable hurry to get rid of the Liberals”. Really Ray, you need to get a grip! The Liberals were decimated in the provincial election due to (in no particular order): excessive taxation and stale family incomes, a delusional energy policy, rising deficits and a massive increase in the provincial debt, government corruption, and a growing dissatisfaction with the nanny state. Time to get over it—your party lost big time!

  • Frank

    “wreck it” Ray appears to be a disgruntled bureaucrat.who loves big government.

  • Hello Ray, the day after Ford was elected party leader I put a note on the PC website asking if members weren’t embarrassed for having elected a Mini-Me Trump. It was amazing the storm this created and the accusations made against me. Now I bet some of those people who vilified me are sorry they didn’t see what a tin-pot dictator they chose to lead their party. I am also sure that many of those who voted for Ford for the sake of change rather than for sound reasons are beginning to regret their mistake. I am also wondering whether the so-called Ford Nation public realized that every time they attended on of the Ford parties, they participated in the old game of buying votes that used to take place down east a lot until well into the 1970s. The Irvings were famous for that. Well, as the saying goes, there are none so blind as those who will not see.

    • Hans

      It’s ironic that the majority of PCs did not vote for Ford as their party leader in the leadership contest’s popular vote, but now they are stuck with having to support this proverbial dimwitted bull in a china shop.
      I expect that they will resolve their cognitive dissonance in the same manner as Mr. Waggett; i.e., by focusing on perceived Liberal failures instead of the successes; e.g., the much cleaner air that we are all breathing since the shutdown of coal fired power plants, and a very low unemployment rate. We can now look forward to enlightened Ford policies such as allowing marijuana sales at corner stores.
      It’s going to be an interesting three years…….