Rivers concludes that Ford will glide back as Premier - the public seems to want the devil they know

By Ray Rivers

May 28th, 2022



Ontario’s election is more about us, the voters, than the political leadership candidates or their parties.  The pandemic, which is not over yet; the vicious war raging in Ukraine; home affordability and rising gasoline prices at the pumps; another mass shooting and the impending illegality of a woman’s choice to family planning south of the border are uncertainties weighing on the electors before they even enter the voting booth.

Doug Ford: Rivers thinks he is going to get it done

And when we are overloaded with anxiety we most often choose the devil we know to lead us again, as the expression goes.  So it should be no surprise that the polls have Doug Ford’s PCs winning a majority of the seats to form the government for the next four years.  One would think that Mr. Ford’s significant lead in popular support is a testament to his governance since the last election.

But after objectively reviewing his record, as I have in previous columns, that would be a hard case to make.   Perhaps it is Ford’s competition for the job of premier that helps him stand out by contrast.  Liberal leader Steven Del Duca is still an unknown quantity, even after those years as a cabinet minister, and has failed to distinguish himself in this race. The Liberal’s second place standing in the polls likely has more to do with them than their leader.  They are, after all, the natural alternative governing party to the PCs, and the one voters will likely turn to when disaffection sets in with the current crowd ruling the roost at Queen’s Park.

Stephen Del Duca: a bit of a policy wonk who has yet to really connect with the public

And at least on one issue Del Duca and his NDP counterpart are at the other end of the spectrum from Ford.  That is when it comes to climate change.  If one discounts the unlikely scenario of Mr. Putin starting a nuclear war, global warming is the most critical existential crisis we will see in our lifetimes.  And that is not a scare tactic.  We are already experiencing the horrible consequences of global warming and we know it’ll only get worse.

We have seen Mr. Ford kill clean renewable energy projects by the hundreds simply because he doesn’t like wind and solar generation.  Ironically that has led to a potential shortfall in electricity generating capacity and is threatening the prized $2.5 B investment LG had been planning for a battery production facility in Windsor.  So much for Ontario being open for business.

Better the devil you know

Then there was the fight against the carbon tax and the lowering of Ontario’s climate goals, which, regardless, are unlikely to be met.   But most telling was the recent court case over this government’s climate policies by some young plaintiffs.  Future generations will be most affected after all.  Unbelievably, Ford’s witnesses tried to argue that climate change is just a hoax, and the case should be dismissed on those grounds.  That is very telling of Mr. Ford and where he can be expected to lead this province once he is re-elected.

After a crisis, as we’ve experienced with the pandemic, electors sometimes look for a fresh face.  But sometimes they prefer to stick with what they know, a kind of don’t rock the boat phenomenon.  That is what Ontario voters will be doing on election day this week, barring a miracle.  Mr. Ford represents the safe choice in their minds, the conservative voice of stability and steady as she goes.

Andrea Horwath – a safer conservative choice?

And yet of all the parties, the NDP and Andrea Horwath might more appropriately be seen as the safe choice – the conservative option.  She and her party have crafted their platform over a number of years, and while they have included some bold ideas, such as eliminating for-profit long term care, most policies are seasoned and reasoned.    Currently polling in third place, the NDP is still expected to form the official opposition thanks to voting splits.

Mr. Ford knows he’s going to win so he’s playing it safe.  He’s presumably instructed PC candidates to skip the all-candidate debates, where they might actually stumble and tell voters what they really think about abortion, gun control, private education, vaccination and masking – it’s all about ‘hear no evil, believe no evil’.  But what is amazing is how tolerant voters are in accepting that situation.

Are the most conservative among us comfortable voting for a candidate who has been velcro-lipped, and a party which has shared so little of where it is going over the next four years?   If Justin Trudeau tried to do this, there would be howls from the media, and everyone would be labelling him ‘arrogant’.



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7 comments to Rivers concludes that Ford will glide back as Premier – the public seems to want the devil they know

  • Tom Muir

    I watched the debates and paid attention to the PC campaign ads, particularly the female voice accusing the Liberals and NDP, by projection, of doing exactly what Ford and PCs have done throughout the term, but with power and not just talk. Libs and NDP and Greens may have talked some, but Get it Done Ford was the one that did what he wanted because he could.

    With power, he has actually politicized and subverted pretty much everything I value in public health, health care and hospital capacity, nurses and doctors, elder care, education and schools, environment and climate sacrifice to his Growth Plan, and last but not least, Covid mandates with lies about health science supporting everything he did.

    In his campaign he has repeatedly projected his actions on his opponents.

    What I really hate is his subversion of the planning and control of development and growth of our cities, and how he spends our budget money to further his agenda to effectively take over and finance the details of direction and control. It’s this power and policy undermining the things I value. It’s like obvious climate change effects happening, and Covid never going away never happened.

    I want to see self-determination and democracy for people in deciding what we do and how we do it. Ford is intent on taking that away, and all I can do is not vote for him, and tell why.

    It’s funny how we have many views on the candidates. I saw De Luca as a forthright speaker to the issues and what he would do today, not 4 years ago. I liked him the most.

    Andrea, I agreed with Ray, seemed overwrought in the debate and talked way to much right over the others loudly. She did her self no favours, and Ford was smiling.

    Ford almost only criticized his opponents about the past, but ignored what he has done on several fronts that were basically what he accused and criticized the others about. He talked mostly in slogans, about how great he is, and made really unrealistic claims about the feasibility and effectiveness in meaningful time to solve problems with his big plans on roads and Highways to solve gridlock.

    HIghway 413, if ever built, will take 5 -10 years, and gridlock will remain because of the growth he has planned in mind.

    Why would anyone believe him when what he says will happen takes 20 years? He won’t be around to see past the next term, and nothing today exists like it did just 2 years ago with Covid.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Many valid points Ray. Is it me, or have you emerged as more sagaicous and even keeled political pundit?

  • Stephen White

    “If Justin Trudeau tried to do this, there would be howls from the media, and everyone would be labelling him ‘arrogant’.”

    But Ray: Justin Trudeau does precisely this. Doug Ford and his candidates don’t speak at candidates’ events, and Justin Trudeau doesn’t speak with those opposing his policies (i.e. truckers protesting vaccine mandates). The PM couldn’t walk 100 feet outside the Langevin Block to speak with those in the truckers’ convoy to at least hear their concerns and persuade them to suspend their protest. He then brought in the Emergencies Act to deal with a crisis he largely created and silenced discussion. What’s the difference between Trudeau and Ford? Two peas, one pod. BTW….Justin really is arrogant.

    Ford will get re-elected, not so much because he deserves it, but because there is simply no viable alternative. Steven Del Duca was an inconsequential member of the Wynne Cabinet, the same government that ratched up hydro costs resulting in 660,000 residents in the province unable to pay their hydro bills while multi-national corporations were the beneficiaries of single source contracts and sweetheart deals. As for Horwath, she is shrill, hectoring, and the Ontario electorate is simply tired of her and her Party. The kind of virtual signalling she and her caucus extol is both tiresome and WOKE in the same breath.

    Del Duca and Horwath both need to go. If the Liberals were really smart they would dip into their federal caucus to find an aspiring, talented backbench federal MP (e.g. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, John McKay) who has been passed over by Lord Trudeau, and tap them to run. As for the NDP, we’ll have to suffer through another of their protracted, boring, self-absorbing, introspective leadership reviews complete with incessant WOKE symbolism and pandering to every publicly funded special interest pressure group that ever existed.

    Who said politics isn’t fun?

  • Gary

    “another mass shooting and the impending illegality of a woman’s choice to family planning south of the border are uncertainties weighing on the electors before they even enter the voting booth.” And the war in the Ukraine.

    Yup. Ford, DeLuca, Horwath – I know I have been puzzling how each of them will deal with these things. I hope it becomes clear this weekend. We definitely need our provincial parties to find the answer to these things.

    It is not necessary for Conservative candidates to “stumble” and reveal what they really think. We have stalwart Lib types to tell us what they think. You know – the old Tory hidden agenda chestnut.

    • Bob

      “another mass shooting and the impending illegality of a woman’s choice to family planning south of the border are uncertainties weighing on the electors before they even enter the voting booth.” And the war in the Ukraine.

      The mass shooting was in the USA and not a provincial issue
      The abortion and illegality of a woman’s choice is again a USA and not an Ontario issue and if it were it falls on Federal law
      The war in the Ukraine is again not a provincial issue and Ray Rivers knows this.

      Doug Ford has is flaws, very many in fact and so do Andrea and Stephen, but please vote for the candidate addressing PROVINCIAL issues

  • Carol Victor

    Would help to hear about Miriam Maana Burlington’s Liberal candidate who has worked for Karina Gould and has government experience

  • Bruce Leigh

    Sorry, neither Andrea nor Stephen have the charisma to command voters’ confidence the way Ford does. I dislike Ford and his policies but the other two as leaders are soft as compared to him. Liberals and NDP will be choosing new leaders after the election.