A house without manners.

You would think their mother would have taught the Ford boys some manners. Maybe she tried but then maybe it just did not take with her sons. You would think that the crack-smoking younger brother, the late Rob Ford, would have prepared us for the lack of manners in brother Doug Ford. You can dress him up but he brings no decency to Queen’s Park. It is now a place without honour.

Of course, he has help in this. Today’s conservatives in Ontario are not the same quality as the conservatives of our youth. They are not your father and mother’s conservative gentry. They lack the concern, conscientiousness and civility of the Bill Davis era.

Those were the days when it was a pleasure to drop by Queen’s Park. You could park in front of the pink palace, run up the steps, stop for a few minutes of chat with the premier’s chief of staff, give a friendly wave to NDP leader Stephen Lewis and then stop by to see opposition leader Bob Nixon. We were dealing with issues in those days that that could be discussed and often resolved.

My role at the time was that of a functionary of the liberal party. We worked hand-in-glove with the party leader’s staff at Queen’s Park and had a good working relationship with the news media who were based there.

And all of these relationships were built on respect. It was not that we did not argue long and strong for our objectives. We could also listen to the other guys and give consideration for their concerns.

It was not that the house could not be raucous but it seemed to be mainly after a somewhat liquid dinner hour. Evening sessions at the Ontario legislature were never very productive back then.

Listening to Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell reading that speech from the throne entitled hypocritically “A Government for the People” recently helped to show how great the gap was with the past. The document was uncompromising, determined and gave no quarter. None of the customary niceties of a civilized legislature were included. There was no French language in it. There were no niceties. It was a cold, take-no-prisoners, approach.

Looking at Doug Ford’s front bench was particularly chilling. The experienced sat there, pleased with themselves, the newcomers seemingly eager for the blood of those across the floor. Times have changed.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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