Posts Tagged ‘Doug Ford’

Dougie dumbs it down.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

You get the impression that our Ontario premier goes to the office each day hoping to find new things to screw up for Ontario residents. Despite the tantrum he threw the other day over a high-priced grocery store overcharging for sanitary wipes, I never get the impression that he is on our side. He is not.

I do not believe of making lists of peoples’ failings and in Doug Ford’s case I have probably forgotten half of them anyway. I think the reason is the lack of logic in what he and his troop of clowns decide to tackle. For some reason, he had taken aim at price gouging this past week.

It was Dougie’s ‘whim of the week.’ He is proposing fines of as much as a $100,000 for price-gouging convictions and up to a year in jail. If he could go after a federally incorporated company such as Bell Canada, I would settle for just the board of Bell going to jail for a year. Bell just raised the price of already over-priced Internet services by another $7 a month. Add that up for close to three million customers and you are talking about a billion dollars in annual cash flow. Bell could pay a $100,000 fine from petty cash.

But the most serious problem is that Dougie and the rest of his troop do not think things through. The gang heard that some people might be stock piling their meds. The government’s solution was to stupidly cut back on certain meds that are for long-term conditions such as with heart and diabetes. These drugs are usually supplied on a three-month schedule. I really doubt anyone would over-dose on any of them. There is certainly no black market for them. Nor are they in danger of being in short supply. All this incompetent government did was increase the costs for private drug plans and seniors. Instead of one co-pay for these prescriptions every three months, we now have to pay the co-pay three times. I really do not think my local Shoppers Drug Mart needs that extra $12 per prescription every three months from seniors!


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Leadership is in the eyes of the followers.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2020

Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star wrote an opinion piece last week that commented on Doug Ford of Ontario looking “downright ‘leaderly’.” I rarely argue with Hepburn, but in this case, I sense some wishful thinking. True, Ford is running a notch or two ahead of Trump but nobody ever saw that as a high bar.

I don’t think anyone convinced Ford of anything. I think they simply scared him into acting the way he is. He didn’t need a visit from Marley’s ghost to warn him of the coming visitations. He simply left behind the childish traits of bluster and braggadocio that have been his trademark in politics. It was time to act grown up.

I must have seen some of the same news clips as Mr. Hepburn. I agree that Ford acted as he believed a real leader might. None of the usual bombast was a treat in itself. The guy felt he had to stick with the prepared script. He has no ad libs for a coronavirus.

Let’s face it, Doug Ford is no Donald Trump. He is not rich enough. He is not a good enough con man. He does not have as much ego. He got much of his political training from his late brother Rob. As mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford knew how to pull the mantle over himself for the rough spots. Their mother was watching.

But when he got to Queen’s Park and the corner office, Doug had no idea how to act. His bluster was real. He really did not know what he was doing. He launched a vendetta against anything those liberals had done and got himself in lots of trouble. He fired and hired and made a mess of it. He cut budgets he should not have and missed the low-hanging fruit. He thought he could look like the big-man on campus and made himself look stupid.

And he is probably not any smarter today. He has not learned much but he might not be as easy to catch. We will watch him.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The imperfect timing of Doug Ford.

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

It seems that no matter what he does, Ontario’s premier Doug Ford, finds that it always costs more than he saves when he makes cuts in Ontario’s government budgets. It costs him money to fire people. It costs him money to cancel projects. It costs him friends when he cuts health or education budgets. And when he tries to give friends jobs, he is held up to ridicule by the media. He is beginning to think it is just that he does some things at the wrong time.

Probably the best example of Doug’s bad timing is this Covid-19 pandemic. Why only a year ago, he had decisively dumped some of the costs of public health services on Ontario’s municipalities. Even Mayor John Tory of Toronto dumped all over him for that.

But Doug Ford is not without experience at fixing things for people who are upset. He tells them that his government is restoring funding—maybe not all the funding—but maybe enough of the funding to get him off the hook for being a curmudgeon. He gave the whole thing a grace period and it would be in 2020 that some cuts would still be made. Which everyone grumbled about but figured it could have been worse.

And welcome to 2020. The budget-squeezed public health services had been complaining but are still doing their jobs. Nobody told the public health people that in 2020, they were going to have to face a possible pandemic called a coronavirus or Covid-19.

The only person that Covid-19 has helped is Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips. It means he can blow the lid off his projected $9 billion deficit planned for the coming fiscal year. He has to give the health ministry and others whatever they need to help battle the pandemic.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Doug Downey doubles down.

Friday, March 13th, 2020

That nice guy, Bill Davis, one-time Ontario premier, must be having some sleepless nights. Those idiots in his conservative party are busy destroying Bill’s legacy. They spend more money on their dumb ideas than any other Ontario government in the past. And they never get anything right. From the premier who wants to only appoint cronies to any job and personally picks stickers for gas pumps and license plates, to that education minister who acts like a fugitive from the Godfather movies, to an attorney general who ignores a common sense approach to appointments, this is a conservative government from Hell.

Did you hear about the latest dumb stunt by my MPP? Yes, Doug Downey is the member of the legislature from Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. This guy’s justice ministry has more than 30 committees working to attract, vet and advise on Ontario citizens suitable to serve on all the legal and other appointments by the government of the day.

But what does Downey do? This schmuck appoints a Toronto police officer—a friend of the premier’s—to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. The cop did not even apply for the job. It appears this appointment is by Dougie, for Dougie, to appoint Dougie’s friend.

And, has the independent integrity commissioner ever got his shirt in a knot about this stupidity. I have no idea of the per cent of cases brought before the human rights commission dealing with policing but my guess is the cop would have to recuse himself at some time, at every meeting of the commission. I am sure we could all appreciate the insights that a former cop could bring to the commission’s work but not while still employed at policing.

And one further note: Doug Ford is younger but I remember driving through American states and seeing the Berma-Shave series ads along the highways. Maybe he also might have noticed them. It is no excuse though to be waxing nostalgic for billboard advertising along the 400-series highways of Ontario. He is talking about opening our scenic controlled-access highways to advertising. He must be desperate.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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“Most stupid people are conservative.”

Monday, March 9th, 2020

This will be of small comfort to premier Doug Ford of Ontario. A friend reminded me the other day of the quote from 19th Century philosopher John Stuart Mill that “Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” And the Ford government keeps on proving it.

Mind you, I am concerned that Ontario’s teachers might have not yet recognized that they have won their battle. It is time for them to take a victory lap and get the hell back to work. They have inconvenienced the parents long enough. Goodwill is a fragile commodity.

All teachers should have two side-by-side pictures in their classroom. Both pictures should be of education minister, Stephen Lecce. In the first, you will be able to admire the fine cut of that expensive suit, the positiveness of his demeanour, the toothy smile and the smooth trim of that immature beard. That is the first picture.

The second picture should show him snugged into his straight jacket, the wild look in his eyes, the mussed hair and the craven look of defeat. This should be what victory looks like.

But I warned the friend that despite the general consensus in Ontario that Doug Ford is something of a jerk, about 25 to 30 per cent of the voters are yellow-dog conservatives. And that, no matter what, they still want to vote for Mr. Ford and his conservatives. Short of putting a bounty on them, they are going to the polls and voting that way.

The problem is further befuddled that another 25 to 30 per cent of Ontario voters are yellow-dog liberals. They might have a slightly different attitude. The only real difference between them is that they tend to be city mice. They are also inclined to be a bit more progressive.

It should also be noted that there are those who are of the dying breed of socialists who like to sing Solidarity Forever. These NDP still have about 15 per cent of the voters supporting them. It is more for the sake of nostalgia than any idea that it will take them anywhere.

But this still leaves a bunch of voters who are not really committed. These are the people who vote against something or get behind the voting screen and say, “Eeny, meany, miney, moe,” close their eyes and vote. You would like to think these people really decide the election but they often just go with the flow.

Obviously, it is not just conservatives who can be stupid.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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Riding the bubble.

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

It helps if you think of the main aspirants for the federal conservative party leadership as Bland, Blander and Who(?) This perception was highlighted the other day. It seems one of them promised—if chosen—that they would immediately try to force an election to rid the country of those despicable liberals. The other two immediately chimed in with a “Me too.”

All three want to ride the bubble. The bubble is something that occurs whenever there is a leadership change in a major party. It is that sudden, and temporary, lift in the opinion polls that the party gets from the publicity surrounding the choice of a new leader.

It works, sometimes. The last time I saw it work well was in 1968. We called it Trudeaumania. Our present prime minister’s father got the impression that he was omnipotent in that election. He later learned that omnipotence has a short shelf-life.

Trudeau Junior thought he was riding the bubble back in 2015, when he had such an easy victory and a majority government. That was no bubble. Justin was cashing in on the voter exhaustion with the machinations of the Harper government and the hope that Trudeau was like his father. It took the voters the next four years to realize they might have bought a pig in a poke.

That is one of the problems with the bubble. You are often getting lots of publicity at the time but it is without substantive content. And sometimes a picture really is more effective than 1000 words.

But the bubble is real. Some people will say that in the 2018 provincial election in Ontario, you could have painted any idiot blue and he would have beat Kathleen Wynne and her liberals. And, they did, and he did.

The bubble worked that time because there was just not enough time. If Ontario voters had time to think about it, more time to understand Doug Ford, there might not have been the landslide that they are now regretting.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The downhill dance of Doug Downey.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

It is all Caroline Mulroney’s fault. Nobody wants a member of the legislature who constantly embarrasses the people in his riding. We sure got that in spades in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. And if only Caroline Mulroney knew more about Canadian and Ontario legal traditions, she would still be attorney general.

Instead, Ontario has the embarrassing Doug Downey, a small-town lawyer from Severn, Ontario, as attorney general. Ford parachuted him into the Barrie area seat to keep Patrick Brown out. It is not that I think Downey is stupid but he seems to be in dereliction of duty when he does what his boss, Doug Ford tells him to do. Consider Downey’s struggles to change how we appoint judges in Ontario:

Downey’s boss is not a highly educated person. He is a great believer in cronyism. He wants people in positions of power in Ontario to be good conservatives—this includes judges.

But how is Downey going to tell the good guys from the bad guys if he is only sent two recommendations of qualified people, when he asks the independent committee to give him some recommendations?

There might have been more than a couple of formal letters go back and forth here. The upshot was that he finally asked the committee to send him a list of all the applicants. It would appear that Downey was going to put cronyism ahead of having qualified judges.

That might have made sense to Downey but it outraged many of the legal community in Ontario. The province has an envied reputation throughout Canada and the U.S. for its non-partisan judicial appointments.

But what should be obvious to all in Ontario is that this guy Downey does not seem to have read the specifications for his job at Queen’s Park. As chief law officer for the province, he has a responsibility to advise the premier and the various ministers of the crown on how to stay out of legal entanglements. Failure to provide this advice and/or having it ignored is not acceptable for an honourable person. He should resign.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The difference between men and boys.

Friday, February 21st, 2020

It seems that the difference between men and boys is generally believed to be the size of their toys. We might see a real-life difference soon if former MPP Steven Del Duca wins the leadership of the Ontario liberals. And, then again, we might find that Del Duca is not all that different from Ontario premier Doug Ford.

They both like playing with trains. They do not seem to like just being observers. They want to pull on those engineers’ caps and toot the whistle themselves. Organizationally, Ford should leave the job to his transport minister, but since that is currently Caroline Mulroney, she knows far less than he does on the subject—not that he knows much!

Del Duca, at least, did a stint as transport minister under Kathleen Wynne. He got demoted before he could get Metrolinx to add a GO station in his riding. Not only is it considered a no-no at Queen’s Park to interfere with an arms-length planning agency such as Metrolinx, the station in Del Duca’s riding had already been considered and found unnecessary.

But we should all be more curious about Doug Ford’s ‘Ontario Line.’ This is a Toronto subway line that starts from nowhere—somewhere around the Exhibition Grounds—and ends up at the extremely busy junction of Don Mills and Eglinton Avenue. It makes you wonder just what he has in mind for the Lake Ontario end of the line? And why is the plan feeding that supposed relief line into an already congested junction at the Eglinton end?

But his problems are hardly as obvious as when Ford wanted the provincial police to provide him with a large van with a bed in it for him to tour Ontario. We will have to write that one off as inexperience. Our only concern might be if Ford ever gets to understand his job. He would be even more dangerous than he is now.

Mind you, two years from now, Ontario voters could be faced with continuing to write off the NDP and having to choose between a more experienced Doug Ford and a Steven Del Duca, who understudied Kathleen Wynne.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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‘If the system works; corrupt it.’

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

The carpetbagger from Severn, Ontario is certainly doing the job for Ontario premier Doug Ford. Those conservatives who resented the appointment of Doug Downey as conservative candidate in our riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte would have to agree that he is jumping to his master’s bidding. Look at what he is attempting to pass off as an independent recommendation in changing how we appoint judges in this province.

It must all stem from the complaints when Doug had barely warmed the premier’s chair and he tried to appoint a friend as head of the provincial police. This was accompanied by a request for the provincial police to fund a van with sleeping accommodations for the premier to travel about the province.

He might have gotten away with it if his attorney general at the time, Caroline Mulroney, had been trained in law in Canada and had ever practiced law anywhere other than New York State. As you can imagine, the premier’s wishes were soon a hilarious topic around the water coolers in the attorney general’s ministry, and then the Bay Street bars, and then everyone knew. It took a while to figure out what to do with Brian Mulroney’s kid but Ford found another job for her.

And then Ford found the perfect patsy, the small-town lawyer he had appointed to my riding to keep Patrick Brown from running to succeed himself. This guy probably never even looks up from his notes when his driver drives through his riding on Highway 400 on his way from his office at Queen’s Park to his home in Severn.

But his proposed changes in appointing judges has got him noticed. As is typical of the Doug Ford government, nobody had complained about how judges are appointed. Ontario has an international reputation for how it appoints judges. It has a respected judicial appointments advisory committee that screens applicants and ranks at least two qualified applicants for each open position for the attorney general. In the rare case, the attorney general might ask for more.

The proposed change is that the attorney general wants a list of all the qualified applicants for the position. That is recreating the old patronage system. It is many steps backwards for Ontario.


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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The metrics of higher education.

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Ontario premier Doug Ford wants our colleges and universities to earn their way. He wants some measurement on their economic performance. He wants to put a dollar value on that cap and gown. And when the minister of higher education is a lawyer, he seems to believe that such measurement is possible.

It is hardly the first time we have heard this debate. The argument in academe just uses bigger words. We have had the argument in my family. Of five brothers, two have post-graduate degrees and one, who did not finish high school, made quite a few millions.

But when you add it all up, I think it was the brother with the PhD who contributed the most value—as a professor, teaching business students in the U.S. about ethics.

A college drop-out like Doug Ford is probably not overly strong on ethics and he would have benefitted greatly from my brother’s lectures. I even did a guest lecture for my brother on the social responsibility of business when he was teaching at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario.

And this is not the first time there has been an attempt to measure the value of a piece of parchment from a university. I can hardly vouch for the studies, I have heard quoted, that said the average bachelorette in sociology and philosophy returns value to society at about nine or ten to one. It just seems reasonable. It is in accord with the old saying that you do not just give a poor man a fish to eat, you teach him how to fish.

Those ubiquitous ‘soc and phil’ bachelor degrees can simply mean that the recipient has been taught how to think. And just imagine how useful that teaching could have been for premier Ford?


Copyright 2020 © Peter Lowry

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