It is hard to tell if the pandemic is helping hide premier Doug Ford’s agenda for Ontario or just slowing it down. His plans seem to be everything except the stuff you would hear in a speech from the lieutenant governor. It is enough that he keeps confusing Ontario residents on how to handle covid-19. His real agenda seems to keep coming out with surprise packages for us.
When he first took office, it was all about him. He got even with his old enemies on Toronto city council by cutting the number to be elected in half. He stopped former conservative leader Patrick Brown from running for the top dog role in Peel County. He asked the provincial police to provide him with a ‘comfort wagon’ for his trips around his province. He even picked an old friend to run the provincial cops for him.
It seemed he was also picking the least qualified people to do cabinet level jobs. The classic was the initial choice of Caroline Mulroney as attorney general. All her legal training and experience was in New York State. That did not last long. She is currently transportation minister and minister of francophone affaires. I assume, she can, at least, speak French.
Another example of his curious choices is political publicist Stephen Lecce, a graduate of a private school—St. Michaels in Toronto—as the replacement minister of education. His parliamentary assistant in this is a very young Sam Oosterhoff MPP who is a product of home schooling. It is difficult to guess what Mr. Ford had in mind here but he would do almost anything to get rid of all those expensive teachers. Watch for more remote learning by computers when the pandemic is over.
Mr. Ford must also be less than impressed with a university education. He certainly is not rushing to save Laurentian University in Sudbury from bankruptcy during the problems created by the pandemic.
His plans to cut costs in medical care in Ontario also seem to have been upset by the pandemic. The people in the local health units around Ontario are scrambling to try to save their jobs while the actual costs of the pandemic are escalating every day.
But it is plans for his friends who have invested heavily in land around the proposed new Highway 413 that is even more concerning for him. It is a highway that makes no sense unless you own lots of land in the area and want to develop it.
Maybe, sometime, before the next provincial election, Mr. Ford will tell us what he has in mind.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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