Like his hero, Donald Trump, Ontario premier Doug Ford has few friends. He has followers, he has some like-minded associates and he has those who pander to him. He is brash and loud and not the warm cuddly type. And as a politician, he thinks he has no peer.
And when the federal election comes, conservative leader Erin O’Toole hopes Doug Ford goes away and stays away. He needs no reminders of the incompetency of Doug Ford in the critical province where the federal conservatives need to make inroads.
Worse still, all the competitive political parties in the Ontario legislature have promised to never cooperate with a Doug Ford minority government. What that means is that if Ford’s conservatives should end up with a plurality of seats next June but not a majority, he could get the heave-ho as premier.
It used to be in Ontario if a party had the majority, the party leader would be allowed to form a government. It was considered the proper thing to do in the club-like atmosphere of the Ontario Legislature. We smashed the club-like atmosphere in 1985.
On election day that year I was about to go into my riding’s liberal committee room when Hershel Ezrin, liberal leader David Peterson’s executive assistant was leaving. We stopped to chat about the election.
We had a friendly argument in that I told him that I expected the count that evening would reduce the conservatives to a minority government but they might still maintain the most seats. The problem was, at the time, that the urban rural split gave rural seats an advantage and the conservatives looked to win those rural ridings. Hershel disagreed with my analysis.
I said, whatever, he and David Peterson had to be ready to bargain with Bob Ray of the NDP to dump the Tories. We had more than 30 years of conservative rule in Ontario at that point and we had to be able to prove to Ontario voters that the provincial liberals could do the job.
The next thing I heard about it was that long-time liberal MPP Bob Nixon and Hershel were in negotiations with Bob Rae.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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