Honouring people for their contributions to our society is a timeless human tradition. There have also been those times when we have taken down the statues or have erased the names of those we determine to have erred in their responsibilities. I mention this at a time when people are talking about honouring former Toronto mayor Rob Ford who loved football and also loved smoking crack cocaine. They want his name attached to the current Centennial Park Stadium in the formerly Etobicoke area of Toronto. Let’s just hope, that in years to come, we do not realize that the two loves are not equal. Does one excuse the other?
Would we, for example, seek to obliterate the memories of John A. Macdonald because of his fondness for whisky? Did he not still accomplish the task of creating this Canada? And did he not succeed in his duties to accomplish this new country’s rails of steel from coast to coast? Sir John has been dead these many years lying in a long- neglected family plot. The debates on his accomplishments run on. He can have the credit for bringing this country together but he was also here for the attempts to take the native out of our aboriginal peoples. It was a common direction in his time.
And who would want to honour the former Toronto mayor’s older brother whom the younger tutored in politics. Doug Ford got into politics as a replacement city councillor when his younger brother ran for mayor. The older brother lost his subsequent bid for the mayoralty after Rob Ford’s death.
And yet, when he lucked into the leadership of the provincial conservatives and ended up as premier of Ontario, his first act in office was to vent his anger at his former enemies at Toronto city hall. His administration restricted the salaries of those in medicine and education. He was caught up in the pandemic and struggled through his first term. His second term saw him caught up in inflationary pressures, unexpected and concerning. And yet he has still cut the spending by the Ontario government at a time when government has to make sure that it is looking after its responsibilities. While Ford has been very generous in his help for his developer friends, we have seen our universities starved for the funds they need to do their critical job for the province. Doug Ford is always a salesman, never an academic.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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