Ford wants a banana republic – but there are no bananas

Alex Gregory

Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place

After a disastrous attempt at policing their way out of a pandemic, which subsequently provided their opposition all the ammunition they needed — no pun intended — to rightly call them out, the PC Party finds itself playing catchup amid a wave of negative press caused by what I can charitably describe as one of the worst provincial press conferences in recent memory.

At least the last time a province was this rudderless — during Wynne’s era — the dissatisfaction and attempts to have candidates’ distance themselves from their sitting leader happened in hallways and in front of homes during the campaign trail.

They didn’t have sitting the caucus collectively blasting the Premier in the press for “losing the plot,” nor did they have sitting MPPs outright come out, as Roman Baber and Christina Mitas did this weekend, to publicly rally their own caucus in defiance of Ford’s measures.

I should congratulate Ford. He has done the impossible — allied every single provincial party, including his own, in unison against him. Truly a modern political miracle.

It takes a certain degree of deliberate pre-planning to screw up a press conference in such a spectacular fashion that it causes big city mayors and every municipal police force to speak out against you. That takes skill.

I sat and watched as the purported leader and his inner circle of an entire province gaslit the population and blamed them for the failings of the government.

Rarely have I seen an act so inept and so tone-deaf that it was responsible for mangling an entire political party, and I’ve seen a lot in my career.

Our current Prime Minister, whose antics and scandals are so commonplace that they barely warrant a mention anymore. Expecting municipal/regional police forces across this country to conduct random checks without a reason was never going to fly, and I’m surprised it got past the drawing board.

Nevermind how difficult it already is to keep a lid on the major incidents within the region — protestors attempting to replicate a Caledonia-style blockade in Malton earlier this month is evidence enough of that.

Ford’s law would be shut down or thrown out the moment a resident in a marginalized neighbourhood gets ticketed $750 for being out on a walk.

Non-essential construction restricted? Any company worth its salt already had multiple permits lined up for just this circumstance.

Not enough vaccines to go around? You could have navigated to a message board last week where people were posting locations of pharmacies that needed to offload doses of AstraZeneca set to expire. Thousands of such doses, in fact. “Literally every dose is going into an arm” was such a bold-faced lie that I’m amazed anyone bought it, and it’s no wonder the feds stepped in to clarify that there was nothing stopping the PCs from lowering the age limit.

Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton proudly claiming that the province is doing “everything it can” to protect manufacturing and warehouses?

Call me when you have a credible plan to put mobile vaccine clinics outside warehouses, or actively mandate that frontline workers take the shot.

Let’s also be clear here. Dr. Lawrence Loh’s revised policy to shut down workplaces that have active outbreaks is something that should have been done a year ago. You don’t get full marks for turning in your term paper twenty minutes after the exam ended.

Where was the Region when the Bolton Amazon fulfillment centre had its major outbreak last year? Or Maple Lodge Farms? Or the major meat packers in Brampton and Canada post ?

Besides, unless you’re planning to shut down businesses that so critical to the province and country (like the aforementioned Canada Post), this still isn’t enough.

Playgrounds and skate parks were also closed off, prompting Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown to take the unprecedented step of publicly calling on his staff to research how to refuse the provincial order.

Ford’s attempt to institute such restrictions and guidelines in the province has given us a black eye — you don’t have to look further than the Washington Post, a major U.S. publication, outright calling for his resignation.

This province and its people have a right to be angry. Ford blamed the populace for his government’s own mismanagement and was then forced to backtrack when both the authorities and the populace collectively told hm to pound sand.

If nothing else, I am immensely proud of our local police forces, including Peel Police, Toronto police, for taking a stand against such non- sensical policymaking.

I hope, going forward, that this is a significant learning lesson for Ford’s MPPs — and that when the time comes, we make the choice for our next government with clear minds and wide eyes.

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About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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