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Who voted for this?

by Patrick Raftis

Lately, it seems, the premier nobody wanted spends a lot of time solving problems that exist, if at all, pretty far off most people’s radar.

To recap: Doug Ford won the Progressive Conservative leadership in a hastily organized contest due to a convoluted electoral formula. Despite losing both the popular vote and riding by riding count, Ford narrowly prevailed over chief rival Christine Elliott by virtue of an electoral points system weighted on the number of ballots cast in a given riding.

On general election night, a Ford-led PC party captured only 40 per cent of the popular vote, but that was good enough to win in 60 per cent of the ridings.

Now, despite the fact 60 per cent of Ontarians voted for more left-leaning parties, Ford touts his majority and is able to govern as if all were willing conscripts to Ford Nation.

So Ontarians watch as Ford follows a template made infamous by the last Ontario Conservative government, including reckless deregulation and cuts to health, education and social systems. Perhaps it’s because most of the solutions Ford and his minions (which is what he’s reduced his cheering-section MPPs to) put forward to real issues in important areas are so poorly thought out they blow up in their faces, that they also seem compelled to simultaneously promote a series of meaningless, and generally liquor-related, distractions.

“Buck a Beer,” booze in corner stores and longer liquor hours have all been promised, if not always delivered by Ford and company.

This week, just prior to the release of his government’s first budget, Ontarians are being promised U.S.-style tailgating parties, sure to be a hit with police force across Ontario who have spent decades combatting the concept of “trunk bars” at gathering places across the province. Was this an election issue? Did I miss it?

Also this week, Ford Nation is floating the elimination of front license plates as a means to shave a few pennies off the cost of the licensing system in Ontario. Eliminating half the licence plates in the province equates to eliminating half the opportunities to identify people involved in crime; that was the essence of the reaction of some police officials.

With such entertaining distractions in play, one can only imagine what gems await in the provincial budget, set for publication about the same time as this column.

April 12, 2019


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