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LETTER: 'For the people?' Ford's actions say otherwise

'Ford’s government has revealed its true colours in the actions of his government over the past year,' says letter writer
2021-10-04 Doug Ford TADH2 MH
Ontario Premier Dog Ford is shown in a file photo.

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What happened to 'For the People?'

Five years after Ford took the helm of the Ontario government, a look at his actions reveals that what he wants to 'get done' has very little to do with 'the people.' Ford’s government has revealed its true colours in the actions of his government over the past year – and recently:

  • Bill 124 – recently ruled to be 'unconstitutional' by the Ontario courts – limited salary increases for public employees to 1 per cent per year over three years. One million people were affected by this 2019 legislation – including nurses and other hospital workers. At a time during the pandemic when Premier Ford was calling health-care workers 'heroes,' he was simultaneously refusing to honour their right to free bargaining.
  • Bill 28 invoked the 'notwithstanding clause' in advance of his negotiations with CUPE to prevent the courts from interfering with his plans for some of the lowest-paid people in our educational system. Only the threat of a province-wide strike changed his mind.
  • Reports during and since the COVID pandemic suggest that more patients died in privately-run, for-profit long-term care homes than in publicly-run facilities. Ford has ignored these findings and has encouraged more private investment in the long-term care industry.
  • Ford’s government created Minister's Zoning Orders (MZOs) that gave his government minister sole discretion – bypassing local municipal decision-making – to approve development plans in Ontario.
  • Ford has mandated 'strong mayor' powers to Toronto and Ottawa, giving the mayors power to implement decisions even if supported by only one-third of the city councillors – in the process negating the democratic rights and voices of the people who voted for the majority of each city’s councillors.
  • Bill 23, in addition to threatening Greenbelt, will exempt developers from having to pay development fees to municipalities. Municipalities are crying 'foul,' pointing out that they cannot afford to pay for needed infrastructure in new developments without these fees. Municipal property taxes will skyrocket.

And is he at all concerned about climate change and the clear threat it poses to the lives of future generations in this province? Your children and grandchildren? The answer is no.

  • When elected in 2018, Ford scrapped all of the initiatives created by the previous Liberal government to develop green energy – turbines, solar farms, and even companies that were developing green technologies that would reduce emissions in the province.
  • Ford is pushing forward with plans to build two new highways, Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass; in spite of their impact on waterways and farmlands in the Holland Marsh area, the highways, when completed, do little to reduce driving times for commuters – while driving up carbon emissions when we should be reducing them.
  • He has removed Conservation Authorities – guardians of our wetlands, waterways, farm and forest lands – from having any say in local development decisions, including barring municipal governments from even consulting with these organizations if they have concerns about the effects of development.
  • His government has recently announced that to meet growing electricity demands; he will build natural gas plants rather than rely on green energy sources. Such a plan will make it impossible for Ontario – and Canada – to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. In addition, a recent report indicates this plan could result in increases of up to $100 per month for electricity rates – simply because fossil fuel prices are almost certain to continue to rise.

In addition, they have fought the federal carbon tax. They have slowed the development of green technology and infrastructure in this province. They refuse to protect threatened farmlands. They have done nothing to protect Ontario’s endangered species, some of whom, if lost, will endanger food production on our vanishing farmlands.

A government cannot reduce public consultation and input – in effect, reducing our democratic processes – and still be working “for the people.” A government cannot allow the depletion of food-growing land and threats to the sources of our water and be working 'for the people.'

Our health-care system is in crisis; our schools are struggling to deal with the effects of the pandemic, and people across the province continue to die from the latest COVID strains. And what is Ford focused on? Providing profit opportunities for Ontario’s biggest developers. Building roads that will increase emissions. Increasing profits for private companies.

Education workers are people. Health-care workers are people. The seniors in long-term care homes are people. The frontline workers that kept services running during the pandemic are people. Young children and teens – those who will inherit this province in the decades to come – are people.

The provincial resources that meet people’s needs – good healthcare, a strong education system, clean water, affordable food and shelter – are deteriorating in Ontario. The futures of our children and young people, threatened by the climate crisis, are being ignored.

“Doug Ford, man of the people” is a lie – just as his promise to protect the Greenbelt was a lie.

Fred Larsen
Oro-Medonte Township