A Ford in the driveway
I’m going to declare up front my position on Ontario Premier Doug Ford. I’ve never liked him and I probably never will. Mind you, he’s a better man than he was during those early days in office when his idea of being in power was riding around the province enthroned in some kind of hopped-up RV. Better, but only slightly.
It’s hard to know where to begin in my litany of foolish proposals, but let’s start with his plan for a roadway that impinges upon the Niagara Escarpment, a wonder of nature that countless citizens maintain and enjoy trekking along the Bruce Trail. “Let’s start paving,” is Ford’s answer to those would dare disagree. Or the Bradford bypass, the signs for which show up on Highway 400 well north of Toronto, carefully marking the farmer’s field where one day more paving will occur. Bradford has a population of 35,000. You can see, of course, why they need a bypass.
Think back to previous Progressive Conservative Premiers such as John Robarts and Bill Davis. If you lived in Ontario during their time, you must surely agree that Ford is not half the man that either of them were. Yet there Ford was eulogizing about Davis in the Legislature last week. Surely a more suitable orator could have been found among the party’s backbenchers.
As for Ford’s cabinet, the only minister for whom I have any praise is Peter Bethlenfalvy, minister of finance. He is of Hungarian heritage and I heard him speak recently about his immigrant background. Twice he had to stop, pause, and gather himself, he spoke so emotionally about the travails of his forbears. As a former journalist, I can be skeptical about such tactics from the podium by politicians, but I believe that in his case his feelings were heartfelt.
More mystifying to me than Ford’s inability to attract other intelligent members to caucus is his insistence that he will not testify before the Emergencies Act inquiry. To my knowledge, no one else has refused. Who does Ford think he is? Steve Bannon?
To be sure, Ford is popular with the people. In his recent re-election, Ford flipped nine seats in the 905 region his way. But here’s what I believe. Thirty years from now, the people of that time and place will not praise the hapless Doug Ford or the sad legacy he left.