From cannabis to climate change to the public coffers, Ontario faces huge challenges. Over the next few years, we need a leader who will help us move forward. But unfortunately, Doug Ford is stuck in reverse.
Just look back at his first 100 days. He didn’t actually do anything. But he undid plenty:
- He undid the responsible plan to keep cannabis out of the hands of kids
- He undid the task force on the future of college education
- He undid fair increases to the support given by OntarioWorks and ODSP
- He undid democracy in Toronto City Council by slashing city council from 47 to 25
- He undid a sex-ed curriculum that covered online bullying and gender identity
- He undid the province’s basic income pilot
- He undermined his promise to increase funding to mental health by redirecting some of that funding to police forces
- He undid the Indigenous curriculum review
The big question is: will all these undos lead to Ontario’s undoing, or just the undoing of Ford himself?
So far, public opinion says that it’s Ford who should be worried. The Nanos research we commissioned shows that just 31 per cent of “the people” think he’s on the right track. He’s out-doing Kathleen Wynne when it comes to unpopularity, setting himself up to be a one-term wonder.
But here’s what I worry about: if we don’t put on the brakes on Ford soon, we’ll find ourselves trapped on a backwards-moving runaway train.
What will he try to undo next? Public health care? The social safety net? Safe and responsible alcohol sales?
If the past 100 days have shown us anything, it’s that Doug Ford isn’t for the people; he’s only for the profits of people with money and lobby influence – his insider team of failed Harperites.
Here at OPSEU, on the other hand, everything we do is for the people. The 155,000 of us don’t just provide vital public services, we use them too. We are the people; we are the frontline, and our line has been drawn.
Fighting Ford’s agenda is going to take fierce and focused opposition. Over the next 100 days, and the next 100 months, OPSEU’s going to be that opposition.
We don’t pick fights, but we don’t back down from them either, and we will fight tooth and nail to stop public sector cuts and privatization.
So to Ford, I say this: you are sorely mistaken if you think you can come after us, our members’ jobs, or our public services without a fight.
You are sorely mistaken if you think you can undo our services and sell-off our public assets to the highest bidder, without starting a war.
It’s clear that Doug Ford is more concerned about making his friends rich, and getting further ahead in his political career – watch out Andrew Scheer!
It’s why we’ve got a big job to do; to chip away at their brand, and drive a wedge in their destructive plans. They may have a majority, but we will fight for the majority who oppose them.
The front line has been drawn, it’s ON.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union