As we mark the one year anniversary of Ford’s election as premier, it’s a good time to reflect on a year full of Ford fumbles; to think about where we’ve been and what we’re fighting for, together.
We’re facing the most corrupt, tone deaf and ham-fisted government this province has ever seen. It’s no wonder Ford’s popularity has plummeted below 20 per cent. He’s the King of Chaos. And nobody likes it. Not workers. Not business. Not the people. To quote former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman; “Nobody.”
Despite his “for the people” rhetoric, Ford’s first year in office has proven that he’s only for rich people. He’s doled out a string of top-brass jobs to his insider buddies like Dean French and Ken Hughes. We should not forget the attempted appointment of Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner. Ford has also doled out $3.8 billion in tax handouts for the wealthy, despite crying foul over Ontario’s deficit.
Meanwhile, he’s gone after the most vulnerable groups to pay for his tax cuts – including women, children, Francophones, students, refugees and workers. He’s obsessed with exerting control over the City of Toronto, from slashing its City Council in half to taking control of transit and riding roughshod over its development plans.
The slogan for Ford’s first year in office should be: “Promises made, promises betrayed.”
People voted for change, not cuts to public services or jobs. Now, Ontarians are having a serious case of buyer’s remorse – even those who voted for Ford. He betrayed his promise to keep cannabis sales public and now he’s addicted to expanding the sale of privatized alcohol.
Ford’s drunk on power. But the people are fighting back, and we’re winning.
After a serious public backlash, Ford was forced to backtrack on his cuts to autism program funding and municipal funding, which just goes to show that fierce public pressure does work even with a dictatorial and presidential style government like Ford’s. At OPSEU, we’re proud to support our community and labour allies in the fight for a better Ontario and we won’t back down.
Ford has shown complete contempt for working people and their right to free collective bargaining. With inflation around two per cent, Ford’s public sector wage cap is really a wage cut, and an illegal one at that. He needs cash to pay the cost of breaching the Beer Store Contract and for his corporate tax cuts, but not on our watch. OPSEU will be using all legal and other means to protect our members’ rights.
Momentum is building but we must keep up the pressure.
After one year of fumbles, the Ford government is in serious need of a reset. Ford’s caucus is crumbling and the Conservative brand is suffering. Even the federal Conservatives admit they’re carrying Ford baggage as they campaign. Many think that’s the reason behind the government’s extended summer break – to keep Ford out of Scheer’s way.
It doesn’t look good. Whether it’s to help Scheer get elected or just avoid facing tough questions in the legislature, a five-month summer holiday doesn’t wear well with Ontarians – especially for frontline workers who were told that having two paid sick days was too much to ask.
After only one year in office, Ford’s government is officially circling the drain. It’s time for his backbenchers to grow a backbone and for certain poorly-performing members of cabinet to get out before the entire PC party gets flushed into political oblivion.
Until then, OPSEU will continue to build and to fight. We are stronger than ever and we’re Together to Win.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer