America is a nice place to visit. But like most people in Ontario, I sure wouldn’t want to live there.
I wouldn’t want to live in a place where a health problem could bankrupt me and my family.
Or where mass shootings happen almost every day.
Or where for-profit jails are stuffed to the rafters with people who American society left behind.
Or where big money completely dominates elections, wrenching even wider the already extreme divide between the rich and everybody else.
I’m not saying Canada is perfect – we’ve got our share of problems, too.
But it’s galling when our leaders spend their time and energy trying to make us more like America instead of concentrating on strengthening the things that make us so deservedly proud to be Canadian.
Doug Ford, I’m looking at you. It’s like he watches Fox News to get policy ideas.
Privatize health care? He’s on it.
Get booze into corner stores? Coming soon.
Eliminate the rules that prevent corrupt lobbying? Done.
Close our borders to people fleeing war, gangs, or climate catastrophes? Top priority.
Encourage the binge-drinking and drunk-driving that happens at “tail-gate parties”? To him it’s a no-brainer.
Make life easier for criminals by eliminating front license plates? Hey, if it saves a few pennies … (And while we’re on the topic of plates, can I get a custom one for Doug’s personalized taxpayer subsidized camper van that says: “US Envy”?)
Conservatives like Ford are even trying to nudge us towards the gun glorification that’s behind so much terrible violence south of the border.
Just last week, the Federal Conservatives sent out a fund-raising appeal offering people who make a donation the opportunity to shoot an AR-15. That’s the type of machine gun used to slaughter men, women, and children in the mass shootings in Las Vegas, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Sutherland Springs, Pittsburgh, and Parkland. Disgusting.
I’m not the only one who’s disgusted. Ford’s approval rating is lower than almost every other premier. And more than 60 per cent of Ontarians say he’s taking the province in the wrong direction.
Instead of taking us to the south, we want a leader who’s got the courage and vision to strengthen the things that have always made us the True North Strong and Free.
Public health care you can count on. Open and welcoming arms for those who need refuge. Fair rules to ensure everybody’s vote matters. Responsible plans for the sale of controlled substances like alcohol and cannabis. And a hard no to the glorification of handguns and assault rifles.
We can stop the Fords and the Andrew Scheers from replacing our Maple Leaf with the stars and stripes. We must keep working together: together to win.
In Solidarity, Eddy
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
Ontario Public Service Employees Union