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Ford Nation: What "For The People" Seems To Mean

Updated on May 12, 2019
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.

What Does He Care?


Actually Be "For The People" Instead Of Just Your Cabinet

“Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.”

This line, spoken by Brutus in Act 2, Scene 1 of Julius Caesar, can likely apply to many situations involving power or politics, but in contemplating Ontario's self-proclaimed first government "For the People," I'm wondering if it applies to them as well.

Believe me, I don't say that lightly. I hate the thought of any political entity coming into power and then forgetting who actually voted said entity in. It makes no sense to me when a government actively seems to act in its own best interests rather than the interests of the people they should be governing. However, when you make claims that your government is "for the people," you'd best make sure that your government takes the time to actually listen to the people and act in their best interests.

Premier Doug Ford's government has gone about changing the Ontario license plate, from design to tag line. The government has promised buck-a-beer, which many craft breweries have pretty much said is nearly impossible to deliver while maintaining high standards. The government is proposing that the speed limit on the 400 series of highways get bumped to 120 kilometres per hour instead of the current 100 km/h - a move which on its face makes sense, as many drive above 100 km/h anyhow, but causes me concern that people will continue to speed, but only at higher rates. The government is also redesigning the current provincial logo. The government has taken a part-time position at the Education Quality and Assessment of Ontario office - the provincial body responsible for provincial achievement testing - that previously paid around $3,600 yearly because there wasn't enough work to justify a full-time gig and made it a full-time position paying six figures. Who got that job? A Conservative who lost his riding. Here's the interesting tidbit: teachers and parents alike have said that if the Ford government wants to save money, they could save anywhere from $30 to $50 million right off the start by getting rid of EQAO, as standardized testing has long been shown to be of little use to students or teachers. Instead, the government seems to be trying to expand the department's mandate.

What has the Ford government done instead?

The Ford government has undertaken a public consultation about the health and physical education curriculum, among other topics, and then cheerfully ignored the results. It has slashed funding to families needing financial support to help support their kids with autism. It has claimed that no Ontario teachers will lose their job, yet there have been nearly 2000 that have been given redundancy notices this year alone. It is reducing the numbers of ambulance service providers from 59 down to 10.

There have been several instances where the Ford government claims to be acting in the people's best interest, yet that simply is not the case. There are many individuals, for instance, who are openly scratching their head about the notion that soon, Ontarians will be able to go to restaurants and get alcohol at 9 am. I know instead of a steaming mug of hot coffee when I get up in the morning, my true urge has always been for a frosty mug of beer. For the record, I am being sarcastic.

Member of Provincial Parliament Sam Oosterhoff seems interested in stripping a woman's right to choose, having told the media that the government "[pledges] to make abortion unthinkable in our lifetime," according to CBC. It's always great when someone who's never been pregnant decides that he has the right to tell a woman she does not have the right to choose what happens if she gets pregnant - whether that be through consensual sex where she inadvertently gets pregnant or through someone sexually assaulting her.

What's perhaps equally troubling, in addition to the previously mentioned topics, is that there are many Conservative MPPs who don't seem interested in actually hearing what their constituents have to say. Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop indicated to protesters that she would be in her office on Friday, May 10 during what has been dubbed a "pink slip protest" - a protest where education workers show up to protest the fact that they have been declared redundant. Not only was she not there, her mailbox was taped shut, thereby preventing those who wanted to leave a message from doing so.

There have been many Conservative MPPs who have either ignored emails from their constituents altogether or continue to toe the party line which states that no one is losing their job, which is far from the truth. These Conservative MPPs either do not respond or they respond with the promise that they will offer more than a canned response at a later time, and this response never seems to come.

Shouldn't a government for the people actually show some interest in what the citizens have to say or even just act in the citizens' best interests? An earlier allowable drinking time and a changed logo and license plate helps no one. Neither does ignoring the people.


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