The Conservative Party of Ontario prefers cult to policy. That's increasingly obvious in the Ontario election. Martin Regg Cohn writes:
At a Doug Ford rally, the leader is always late, leaving extra time for his populist anthem to penetrate your being. A throbbing earworm that burrows deep inside your consciousness.
“Bring us hope, bring us change,” the theme song exhorts.
The crowd is warmed up to overheating as the anthem choruses, “For the people! Hey!”
That's Ford's pitch. He's a man of the people:
Ford fires up the crowd with stirring rhetoric about hydro rip-offs, a promise to rip up Ontario’s sex education curriculum, a pledge to axe any carbon tax, and a vow to cut taxes for the people.
For Ford Nation, the words are music to the ear. Not to mention that earworm.
Amid the mesmerizing messaging, however, there are clues that this is not a traditional Progressive Conservative campaign rally. Listen closely, and look at the telltale signs, for this is emphatically a Doug Ford election event.
“It’s bigger than one party,” the leader stresses, repeating the phrase for emphasis. “This is about the people.”
The people, not the party. Another clue comes from the signage at the podium, which makes no mention of the Tories.
Instead, a blue, red and white sign at the lectern says it all — all that needs to be said — in big bold letters: “Doug Ford for the people.”
There is nary a PC placard to be found, no true-blue Tories in their official colours. The old Progressive Conservative Party, whose leadership Ford captured in an upset victory last March, has been subsumed and consumed by Ford Nation.
In Ontario, populism is running amok. What will "the people" do when they discover that the people in Doug Ford's world are a very select few?
Image: The Toronto Sun