Andrew Scheer is hoping that no one will use the F-word -- Ford -- during the election campaign. Rob Benzie writes:
While the premier’s Progressive Conservatives won 76 of Ontario’s 124 provincial ridings in last year’s election, Scheer’s federal Conservatives fear he could hurt them where they need to win most.
Yes, Ford did his national counterparts a favour by postponing this past Monday’s scheduled return of the legislature until Oct. 28 — a week after the election.
And he has promised he’s “not getting involved” in the campaign.
But it may be difficult for the limelight-loving premier of Canada’s most populous and electorally important province to remain in the shadows for the next six weeks.
But the F-word doesn't know when -- or how -- to shut up:
Indeed, just last Friday, Ford, whose government is spending $30 million fighting federal carbon pricing measures, fired a salvo at Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in an email fundraising appeal for his provincial party.
“It makes me so angry that we have to deal with the federal carbon tax. Because it isn’t just gas. It’s everything. Groceries move by truck. Homes are heated with natural gas,” he wrote.
“Honestly … it just makes me sick. Politicians who want to make your life more expensive don’t deserve to get elected. End of story.”
And just before the start of the campaign, Ford declared that stickers, purportedly showing the gross unfairness of the carbon tax, be placed on every gasoline pump in the province:
In that vein, Ford’s mandatory stickers attacking the federal carbon plan began appearing on gas pumps two weeks ago.
However, the Tory-blue decals — printed by Astley Gilbert at a cost to the treasury of $4,954 — are being challenged by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which argues that compelled speech violates the Constitution’s protection of free speech.
Vandalized and peeled off so quickly that supplies have run short, they may end up as a historic curio because the premier has suggested he might abandon the fight against Ottawa’s carbon pricing if the Trudeau Liberals are re-elected.
“We’ll be consulting with cabinet and we’ll move forward from there, but I do respect democracy,” he said two weeks ago.
It’s that sort of freewheeling style that alarms the button-down team around Scheer.
Scheer has every right to be concerned. Ford's the iceberg in the channel that could sink his ship.