For those of us who worry that Doug Ford is Donald of the North, Tom Walkom has a calming message:
Forget the comparisons to Donald Trump. Doug Ford, Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative leader, is very much a homegrown phenomenon.
If he and his party win the June provincial election, it will be for homegrown reasons.
Walkom believes there is a common thread that winds through Ontario politics:
Ontario is usually a Red Tory province. Voters tend to elect parties, whether they call themselves PC, Liberal or New Democrat, that promise the Red Tory formula of fiscal rectitude and moderately progressive social policy.
But every now and again, when they believe matters have swung too much to one side or the other, Ontarians elect a more radical government — one that promises to purge the system and restore balance.
Ford could be another Mike Harris or Bob Rae:
If Ford does become premier on the promise of delivering fundamental change, he will be following in the footsteps of Bob Rae and Mike Harris.
Rae’s NDP was elected in 1990 by an electorate that had grown weary of then-premier David Peterson’s governing Liberals but was not prepared to vote in the Tories.
The voters were not necessarily opposed to Liberal policies. But they did chafe at the governing party’s unbridled sense of entitlement.
In the next election, in 1995, Harris’ PCs were elected with a sweeping mandate to restructure a public sector that the voters thought was badly out of kilter.
The Harris years were marked by both radical change and conflict. In 2003, the voters decided it was time for a rest and returned the Liberals to power.
And Ford is not a white nationalist:
Unlike Trump, Ford has not fanned the embers of white nationalism and nativism. Indeed, his Ford Nation backers are marked by their racial and ethnic diversity.
Unlike Trump, Ford levels no complaints against immigrants. Quite the reverse.
Susan Delacourt writes that Ford has more in common with Stephen Harper than Donald Trump.
We shall see.
Just a brief word on Stephen Hawking. He was a man who faced seemingly insurmountable barriers and accomplished so much. He represented what is best in all of us.
Image: Huffington Post