The latest poll suggests that Doug Ford will be the next premier of Ontario. Alan Freeman hopes the poll has it wrong:
The new Ontario Progressive Conservative leader and would-be premier of our largest and most powerful province, gave an interview this week to CBC Radio in Ottawa. It was frightening, not so much because of his lack of ideas or his ideological bent but his ignorance of what’s actually going on in Ontario, his lack of any policy knowledge or basic facts.
What he did demonstrate, like Donald Trump, was an ability to repeat slogans that appeal to people who feel they’re being over-taxed, over-regulated and generally abused by elites, in this case the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne.
Like Trump, Ford is a fraud. He poses as a regular guy. He's not:
First off, it’s important to remember that Doug Ford is not everyman. He’s a wealthy businessman whose father was a Conservative politician and legislator. Yet Ford wears his apparent cluelessness like a badge of honour.
The ordinary guy is not clueless. He may be angry. He may feel that his options are limited. It's true that some of his friends are clueless. Problems arise however, when we elect clueless people. Ford says that Ontario is "a disaster." His conclusion betrays his ignorance:
Now, it’s true that hydro rates in Ontario are too high but they’re not the highest in North America. According to an annual survey by Hydro-Quebec, average rates for residential customers in Toronto in 2017 were 16.3 cents per kilowatt hour, more than double the cost in Montreal but a lot lower than the 29.67 per kilowatt paid by residents of New York City. Likewise, large-power customers paid a lot more in Ontario than Quebec but less than in Boston.
And Ontario is hardly an economic disaster. There are plenty jobs around. In fact, Ontario’s jobless rate in February was 5.5 per cent and economic growth in 2017 was an impressive 2.7 per cent.
Last year’s average unemployment rate in Ontario was the lowest since 1989 and TD Bank recently reported that one of the province’s major economic challenges is the scarcity of labour. And what does Doug Ford promise? “We’re going to start creating jobs,” he said. To be filled by whom? Does he have any clue about the true state of the province’s economy?
In fact, many of the economic problems facing the province result from that economic dynamism, growth that has been too concentrated in the Toronto region, leading to housing costs that are out of the range of middle-income families and congestion that risks strangling the economic engine of the province.
Ignorance will solve none of these problems.
And that's precisely the point. And, because Ford would bring preening ignorance to the premier's office, he's not the man for the job.