Many of us in Ontario feel nothing but contempt -- visceral contempt -- for Doug Ford. But Tom Walkom writes that, for Justin Trudeau, Ford is a gift that will keep on giving:
The Liberals’ real not-so-secret weapon is Doug Ford.
In the morality play that is Canadian politics, the Ontario Conservative premier can easily be portrayed by left-liberals as a black-hatted villain. He is big, brash and unapologetic.
In 2015, the Liberals successfully typecast then Conservative leader Stephen Harper as a malevolent genius — a kind of Lex Luthor to Trudeau’s Clark Kent.
They are having less luck with Harper’s successor, Andrew Scheer. With his easy smile and dimpled cheeks, Scheer does not easily fit the supervillain stereotype. So the Liberals tried something else.
First, they tried to define Scheer as a puppet of Harper who, in their storyline, was still the hidden mastermind behind Canadian Conservativism.
Scheer is incompetent. Ford is much more than that:
Ford is the left-liberal’s nightmare. He opposes carbon pricing measures to deal with climate change; he opposes employment standards aimed at alleviating precarious work.
From his time at Toronto city hall, he has a reputation as a blowhard and bully. And while he does not espouse the protectionist policies of Donald Trump, he looks and acts like the U.S. president.
Ford handily defeated Kathleen Wynne’s provincial Liberals in this year’s Ontario election. But the federal Liberals are betting that this was a one-off event spurred not by love of Ford but by Wynne’s personal unpopularity.
In fact, by polarizing the electorate, Ford may well make it easier for Trudeau in Ontario. Ontario NDP supporters deserted their party in droves in 2015, in order to vote Liberal and defeat the Harper Conservatives. They may do so again to ensure that Fordism doesn’t gain a hold nationally.
Ford's opposition to Trudeau's carbon tax will work in Trudeau's favour:
While too low to do any substantive good [it] is just high enough to assuage Canadian guilt and allow voters to think they are making a sacrifice for the environment.
Second, the Liberals are proposing to rebate this new carbon tax back to Ontario voters via a formula that miraculously will leave the average person financially better off.
The carbon tax may not do much for the planet. But it could well keep Doug Ford from damaging it further.
Image: CityNews Toronto
.. As always, 'personality' plays strongly in politics. Moreso than 'policy', accomplishment or perceived governance capability? hmm.. But realistically, Kathleen Wynne politically speaking, was a dead woman walking. The NDP was missing in action. And Dough Ford was the default position in a void because Patrick Brown had already self vaporized, was baconized & a fork stuck in him. Bingo Bango high school dropout, loud Toronto councilman claims the bullshit poker pot, the Premiership of Ontario. This the era of political payoffs, paybacks and revolving door 'Laws' - Thus Doug, just like Trump or Harper with a majority, is a busy bee repealing any legislation or laws that somebody doesn't like. Like why improve or refine things like Environmental Protection or School Curriculum, or Social Services or Electoral Laws.. Just blow them all up.. it will look like you're busy, capable, even heroic ! (add slogan here - Great Again, For The People, Steady Fiscal Genius blah blah) Dough's best attribute? Perhaps his only one? He's glib.. that's it, that's all you get.. he's so glib he can bluff & insult his way past what a shallow shrill political animal he is. Its Rob Ford on steroids..
You've hit at on Ford's mission, sal. He's where he is because some people believe that things need to be blown up. Unfortunately, the only thing that will be left behind is debris.
and Ford is very loudly pro-automobile and pro—business, so as long as Trudeau keeps mimicking Ford and putting cars (oil) and business (pipelines) ahead of the environment he can continue to count on some mid-range con votes
plus Ford’s continual fog of anti-democracy will help people forget Trudeau’s about face on voting reform
imagine if even half of all ridings were to support an intelligent independent running for parliament, someone who was more interested in representing their constituents than spewing vacant slogans or pirouetting on promises
I thought that's what responsible government was all about, k.h. Elected representatives represented their constituents, not their leaders.
Yes, responsible government is about representing the interests of constituents. And sometimes that representation includes educating constituents on what the elected representative might have learned after becoming a member of an assembly of people meant to be representing their constituents.
Taxing pollution (in this case in the form of carbon) merely defers the harm of pollution - nominally better than setting up a cap-and-trade-system, only in that it might re-direct some of the taxes to harm reduction.
The Trudeau government's refusal to deal with root causes (ie making profits from burning fossil fuels) puts the lie to any pretence of superiority it presents to Ford's approach. They both want to make money off of burning fossil fuels; anyone pretending to believe Trudeau wants to protect the environment is setting themselves up as the butt of a very lame joke.
The problem with Trudeau's tax, k.h., is that it's not substantial enough to change behaviour. One of this year's Nobel prize winners thinks a carbox tax will work. But if it's not high enough to change public behaviour, it will not accomplish its objective. Ford stubbornly refuses to see the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels.
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