On Monday, Doug Ford staged a show trial. The special committee he set up to look into what he called the "cover up" on Liberal finances heard from Kathleen Wynne. Martin Regg Cohn writes:
On Monday, Wynne set foot in the lion’s den — or more precisely, the kangaroo court. For nearly three hours, she faced questions from a gaggle of Progressive Conservative MPPs about her “fair hydro plan,” which borrowed billions of dollars to deliver the rate reductions that the Tories had been clamouring for in opposition (and which they are quietly retaining now in government).
The committee hearings are not exactly a Stalinist show trial, but they are akin to a reality show — and very much for show. Flexing his majority muscle, Ford packed the committee with his own loyal MPPs and a couple of New Democrats, but not a single Liberal — on the flimsy pretext that they fell short of official party status in the new legislature.
Channelling their inner Perry Masons, the Tory troupe — four of them ambitious lawyers aspiring to act lawyerly — asked Wynne what she knew and when she knew it. But their aggressive antics — personified by York-Centre MPP Roman Baber, who had to be cautioned by the committee chair several times — were more farcical than ferocious, allowing the former premier to parry their questions with a practised calm.
Wynne countered with the one question her questioners couldn’t answer: Why have they blocked an NDP request to summon Cindy Veinot, the non-partisan public servant who signed off on the plan as the provincial controller responsible for the government’s accounting?
Good question. But a show trial isn’t a good show if a witness doesn’t follow their script.
Mr. Ford is all about settling old scores. He runs his government like a mob boss. And he betrays his inner insecurity. He's done that since the beginning of his tenure:
Someone should remind Doug Ford that he vanquished the New Democrats. And vapourized the Liberals.
Six months later, this might be a good time to ask: Why not be gracious in victory, rather than trying to settle scores real or imagined?
Why do his loyal Tories leap to their feet, applauding wildly almost every time Ford speaks in the legislature? Why does the premier hurl insults at opposition MPPs unlike any of his predecessors?
The churlishness started on election night, when Ford broke with tradition by big-footing Kathleen Wynne — talking over her on TV before she could finish her concession speech. A minor point of protocol, perhaps, but it set the tone.
He's just another politician who is unqualified for and unsuited to his office. We seem to be electing a lot of them these days.
That we are electing people like Ford, Owen, is to our collective, provincial shame.
We are the source of our own misery, Lorne. And we wallow in our collective idiocy.
Pogo had it right decades ago.
The PCs are to be commended for their restraint. I've seen no reports of anyone yelling, "Benghazi!" or "Lock her up!" So much more polite than our southern neighbours.
You're right, rumley. The enemy is us.
But Ford has accused the Liberals of being criminals, Cap. That's coming pretty close to the behaviour of our southern neighbours.
Macleans reports that populism could be the battlefield in our federal elections in 2019.
This is "bare knuckle" politics at its worst and there'll be no glory for milquetoasts if it breaks out. The message is that we're not immune to this contagion. Will Trudeau get that message?
I found this passage particularly worrisome, Mound:
A joint study by United Way Toronto and York Region and Hamilton’s McMaster University on poverty and employment precarity in southern Ontario reports that only 44 per cent of millennials in the region — the heartbeat of Canada’s economy — have full-time, permanent jobs, that the majority have not found work that provides extended health benefits, pension plans, or employer-funded training, and that formerly high-paying blue-collar jobs there are rapidly vanishing. The lack of good jobs, coupled with the social catastrophe of affordable housing and the resulting need to delay family formation, is resulting in anxiety and depression that disproportionately affects millennial men—making them ideal targets for the appeals of ordered populism.
Our two millenial sons are teaching in Asia. They're there because -- primarily -- they want to teach and they know there is no income security in teaching these days. They'll never get rich teaching. But what bothers me most is they know that, back here, they'll always be in the precariat.
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