Premier Doug Ford is paying off his political debts on the backs of the most vulnerable members of society
Has the premiership of Doug Ford been more destructive than anybody predicted?
Though some pundits advised Ontarians to “relax” because “Doug Ford will be fine,” Ford’s first year on the job has been anything but, what with the rookie premier ramming through anti-democratic measures and making cuts that hurt some of the most vulnerable members of society.
— National Newswatch (@natnewswatch) May 1, 2018
And that’s not all – over the last eight months, Ford’s government has repeatedly pushed through legislation designed to pay off debts to his social conservative base and big money backers on Bay Street, gutting laws that protect the rights of women, students and workers.
In case the first year of Ontario’s PC government already seems like a blur, here’s a reminder of ten reckless actions Ford has taken since taking office:
1. Ford’s Government Cancelled a Raise for Low-Wage Workers
The Ontario PC government passed the so-called Open for Business Act last year, which canceled the minimum wage increase, restricted the right to unionize and eliminated paid sick days. Economists pointed out even with Ford’s tax-credit for low-wage earners, workers would still be left $1,000 out-of-pocket without the minimum wage increase.
2. Ford’s Government Made Dangerous Changes to Apprenticeship Rules
The Open for Business Act also stripped protections for apprentices, leading to an increased risk of workplace injuries.
3. Ford’s Government Withheld Data on Campus Sexual Assaults
Student researchers at the Silence Is Violence group accused the Ford government of dragging its feet on releasing data about sexual assaults at the University of Toronto.
Simran Dhunna, a member of the SIV research team, told PressProgress the delay demonstrated the Progressive Conservative government’s “deprioritization of issues impacting women and other marginalized groups most affected by sexual trauma.”
4. Ford’s Government Ignored Climate Change
Ford teamed up with other right-wing politicians across Canada last year calling for the federal Carbon Tax to be scrapped. Ford even repealed Ontario’s cap-and-trade program, but offered no alternative plan to combat climate change. The Bank of Canada estimates ignoring climate change will cost taxpayers $20 billion per year.
5. Doug Ford Gave a Wink and a Nod to the Far-Right
Ford resisted demands he disavow Goldy, who has recited a white supremacist oath and endorsed a book by a 1930s fascist author calling for the “elimination of Jews,” before he finally reluctantly distanced himself from her.
6. Ford’s Government Gerrymandered Local Elections in Toronto
The Ford government rammed through legislation last year to radically redraw Toronto’s electoral boundaries two months before the city’s local elections. Even Ford’s closest allies admitted the premier redrew the boundaries to settle personal scores with old political enemies.
After the Ontario Superior Court ruled Ford’s gerrymandering was “unconstitutional,” the premier invoked the Notwithstanding Clause to override Canada’s constitution. Human Rights group Amnesty International said Ford’s actions were a “contemptuous step of disregard for the Charter of Rights.”
7.Ford’s Government Cracked Down on Student Protests
Ford issued a directive vowing to strip universities of funding if they didn’t stop students from protesting alt-right speakers and anti-abortion demonstrators. The speech-policing directive also called for “discipline measures” against students who engage in “disruptive protesting.”
8. Ford’s Government Scrapped Ontario’s Sex-Ed Curriculum
The Ford government called sex-ed a “failed ideological experiment” and replaced Ontario’s curriculum with a 1998 version. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association described the repeal as a “great disappointment” and said the change would do students a “disservice.”
Recent reports indicate the PC government considered removing Ontario’s Sex-Ed curriculum entirely.
9.Ford’s Government Promised to Roll Back Laws Protecting the Rights and Freedom of Women
During his election campaign last June, Ford appeased his socially conservative base by promising to roll back 4 laws protecting the rights of women. These included measures which protect women from harassment outside abortion clinics.
10.Ford’s Office Interfered in the Appointment of the Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner
Back in December, Ford appointed his family friend Rob Taverner as the new OPP Commissioner.
Interim commissioner Brad Blair wrote to the provincial ombudsman complaining Ford had exercised “undue political influence” in Taverner’s appointment, and said Ford’s actions would “undermine” and “harm morale” in the police service.