A Doug Ford Government?
Public opinion polls indicate that new Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has a good chance of becoming Ontario’s next Premier. What would a Doug Ford government really look like for Ontario?
Based on his actions as a Toronto City Councillor, his election run in 2014 for mayor of Toronto, and his most recent political pronouncements, a Doug Ford government could radically change the province.
Doug Ford was a City Councillor for a single term, coinciding with his brother Rob’s term as mayor of Toronto from 2010–2014. During that time, the Ford brothers successfully led the charge to displace unionized city workers by contracting out garbage collection in half of the city. They also adopted a bellicose negotiating style during contract talks with city workers, creating significant acrimony between the city and its employees. The chaos that permeated at Toronto’s City Hall during the Ford brothers’ reign became the focus of an international media circus. The minimal value they placed on public sector workers was echoed by Doug Ford’s recent pronouncement that too many of them are on the province’s $100,000 sunshine list. Ford has also said that he will not implement the final stage of the province’s minimum wage increase to $15/hour, which is scheduled to begin in 2019. Even retirement security is an extravagance, as far as Ford is concerned. He has voiced his support for defined contribution pension plans, which place workers at greater risk of income insecurity in their retirement years.
As for the education sector, Ford’s political partnership with his former PC leadership rival, Tanya Granic Allen, suggests the possibility of significant discord. Both Ford and Allen have been alarmingly strident in their opposition to the recently revised Health and Physical Education Curriculum, which includes sexual education. They claim that parental consultations were inadequate and that parents should decide on the sexual education of their children. Their lack of confidence and trust in education professionals with regard to health, physical and sexual education should be a wake-up call to all education workers. What other areas of the curriculum will they target next? The teaching of Math? English? Other disciplines? If a Ford government adopts a stance that dismisses the professionalism of public-sector education workers, Ontario may not be far from considering charter schools and vouchers—measures that amount to nothing more than an expanding private education system that’s publicly-funded by stealth. Where would a Premier Ford and an Education Minister Allen take Ontario’s education system? Ontarians may find out soon.