Doug Ford should take a serious shot at himself

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Ontario Premier Doug Ford gives a press briefing on September 23, 2020. Image: Doug Ford/Twitter

Doug and the people. He's for the people, he says, but so's everyone, en principe. Now it's at a point where he should take time off from hectoring the people about their own failures and yell at himself.

He's good at it. He went after the thousand yahoos who attended a car rally in Ancaster: "If they had brains they'd be dangerous." Those types are "a few fries short of a Happy Meal." They’re clichés, but not typical Ford ones -- they hover above his usual arsenal. At such moments, his vocabulary glows.

The problem? He puts blame for the mess we're back into, on individuals: student partiers, car ralliers. But the difference between them and him is they didn't have the capacity to alleviate or screw up the lives of a whole province.

The students and car guys should yell back: Stop screaming at us and fix the damn testing system! Why weren't you ready for the fall surge you knew was coming? There's no excuse for standing in line for hours, then being sent home untested. He doesn't take responsibility. Instead, he waxes Trumpian: our record is "fabulous," "like you've never seen before," others ask how I did it.

(I firmly believe that one duty of a "people's" leader is not making citzens' lives more miserable than need be. That includes wretched crowding on transit or airlines, grinding daily commutes -- and ingeniously humiliating test lines.)

Why didn't he mandate smaller classes, as we watch the schools grind predictably to a mass closing, instead of dicking around with more nurses and custodians? Sending teachers into those packed classrooms is sadistic. What about kids who go home, transmit the virus to parents and in the worst cases may have to spend the rest of their lives feeling guilty for it?

Long-term care homes are again the main source of this second wave, since Ford has done "nothing" for them (as the Globe and Mail said) since the first round.

What is he doing? Step one was tell us to get flu shots, which aren't even available yet. Next was getting pharmacies to test. Huntsville didn't have a test centre until its MPP called Doug and he conscripted Shoppers. I like the "on call" shtick, but it's redolent of Russian serfs feeling if only the Czar knew, he'd fix it. Please, just acknowledge the difference between individual and political roles.

Still, compared to the U.S., they're all there with their masks on at briefings, daintily distancing as they angle to the mic -- though there's always a moment when Doug says he relies on the advice of his chief medical officer. We deserve medals for not expiring each time he blurts that out. He did an impressive turnaround when this began. He's managed to piss it all away since then.

Doug and Boris, together at last. Boris Johnson took a Dougish tack in the U.K. this week: "Never … has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour." He said it, granted, on Twitter, slightly diminishing the Churchillian timbre. He called the U.K. a "great and freedom-loving country;" accordingly, "there have been too many breaches of the rules"” Not that we love life less, then, but that we love our freedoms more. A pollster peevishly noted, though, that vast majorities there support all the restrictions -- masks, quarantines, etc. -- and in a "values" survey, "British freedoms" ranked below "having a Sunday roast." Opposition leader Keir Starmer said, "It's a national scandal that we still don't have a testing system that works. Or a plan to protect our care homes. It shouldn't be like this." Now why was he talking about Ontario in the U.K.? Oh, wait, he wasn't…

Most satisfying line in a throne speech: "This is not the time for austerity." Though really: When is the time? After everyone’s basic needs are met, perhaps. Till then, spend "whatever it takes." (Also in the speech.) Where will the money come from? Wrong question. The question is, What are your priorities? Who wouldn't spend whatever they have, for someone they love. If that's true for an individual, how much easier should it be, shared by a society.

Rick Salutin writes about current affairs and politics. This column was first published in the Toronto Star

Image: Doug Ford/Twitter

Related Items

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.

Comments

We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:

Do

  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.

Don't

  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.