Doug Ford speaking behind a podium at the Vaughn Mayor's gala on June 7, 2023.
Doug Ford speaking at the Vaughn Mayor's gala on June 7, 2023. Credit: Premier of Ontario Photography / Flickr Credit: Premier of Ontario Photography / Flickr

During the time the Mike Harris Conservatives were in power from 1995 to 2003, a record amount of public wealth was transferred to the wealthy. Just what is public wealth? Public wealth is our education system, our healthcare system, our water system and was once our hydro-electric system. It is our provincial parks, forests, lakes, rivers and the green is also the collective total of all our tax dollars in the provincial treasury. There is much more to public wealth when you add in things like long term care, community centers, hockey and curling arenas. The sum total of our public wealth is quite massive and the wealthy want it.  

Harris privatized Hwy 407 for a paltry sum. In a far worse deal Harris privatized the Bruce nuclear plant, where again the profits were privatized but the debt and risks remained public.  

Harris cut taxes massively for the wealthy and their corporations. In order to pay for those tax cuts, Harris slashed healthcare spending to the point where Ontario lost more than 10,000 nurses. Education was slashed by the education funding formula which to this day is still shortchanging the education system causing a crisis there. 

Harris changed the entire Hydro System from a non-profit at-cost system to a for profit corporate system packaging it up to be sold. Unbelievably after going fishing with Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, Harris installed an Enron designed electricity market which also is still plaguing us to this day. The list is much longer and includes a long list of a removal of laws and regulations that were designed to protect the public, including the removal of a law requiring a binding public referendum anytime a public asset was to be sold.

It seems like every day and every week; Ford is hell bent on breaking Harris’s record transfer of wealth to the wealthy. Long term care was privatized where thousands died during the pandemic, many from neglect. Given the horrific record of private long-term care, Ford gave these owners 30-year licenses and is allowing the building of more private long term care homes. 

On top of shortfalls caused by the funding formula, Ford is cutting education funding more. It certainly looks like he’s creating a crisis again so that education can be privatized by charter schools or online education services. 

Ford’s government since first elected has cut and underfunded healthcare creating that crisis and is presenting privatization as the solution. After all, the private sector is just so much more efficient and caring right? 

Everyone knows about the well-publicized grab and transfer of the greenbelt lands to private developers Ford’s close friends. This particular transfer of wealth is often facilitated by Ford’s use of Ministerial Zoning Orders. This dictatorial use of MZO’s often sweeps aside local municipal democratically made decisions giving lands to rich developers.

On top of all that Ford is spending $8.2 billion each and every year on tax cuts. According to the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) since being elected Ford is spending each and every year $6.9 billion a year subsidizing high hydro rates that are caused by the deregulated Enron designed electricity market. The FAO reported in 2022 that Ford is going to spend $118 billion subsiding these artificially inflated rates into the future. That’s a total of more than $15 billion a year of public wealth being given to the wealthy and protecting their money-making machine in the electricity market. 

According to the FAO, which Ford now is in denial saying their figures are wrong, he is holding back $22 billion in the provincial treasury while at the same time appealing Bill 124 which denies nurses, healthcare workers, ambulance drivers’ paramedics and all other public sector workers a raise. This is again causing nurses and healthcare workers to leave in droves.

Ford’s protection of both the education funding formula and hydro deregulation legislation of Mike Harris is just a continuation of the transfer of wealth to the wealthy. 

Premier Ford the Guinness Book of World Records will likely be calling you soon to verify your new records. 

For all of you who didn’t vote last time, things to think about.