Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday October 27, 2020
New Doug Ford vs. Old Doug Ford: Which one is Premier of Ontario?
Since his election as Ontario Premier in 2018, Doug Ford has been available in two versions.
There’s the empathetic, uniting leader who works across political boundaries. He first appeared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And there’s the original Doug Ford – the angry partisan who sows divisions and does favours for friends.
You may recall version 1.0 from such moves as Mr. Ford’s attempt to name an underqualified old crony, Ron Taverner, as commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police in 2018. It reeked so badly of conflict of interest that Mr. Taverner ultimately withdrew his name from consideration.
Doug Ford v. 1.0 was also infamous for unilaterally cutting the size of Toronto City Council from 44 members to 25 in 2018, in the middle of a municipal election. There was no justification for it, but Mr. Ford rammed it through for nakedly partisan reasons.
It was thus a pleasant surprise to see the Premier reboot himself as a less demagogic, more empathetic leader when the pandemic struck.
During the crisis, Doug Ford v. 2.0 has shown an openness to working with the federal Liberal government of Justin Trudeau, and an understanding of the difficulties facing Ontarians. He has spent months praising traditional targets. His government’s actual results leave much to be desired, but his work ethic and lack of partisanship have won him the respect of former critics.
And then last week he reverted to prepandemic form, slipping two self-serving measures into omnibus legislation meant to help businesses get through the pandemic.
One measure was a ban on municipalities using ranked ballots in elections, removing an option given to them in 2016 by the former Liberal government.
Ranked ballots let voters choose a first, second and third choice for a council seat or the mayor’s seat; if none of the candidates wins a majority off the bat, the voters’ second and third choices are redistributed until one candidate reaches the 50-per-cent threshold.
His other self-serving measure was to include a school run by a political ally among three Christian schools that are either being given university status or having their right to hand out degrees expanded.
Canada Christian College and School of Graduate Theological Studies in Whitby, Ont., is run by Charles McVety – a polarizing figure who opposes gay marriage and espouses hateful views about LGBTQ people, Islam and other targets. (Continued: Globe & Mail)