Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday December 30, 2023
Doug Ford’s Policy Reversals: A Year of Wasted Time for Ontario
As we welcome the dawn of a new year, it’s crucial to reflect on the actions and decisions that have shaped Ontario’s political landscape over the past year, particularly those of Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government. Unfortunately, the prevailing sentiment is one of disappointment and frustration as the premier boasts about the numerous policy reversals undertaken during his tenure.
Premier Ford defends his government’s about-face on key issues as a testament to open-mindedness and responsiveness to the people. However, a closer look reveals a pattern of indecisiveness, a lack of foresight, and a disregard for the consequences of hastily made decisions. The recent announcement to abandon the plan to dissolve Peel Region, encompassing Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon, is just the latest in a series of policy backtracks that have left many questioning the competency of the Ford administration.
One of the most glaring examples of policy flip-flopping is the handling of the Ontario Greenbelt. The government initially decided to open up protected Greenbelt lands for housing development, only to reverse this decision after severe criticism from the auditor general and integrity commissioner. The subsequent RCMP investigation underscores the gravity of the situation and raises concerns about the transparency and integrity of the decision-making process.
The misuse of the notwithstanding clause to impose a contract on education workers, the ill-conceived introduction of barely visible blue licence plates, and the mishandling of the Ontario Autism Program all contribute to a growing list of policy failures. These missteps have not only eroded public trust but have also had tangible and lasting impacts on the lives of Ontarians.
The premier’s justification for these reversals often centres around a newfound willingness to listen to the concerns of the people. While adaptability is a commendable trait in a leader, it becomes a cause for concern when it reflects a lack of thorough research, consultation, and strategic planning before enacting policies. The late acknowledgment of issues raised by municipal leaders and experts, as seen in the case of Peel Region’s dissolution, only underscores the government’s failure to proactively address potential challenges.
The months ahead will undoubtedly require significant effort to rectify the damage caused by these policy reversals. The premier’s dismissive attitude towards the gravity of these mistakes raises doubts about his ability to navigate the challenges that lie ahead. The need for a more thoughtful and measured approach to governance is apparent, as Ontario cannot afford to waste more time on course corrections and backpedaling.
As we enter the new year, Ontarians must hold their government accountable for the time, resources, and opportunities squandered due to a lack of effective leadership. It is time for Premier Ford to demonstrate a commitment to sound decision-making, transparency, and accountability, ensuring that Ontario can move forward with policies that truly benefit its citizens. The people of Ontario deserve a government that learns from its mistakes and works diligently to make up for the lost time and opportunities created by a year of policy reversals. (AI)