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LETTER: Which 'people' has Doug Ford been 'for'?

Not low-wage workers, nurses, elderly, Indigenous, victims of sexual assault, or students, says letter writer of PC government record
Doug Ford PDAC 2020 (2)
File photo/Village Media

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For the People! This was the political refrain claimed by Doug Ford in 2018. Who are the people he’s for?

Not low-wage workers: The Ontario PC government passed the Open for Business Act that cancelled the minimum wage increase, restricted the right to unionize, eliminated paid sick leave and stripped protections for apprentices.

The Basic Income Pilot was eliminated, leaving many people in the middle of opening a small business, finishing college or university, or beginning a career in the arts. A number of people lost everything they had started.

Not Women: Silence is Violence accused the government of dragging its feet on releasing data about sexual assault. The group stated the delay demonstrated a “reprioritization of issues impacting women and other marginalized groups most affected by sexual trauma.” Ford also promised to roll back four laws protecting the rights of women.

$17 million was cut from women’s shelters, making it difficult to find safety from violence.

Not students for free speech: Ford issued a directive vowing to strip universities of funding if students protested alt-right and anti-abortion speakers. This policing of speech included “discipline measures against students who engage in disruptive protesting.” No definitions given.

Not for elementary and secondary students: Ford cut a half a billion dollars from education, when repair for aging schools in the Toronto area alone is over $3 billion. The $1.1 billion from licence stickers could have gone a long way in this area. Instead everyone received a rebate cheque that might have bought groceries for a week.

Not health-care workers: Introduced Bill 124 that limited nurses, other health-care professionals and teachers to a one per cent wage increase per year. Inflation is now raging far above one per cent, will the bill be repealed?

Cut $70 million from e-health care.

Not the elderly: The pandemic put the spotlight on LTC homes. Fifty-seven per cent are privately owned by chain corporations where 7.3 per cent of residents died in contrast to publicly funded homes where 1.5 per cent of residents died. More privately owned LTC residences are in the plans.

Not the Indigenous: By cutting funds to  the Arts Culture Fund, it eliminated the Indigenous Culture Fund. And a 70 per cent cut to the Anishinabek Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre, which is responsible for providing non-partisan scientific information to assist Indigenous to manage their natural resources and protect endangered wildlife.

And look at climate change: Whether you believe human interference has added to climate change or not, we are seeing devastating changes in climate that are impacting everyone in our world. Ford teamed up with other right-wing politicians to repeal the cap and trade program, but offered no alternative. The Bank of Canada estimates that ignoring climate change will cost taxpayers $20 billion a year.

So far, 44 MZOs (Ministerial Zoning Orders) have been issued during the pandemic. Five were used for the pandemic, but 18 were issued on lands zoned for agricultural use or natural heritage protection, affecting an estimated 2,000 acres of farmland. (Auditor General Report)

The PC government spent $231 million eliminating renewable energy programs. This would have helped to lower electricity bills.

Ford promised to renegotiate energy contracts and cut hydro bills by 12 per cent, instead bills went up by 4.3 per cent. In contrast, Germany avoided  221 million tons of carbon dioxide using renewables instead of fossil fuels.

Highway 413 that will save drivers between 30 to 60 seconds in their commute could lead to 17.4 million extra tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Environmental Defence.

Besides paving over essential wetlands, agricultural lands, cutting dangerously close to the watershed from which we receive most of our water, and taking valuable land away from owners, the 413 will not help us reach our environmental targets. Ontario will be steamrolled just like the lands on which the Highway 413 is destined to destroy.

If the tolls on the 407 were lowered or eliminated, more drivers would use it and congestion would be lowered significantly. 

The people who will benefit? Developers!

Do we really want to re-elect this government that proclaims it is “For the People”?

Sharon Willan, Aurora