A Woman Who Will Work for Ontario or a Man Who Will Spend His Premiership Fighting a Lawsuit?

Queen's Park with people in front of it
As you may have heard, Renata Ford is suing Doug Ford. With my reading difficulties, I cannot read the entire statement of claim, but the nice thing about Twitter is that there are lots of credible professionals tweeting and sharing their knowledge, these days:

I'm non-partisan, I vote -- or decline my ballot -- depending on the context of the times, the leaders, and where the parties are headed. I've voted for every party at one time or another. I am puzzled and concerned that there seems to be a trend to voting for the party and not looking at the tenor of the leader, especially here in Ontario where Mike Harris policies continue to cost us. I heard for his TTC screw up alone, it's $13 billion in overt and hidden costs plus the injurious effect of congestion on quality of life. Toronto taxes feed the province. If an Ontario policy costs Toronto, it costs the entire province in reduced revenue to them. As literally stupid as Harris was, what is worse is Doug Ford, a man who talks good game but is in essence like the drug dealer who destroyed lives in my high school. Charming, smiling, got along with everyone, while his acolytes thinned and grew haggard under his wares.

Rob Ford had a political gift and though some of what he did was stupendously arrogant and stupid -- like reading while driving on the highway -- and his views on different segments of society were not what most want in a leader -- he did care about the people. And it was his not Doug's idea to have that core review where Torontonians met and had their views heard publicly on what we spend our public monies on. Doug Ford ran for Councillor ostensibly to keep an eye on Rob, but it became increasingly apparent that he wasn't an avuncular brother. Doug was the dealer; Rob was the addict.

This lawsuit exposes that "brotherly love" for what it really was.

And I have to ask: why would I want a man as Premier who cares so little about his brother and the wife and children his brother adored that he would rob them of their inheritance?

Why would Ontarians want a Premier who abused his position of estate trustee?

The details of the claim are shocking in that it's hard to absorb how much he has abused his trustee position and his sister-in-law and his very young niece and nephew. Renata Ford has had to mortgage her house up to the hilt and now is forced to sell it, all because Doug took for himself the monies Rob meant for her. Estate trustees aren't supposed to do that. And it's hard to absorb how effectively Doug has fooled us all into thinking he loved, admired, and was guided by his brother's political desires to help people. And he has put forth this mirage of being a good businessman. Leave aside my view that just because you can run a business doesn't mean you can run a government, Doug Ford has somehow run his thriving business down and stolen from his father's estate to plaster a front on it to hide his mismanagement and negligence. Yes, these are allegations, yet they fit the character of Doug that we saw during his time on Toronto Council. If these same allegations were made against Rob, I would take them with a hefty grain of salt. But Doug . . . they fit.

I learnt early in my life while at the LCBO, that the man at the top sets the tone for the entire business. I noticed how quickly and radically the LCBO altered in its embrace of innovation and its energy when the SVP changed. I was way down the management layers and wasn't there long, yet I felt this change. How much more does the Premier affect a province of over 10 million people? And how much more important is it to elect a leader that will affect the energy, the sense of innovation, the quality of life of millions of people, including you?

The Harris years were filled with conflict, trashed transit plans, forced amalgamations. They continue to haunt us thirty years on. I can't believe that the Liberals didn't immediately set about righting the really bad policies he foisted upon us. So I'm super happy that they seem to be toast -- though Wynne is doing a canny humble-pie routine to try and get voters to vote Liberal in the fantasy that they'll be voting for a minority, not to put her back in power. Enough people believe her persuasion, and we'll have them back in power again. Shudder.

As I understand it, Patrick Brown's platform was more in line with Bill Davis. Remember how much Davis did for the province? That's why the Big Blue Machine ran it for years, kept the PCs in power until they were voted out after 42 years. The PC party seems to be on a trajectory of conflict, criminality (candidates aren't the best; really, don't parties vet people anymore or do they just parachute them in in some sort of crony system), us-them mentality, and trust us, for we don't have a costed-out platform but if you hear tax cuts then you know we're on your side simplistic argument.

The reason why the Big Blue Machine worked is because it wasn't an us-them mentality. It was an how-can-we-make-life better and create-the-most-prosperous-province, mentality. There was no running away from the media, as if the media are out to get you and you don't have a prayer. I don't know about you, but I think men who don't have the courage to face and out-think the media aren't worth my vote. This is especially true in the age of social media -- and with Doug Ford co-opting his brother's Twitter handle -- they have a direct line to counter any distortions and enough of a following to reach masses of people. So why be so afraid? Politics is a game, and you should be ready to play all the pieces if you're going to enter it as a politician.

Personally, I want a Premier who is energetic, is unafraid of the media, has a costed platform, is willing to admit to and fix mistakes, has been aware of hydro issues for decades and will get rid of the expensive-to-disabled time of day pricing, spoke out against the administrative-heavy health care LHINs, understands the effect of congestion on quality of life and the economy of the province, will restore TTC operating funds so that the lowest income don't have to parse out pennies for fares and we won't be faced again with what happened in the 1990s with that train crashing in the subway tunnel due to lack of maintenance, and will begin to rectify the huge boondoggles the Liberals foisted upon us. Doug Ford ain't going to do any of that. His idea of efficiencies has been around so long, it no longer makes sense. His idea that $5billion is enough to fix transit in Toronto with one subway line is hilarious. If he doesn't know the real cost of TTC neglect for 30 years after being a Councillor here for 4 years, how is he going to know the real cost of running Ontario?

I want a Premier who is ready to work on day one and will work for all of Ontario, as Andrea Horwath will. I don't want a multi-millionaire Premier sidelined by lawsuits, runs away from the media, talks about phantom enemies (elites -- that's you), etc. etc. instead of working hard to understand the issues. Saying he'll figure it out once he sees the books is laziness personified. The Liberals probably massaged the books, but his platform should be his platform; seeing the books is a matter of how to ensure the platform is still enacted, not about how to create a platform from blaming his predecessors.

In today's reality, so different from the 1960s and 1970s, we need to think about the people we vote for, not the party. The parties morph. They aren't what they used to be. The PCs are as far away from the Big Blue Machine as the NDP are from Rae Days. We need to think about who is going to influence the zeitgeist, and do we really want to live in a perpetual tread-water of conflict and waste another 4 years of expensive hydro and worsening health care? Or do we finally want to bite the bullet and start fixing them?

I hope you will vote NDP, and if you cannot stomach the thought, consider declining your ballot instead of voting PC or Liberal:
"An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word ‘declined’ upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote." (From Maclean's)
And if you're wondering about coalitions and majorities, I made a video awhile ago.