When Donald Trump won the Republican Presidential nomination, and especially after he was elected President, I worried that his brand of xenophobic no-nothing demagoguery would infect right-of-centre political parties in Canada.
And along comes the Ontario PC Party to confirm my fears.
…there is no reason Ford can’t win. He ran a relatively calm, measured campaign. He stuck to his talking points. On occasions when the campaign was said to get “ugly,” it certainly wasn’t ugly by Ford’s standards. One is reminded of his plan to take on John Tory, as described to Toronto City Councillor John Fillion: “I’m going to latch on to his ass. He’s going to take off the sheets in bed at night and find my teeth wrapped around his nuts.”
If Ford can keep his teeth away from other people’s nuts, so to speak, Ontarians who weren’t familiar with him before might not be turned off. Perhaps he can even win over some of the haters. The things Liberals imagine could derail him — musings about notification of parents for minors seeking abortions, tearing up the sex ed curriculum, opposing carbon pricing — are probably more popular than they believe. And maybe the desire for change, any change, is so strong among Ontarian voters that just about any human can fulfil it.
But if the Liberal attack machine can still stir up the Ontario electorate the way it did against Tim Hudak, Stephen Harper and other conservatives … well, let’s just say it has never had more live ammunition to work with. For starters, the new Ontario PC leader enabled and still proudly associates himself with his late brother Rob’s administration at Toronto City Hall, which produced easily the most insane series of events in modern Canadian political history. Tory ran successfully for mayor against Doug by promising serenity instead of lunacy. The Liberals and New Democrats will no doubt promise the same, and they will have a point.
Doug Ford accused Toronto police of working with the Toronto Star to prove false allegations against his brother, allegations which were actually true. Chief Bill Blair threatened to sue, and Ford had to grovellingly apologize. Ford had the worst attendance record of any city councillor. The integrity commissioner found he broke the city council code of conduct in his business dealings with two clients of Deco, the Ford family’s labels-and-tags concern.
On Pride parades, Ford has complained about “men running down the middle of Yonge St. buck naked.” On a home for mentally challenged youth in his ward, he said: “My heart goes out to kids with autism, but no one told me they’d be leaving the house.” His and Rob’s short-lived radio and Sun News Network shows were a bottomless font of childish bluster, blather and bravado.
The man is a hundred attack ads just waiting to happen. …
Ford could hand Kathleen Wynne’s wretched Liberal government another term in office. Or he could become Premier of Canada’s largest province. I’m not sure which possibility unnerves me more.
I’ve never spoken out in favor of abstaining from a general election, but considering the major choices on offer – the ignorant loose cannon Ford, a Liberal government that oozes sleaze, wast and entitlement, and the party which ran on Ontario like a university student union during its only time in office – how can I not recommend that Ontarians spoil their ballots in disgust?