On the heels of Ontario’s newly elected Progressive Conservative majority government under Doug Ford, expectations of ‘change’ – for the better – are high. It would be difficult to imagine anything worse than what Ontarians endured under the ousted Wynne Liberal Party, which no longer holds official party ‘standing’ in the legislature.
However, it must be recognized that the conditions under which Ontario currently suffers are a consequence of the cumulative actions and directions taken by all of the parties in the legislature. Kathleen Wynne and her government merely continued in the political direction (Leftward) already established and entrenched by previous governments – including those of the Progressive Conservatives.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict or evaluate what the PCs may do under Ford, since the party won its majority mandate under a single objective: getting rid of Kathleen Wynne.
In the absence of any substantive or credible commitment to actually ‘change’ the Leftward direction in which Ontario is heading, Ford and his PCs have left us little to speculate about. After all, how does one reconcile a promise “to increase government spending, reduce taxes, and balance the budget?”
What we do know about the PC party is its history and tradition.
That history includes: the state takeover of Ontario’s once privately provided electricity supply (giving us the unaffordable ‘power at cost’ electricity model we have today); the introduction and establishment of rent controls; the creation of the LCBO and the ‘Beer Store’ monopolies (one ‘public,’ the other ‘private’); the establishment of Ontario’s Human Rights Commission; the establishment of Ontario’s ‘universal’ single payer health care system; the abolishment of competitive (with the government) health care insurance, the introduction of Ontario’s income tax, the establishment of TV Ontario, among many other Leftward initiatives.
Are these the kind of Progressive Conservative ‘traditions’ that will be continued under Ford? So far, there has been no evidence to suggest otherwise, as among the very few clear statements made by Ford include his support for a state monopoly on cannabis sales, and for spending extra Ontario taxpayer dollars on Toronto’s transit system and on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in London.
However, that having been said, our panelists (Bob Metz, Robert Vaughan, Mary Lou Ambrogio and Danielle Metz) have done their best to put a silver lining on Ford’s election as they reflect on some of the promised PC planks that might be a positive for the province.
Along the way, their conversation reflects on other issues, from women in politics (should they be?), parental responsibility, identity politics, the nature of elections and the electoral process, the power of effective protest, and of course, the eternal dilemma faced by voters in every election.
But it’s funny how difficult it was – to find anything in the (known) PC mandate that we could consider Just Right.