Jack Brezina: Ok, everyone take a Valium
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | June 14, 2018|
In response to the election of a Doug Ford government last Thursday, I thought the headline above would be an appropriate response.
My prescription was based on the thought that we should not panic, not yet, at least; that, to some extent, we have been down this road before and we have survived. However, my assessment might in fact be a little premature.
The new premier is moving swiftly to complete the transfer of power because he has work to do. Top on his list is knocking 10 cents off a litre of gas. We’ll all be happy to pocket that saving, but presumably that provincial tax he is reducing is the same tax that municipalities rely on to support their transportation infrastructure initiatives. I wonder if the support for rapid transit, road and bridges will be cut back as well and whether municipalities will be adding that additional cost to the municipal taxes?
He would also like to get started on finding $8 billion in savings in the operation of the province …without, as he promised, one job lost. I wait with bated breath for this rabbit to be pulled from the hat.
To appease his base he is planning to drag us back into the 1990’s. That was the last time the provincial sex education curriculum was updated. The latest iteration, brought forward by the Liberals, bothered some people … some thought the new curriculum was too progressive and introduced the uncomfortable, messy stuff too quickly. Most thought in the age of allaccess internet, there should be at least one sane voice providing some guidance for our children. For those who objected, there was always the option, little acknowledged, of removing your child from those classes, but Ford has promised to roll it back while they re-examine the contents.
I would suspect that the head of Ontario Hydro is already sending out resumes. Ford has had the so-called $6 million dollar man in his sights since the leadership campaign. A shake-up on the Hydro board could see new faces attempting to reverse the partial privatization begun by the Wynne Liberals. It could be challenging and expensive.
Ford has also been railing against the cap and trade initiatives which, if reversed, will not be good for the environment. While the federal government has stepped into the fray, Ford will likely join some other provinces in court challenges on Trudeau’s authority to impose a tax on carbon.
The new premier says he plans to examine “the books.” He may find the finances of the province are in no position to support anything in the way of new programs. Like all incoming governments, the situation will be “worse than they thought” which could hamper his ability to act, but might also result in a slash and burn policy that could leave the province and municipalities spinning.
Since preparing this column, Ford’s hero, Donald Trump, unleashed a tirade against this country, the PM and our trade policies. It was encouraging to see the premier designate stand with other politicians across the country to repudiate the attack.
Whew, it certainly has been quite a week. Perhaps we all need to consider upping the dosage in the original prescription.
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.