I have just read Brandon Mayer’s article in last week’s NGT about Doug Ford eliminating license plate sticker renewal fees. My first reaction was that there must be an election coming. This is such a cheap trick, trying to bribe us with our own money, but it is so typical of this government. My second reaction was to wonder how many of our social services are going to get cut to pay for this. That then started me thinking about the important stuff that the Ford government has either failed to do, or is doing things contrary to what many of us believe in, so here is a reminder.
The biggest threat to our planet is climate change, which we have been told about as long ago as 30 years, and this government has done nothing about it, because it actually doesn’t believe that it is happening, even though the proof is all around them. It started by cancelling green power contracts, costing the taxpayer $231 million in penalties, has allowed our emissions to actually increase since, and now wants to make them even worse by building gas-fired power plants.
The pandemic over the last two years has shown, in stark relief, the problems with our healthcare system. Ford has actively worked against our health system, recently introducing Bill 124, freezing the wages of our hospital workers, which is unconscionable. These people deserve a raise, not to mention that we also need a massive investment in our hospitals and long-term care systems.
Then there is the 400 series highways that the Ford government wants to build, but which we don’t need, in the process paving over 2,000 acres of prime farmland, (at a time when we need to be more self-sufficient in the ability to feed ourselves), and destroying natural areas, including important wetlands.
They are also building prisons that we, again, also don’t need, (which, in Kemptville’s case, is also paving over yet more farmland), when all they need to do to solve the problem is to improve the bail system by returning it to what it was three decades ago. At the same time, there is still a need to improve social services to help those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law due to things like poverty and mental health.
Yet another is the $15 minimum wage that Ford initially cut back, then eventually restored, but it is still not a living wage. There is also a need for a guaranteed basic income (GBI) to lift people out of poverty, which had a pilot program in force when his government took over. Ford immediately scrapped it, even though it was working well, allowing those who were participating to start turning their lives around, and pulling them out of poverty. Conservatives always say that we cannot afford GBI, in the process ignoring the cost of health problems, both physical and mental, when struggling and marginalised people cannot afford to feed or house themselves properly.
I could fill a couple of pages on this stuff, but maybe just one more important item, which is our public school system. Ford is trying to destroy that by making the situation in our classrooms so toxic that it is driving people to send their children into the private system. Which, of course, is just what he wants. He is doing virtually nothing about the fact that our schools need $15 billion in repairs and upgrades, and that class sizes need to be reduced to ensure that our children are properly educated.
If you care about any of these things, there is a chance to correct what is happening on June 2. Please don’t allow the “Did Not Vote” Party to carry the day, as it has done in so many of our elections. Take the time to read what each Party stands for, and vote your conscience. You may not like the system that we have, but nothing will get fixed by ignoring what we are stuck with. I totally agree that the system needs changing, but if we want to do that, then we have to elect a government that is willing to help us do that, and not one that ignores and hinders us.