So, Ford’s previous sick days plan, “the best program anywhere in North America”, was nothing more than a top up of the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, for which you are only eligible if you miss 50% of your work week. It has now been upgraded by adding the restoration of the provincial sick days plan, and increasing the paid sick days from 2 to 3. While this still isn’t enough in the middle of a pandemic when you are supposed to isolate for 10 days, it is at least a start. Ford has finally recognized that labour is the jurisdiction of the provinces, and that this is his government’s responsibility.
A proper sick days plan has to address the danger that our front line workers are in, who are often paid so little that they literally cannot afford to take a day off of work. All the experts warned Ford that a third wave was coming, and that it would be driven by those underpaid and overworked in front line work places, which is exactly what has happened.
Previous to all this was Ford’s press conference in his late-mother’s back yard, in which he tearfully apologized for the mistakes that he has made. I wouldn’t think that there would be many people fooled by his theatrics. It takes a certain kind of person to pretend to cry over human suffering when that pain is a direct result of the actions that you have taken. He apologized for people getting mad at his plans, but not for having bad plans. He put on a show to distract us from the disaster that he created.
Ford was repeatedly told by experts what would happen, saw it happen, and did nothing. He did this because he’s not concerned with the well being of the people, but rather, with corporate profit margins. Ford hasn’t made mistakes; he has made informed choices to put business over the lives of workers.
We discovered Ford’s stance on paid sick days a while ago. In January 2019, he repealed the government policy that provided workers with 2 paid sick days, then, in February 2021, just days after the co-chair of Ontario’s Covid-19 Science Advisory Table admitted Ontario would be facing a disaster due to his government’s policies, Ford called paid sick days “a waste of taxpayer money”, “unacceptable”, not fiscally prudent”, and “totally irresponsible”. Ford outright stated that workers lives aren’t worth the taxpayer money that it would take to save them. When asked why his government had cut sick leave in the first place, Ford was clear; “I just don’t believe in hurting business more than they have already been hurt.” That says it all.
With this government, it is all about business. This is why it finds it acceptable to pave over wetlands so that a distribution centre can be built, and why it is supporting business by building unneeded jails and 400 series highways, the former of which aren’t needed if we just fix the remand system, and the latter in order to save commuters 30 seconds of travel time. Those opinions are from experts in their field, but Ford doesn’t believe in experts, particularly when history proves them to be right. When this happens, Ford tries to deflect the blame elsewhere.
Ford is systematically destroying our Health Care system, our Education system, our Social programs, and our natural environment, all in pursuit of his ideologically driven agenda. He has no time for anyone who disagrees with him, especially the experts. He thinks that he knows it all. Well, he obviously doesn’t.
He needs to step aside and let somebody else take over, someone who will not spectacularly drop the ball in times of crisis, and who understands just what governments exist for, which is to look after the welfare of all its citizens. Government is not meant to be a vehicle for relaxing or removing laws that protect us all, just so that the well heeled can make even more money at the expense of the rest of us, but this is all that Ford seems to be capable of doing.
Finally, let us not forget that Ford is supported in all this by his caucus, one of whom happens to be our very own MPP, Steve Clark, who is quite obviously complicit in all this.