by Colin Creasey
Well, so much for shutting down the provincial legislature until after the Federal election in the forlorn hope that Doug Ford’s policies might fade from recent memory, and not affect Andrew Scheer’s chances of becoming Prime Minister. Guilt by association, I guess you would call it.
As if to remind us that Ford’s controversial policies haven’t gone away, we now have Ford’s carbon tax stickers appearing on local gas station pumps. Another waste of taxpayer money on this, and on the court challenge that pretty well everyone said that he would lose. Which he did. More of our tax money down the drain.
I first saw these stickers on the Kemptville Esso station. I asked the owner why he was displaying what is, in essence, a party political sticker that my tax money was paying for, and to which I objected. He first said that he was ordered to by head office, then said that he didn’t want to discuss it, as it was political. That was exactly the point that I was making. Taxpayer money should not be spent on something that is a policy of a particular party.
The owner then said that he would debate me on this after hours. That offer clearly indicated where he stood on this issue. I have now taken my business elsewhere, to another gas station that isn’t displaying these stickers, as at least they appear to think that it isn’t OK to spend my tax dollars on what is in reality Conservative Party advertising.
On another item of provincial government policy, I wonder how many people saw the irony in the front page article in this newspaper a couple of weeks ago regarding Canopy Growth donating $100,000 to the 50 Million Tree program that Ford defunded, and which the Federal government partly re-funded. The picture showed our MPP Steve Clark in the picture of the cheque presentation, but it was his government that canned the program. So is this how this government works? Defund a program, then get your ministers to go beating the bushes for private funding? If you believe that a program should be funded, then why not stand up and be counted?
I still remember Ford’s promise that efficiencies could be found without the loss of jobs. That, unsurprisingly, turned out to be nonsense. Admittedly, he didn’t lay off the people personally. He just defunded programs to the point where there was no choice. Every businessperson knows that your greatest costs are labour costs.
I was hoping that this election wouldn’t be First Past the Post again, as Trudeau promised, then failed to deliver. If we had Proportional Representation, then these sorts of abuses wouldn’t keep happening, successive governments undoing all the work of previous governments, which Ford has done in spades. Under Proportional Representation, you don’t get 100% of the power with 40% of the vote. You might also get out many of the people who have turned off and tuned out of politics, as their vote would then count for something.
So, get out there and vote for what you believe in. If you don’t like the status quo, there are alternatives. We are proving that the current system of governance that we are using is consistently not up to the challenge. Too many people getting left behind, with a system that caters to the rich and powerful.
Democracy needs for us all to be engaged. It won’t do what we expect it to do unless we stand against policies that hurt us as a society. If enough people stand against an unjust policy, it can be changed. Admittedly, we haven’t seen this work as many times as we would hope, but we can and should hold politicians to account.
We are losing our collective voices because too many of us have dismissed politics and politicians as corrupt, and not worthy of our time. If we keep giving up, then they win. That is exactly what they want, for us to give up, and give them free reign to do whatever they please. Which, as everyone can see, is exactly what is happening.
I remember seeing a cartoon once of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Fourth Horseman was Apathy. It is indeed, and it will be our collective undoing.