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Doug Ford Must Resign (2023 Edition)
The conservative failson never should have become premier. He certainly shouldn't have won a second election. A new slate of scandals and failures ought to be the final straw, at last.
It’s been nearly two years since I made the case that Ontario Premier Doug Ford should resign. That piece reflected deep and growing frustration with the conservative premier. It was the most-read on the Washington Post’s website. It boosted frustration with Ford, too. But that was it.
Spoiler: He didn’t resign. Because he’s shameless. Indeed, he stuck around and won a second majority government on the back of an anemic voter turnout of 43.5 percent. That first bit is on him. The second bit is on the opposition parties and many of us, though it’s still plenty on him for being a shameless failure.
Since 2021, Ford and his government have only gotten worse. We were right to call for Ford to go then. Plenty of us think he should still go. We’re right still. Righter, in fact, if you’ll excuse the wording. Even though he remains in power, Ford is more unfit to govern than ever. He’s a liability to the province. He must resign. At sweet last, beyond sweet last it’s time for him to go.
Way back, all those months ago, Ford’s mishandling of the pandemic and late, heavy-handed control measures were more than enough to warrant his resignation. The brutality in Ontario’s long-term care centres—a pre-pandemic issue that became exponentially worse in 2020—ought to have been enough. Indeed, only the most partisan believers, craven operators, and credulous Ontarians could support the Progressive Conservatives record on those fronts.
As I argued at the time, the pandemic failures were disasters that proved he was unfit to govern from day one, which many, including me, had argued in 2018. In 2021, I offered a quick run-down of Ford’s failures. Or some of them, at least. The word-count cost for listing them all would have been prohibitive. It’s a column, not the Count of Monte Cristo. But there they were, on the screen, a list of failures and disgraces. As I wrote, Ford:
Since then, things have…not improved. In fact, they’ve gotten worse. Imagine that!
Ford has managed to fight against fair pay for public servants with Bill 124, further crushing the healthcare industry in the process. He has fought to save the bill after the courts struck it down, wasting time and money in the process and harming workers even more.
In an unprecedented attack on constitutional rights, he preemptively made legal strike action by education workers illegal before rescinding the law in the face of backlash and murmurs about a general strike. Again, any self respecting person looking at this ought to conclude Ford is well beyond reckless and unfit to govern. But there’s more.
Ford is pursuing healthcare “reforms” that will further open up Ontario’s care system to financialization—allowing for-profit outlets a larger stake in the sector. The move could put patients at risk of worse outcomes while raising costs for them and the province alike—and not solving our healthcare woes. His plan will also undermine the very premise of universal public care. All the while, he’s mostly ignoring public and not-for-profit solutions that are staring him in the face.
More recently, Ford found himself under the microscope after deciding to open up Ontario’s protected Greenbelt to sell off to developers, a decision that is under investigation by the Auditor General. Soon after, he faced allegations that developers might been tipped off to the move. He denies that anyone was given a heads up. But we haven’t heard the last on the matter.
On top of it all, in recent days, Global News broke the story of a stag and doe party for the premier’s daughter attended by developers. As the Globe and Mail summarized it in their scathing anti-Ford editorial “Ontario Premier Doug Ford hosted a party at his house where land developers brought cash gifts for his soon-to-be-married daughter. Wow. That’s a real problem.” Incidentally, they note, the premier defended himself by saying those developers were his friends. Okay then.
Doug Ford should never have become Ontario’s premier. He’s a wretched politician and he’s bad for the province. Moreover, every moment he’s in office is a lost moment—one that could have been spent addressing the province’s long list of problems, one that will only produce more problems or worsen existing ones. All while we face down worsening crisis upon worsening crisis.
Doug Ford should have resigned in 2021. He and his government mismanaged the pandemic. All the while, he governed as disastrously as he had before the plague. Perhaps worse. Any self-respecting person would have quit.
Doug Ford should never have won re-election. The Ontario Liberals and New Democratic Party botched their electoral efforts, too concerned with one another in a fight for second place that they both, in essence, lost. A disheartened population stayed home. Ford won a pathetic 40.8 percent of a 43.5 percent turnout. A mere fraction, roughly 18 percent, of eligible voters actively supported him and his party.
Doug Ford should resign now. Ontarians should be prepared to take to the streets to demand he goes. We shouldn’t give him an inch. We don’t have any more time to waste. We have quite the mess to clean up after him.