After a chaotic leadership race ending with an even-more chaotic party convention, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives picked a new leader who can be counted on for more of the same.
By coincidence, “dumpster fire” was entered into the Merrimack Webster Dictionary last week.
One-term Toronto city councilor and failed mayoral candidate Doug Ford was declared leader of the party hours late thanks to backroom fighting.
This is a man who once lashed out at a home for autistic children, of all things. “My heart goes out to kids with autism. But no one told me they’d be leaving the house.”
Talk about backward views. He’d also turn the clock back on access to abortion, sex education, cancel increases to the minimum wage, stop any attempt at a carbon tax and promises tax cuts that are likely to lead to service cuts.
He once called a Toronto Star reporter a “little bitch” and told a Globe and Mail reporter to get off her “lazy ass.”
When he launched his leadership bid, he cast himself as the outsider, saying “the elites of this party, the ones who have shut out the grassroots, do not want me in this race.” He later told the CBC an elite is someone who drinks their Champagne “with their pinkie up in the air.”
Now he’s leading the party he once said he’d give “an enema from top to bottom.”
When Ford was finally announced as the new leader, only single-issue candidate Tanya Granic Allen stood with the new leader.
In fact, it took the runner-up Christine Elliott until the next day to concede the race. Elliott had, after all, won the popular vote and taken the most number of ridings – but Ford had won the most number of points, and so won the race
It would be tempting, very tempting in fact, to say that after all this turmoil, infighting and bad blood, plus the fact that Ford failed to win either the popular vote or to take the most ridings, he and his right-wing ideas are bound to lose the June election.
Doing so would be a terrible mistake, especially in the age of Trump. A poll published in the Toronto Star on Monday said the Conservatives could win a majority government, even with a leader most members didn’t want.
Ford would be a dangerous and disastrous premier.
Ford’s brother Rob won the 2010 Toronto mayoral election by tapping into a real feeling of disenfranchisement by voters who felt their voices were not being heard and that government was doing nothing to help them. Doug ran on his little brother’s coattails to take a seat on city council.
Donald Trump rode all the way to the White house on the resentment of working people who have seen the rich get sickeningly richer while their own lives got worse and their children face an increasingly bleak future of precarious and low-paying jobs.
A Ford win in Ontario could lead right-wingers across the country to follow his lead.
Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would no doubt be emboldened to pursue an equally dark agenda nationwide in next year’s federal election. Already, the federal Conservatives under Scheer are run by back room right-wing extremists with strong ties to the odious Rebel media.
A Ford win in Ontario would bring them out of the daylight and vying for the most powerful political offices in Canada. There is much more work to be done to build a more equitable society for all, but giving Ford and his cohort the keys to lead Queen’s Park would turn the clock back across Ontario and throughout Canada. It is something we just cannot let happen
So far, the dumpster fire of the Conservative party is contained to Ontario Tories. Come this May when the Ontario election writ drops, we need to put this fire out before it spreads.