As Doug Ford is trying to ride a populism wave to Queens Park, I am proud of not joining that wave.
Several years ago, I was one of staunchest Ford Nation supporters who formed the populist wave that took Rob Ford to mayor’s office. Like many of the Chinese community members, I supported Rob Ford’s slogan of ending the gravy train and his attacks against the government’s abuse of taxpayers’ money. I shared the public’s outpouring affection for the former mayor, who stood up for the working class and gave a voice to those left behind.
But I can hardly pour out the same love and trust to his brother Doug Ford. Despite his slogan “For the People” which contains sentiment that echoes of Rob’s campaign, he seems lacking the persona charisma that allows him to naturally connect with people, and moreover, the capability to run Canada’s largest province. As another wave of populism sweeps through Ontario, I, concerned about his personality, character, and competence, refuse to succumb to the herd mentality of becoming his follower. He seems to be more of a shrewd politician than a substance guy, who, being a schmoozer, “could talk his way out of almost anything”, according to his mother.
A shocking lawsuit from the wife of his late brother Rob Ford challenges Doug Ford’s image as a successful businessman, with a no-nonsense, back-to-basics private-sector expertise. The lawsuit, which has not been proven by court, alleges that Doug and his brother Randy ran family business Deco – a multi-million-dollar enterprise into the ground, paying themselves overly generous salaries while amassing $5-million in losses over a seven-year period.
As part of his populist message, Ford has vowed to slash taxes, reduce the size of government and tackle the provincial debt. But he has already broken his promises on several fronts and his plan would only put the province deeper into debt than the Liberals. He promised a fully costed platform, but he failed to deliver it; He assured to slash $6 billion in waste without anyone “losing their jobs, but didn’t mention it in the latest party plan. He promised a slew of spending cuts and rate reductions, but provided no timeframe. And without any power to fire Hydro One CEO, Doug’s vow of kicking out the top brass of the company is a populist politics at its best.
His numbers don’t add up. The sweets and goodies he dished out would only add up to tens of billions of holes in the budget, raising skepticism of whether Ontarians would ever be able to taste them. His 12 per cent hydro bill reduction plan would cost the government about $833-million annually, his income-tax cut proposal for low income people – including cutting the second income tax bracket by 20 per cent and ending income taxes for every minimum wage earners -- add $2.26-billion annually, and 10-cent-per-litre cut to gasoline taxes would be at an annual cost of $1.19-billion.
Apparently, Doug Ford becoming Premier would only cause uncertainty to the economy and hurt the province. Increasing debt load while the current economy is in great shape would leave the province more vulnerable to economic downturn and recession – which is predicated to hit the province in two years. It will force the future government to engage in deeper spending cuts and raise more taxes, creating bigger gaps between the rich and poor and leaving the little guys like me far more behind or to face future financial hardships.
A CBC's Vote Compass survey ranked Ford as the least trustworthy of the four main party leaders among women, and I am one of those who are concerned, skeptical and apprehensive about what a Doug Ford government looks like and whether he would guide the province down the right path.
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