When the British Parliament debated the disastrous military operation in Norway in 1940, a Conservative backbencher, Leo Amery, quoted Oliver Cromwell’s dismissal of the Long Parliament, hurling at Neville Chamberlain the words “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!” Three days later Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Winston Churchill.
Now is the time for someone, preferably a Conservative, to stand up in the Ontario Legislature and hurl Cromwell’s and Amery’s words at Doug Ford.
The Case Against Doug Ford
Doug Ford has now reached a moral and political dead end comparable to Chamberlain’s.
- The new Covid-19 policies Ford set out last Friday have been undercut by other public sector actors. The police will not enforce random checks of motorists or pedestrians. Though Ford won’t shut down factories or warehouses, the Medical Officers of Health in Peel and Toronto will shut down workplaces that have seen as few as five Covid cases. These reactions are, effectively, a vote of non-confidence in the Ford Government.
- For the second time, the federal government is giving Ontario a Covid bailout. Last year it was to handle Covid cases in seniors’ residences. This year it is to provide medical personnel to deal with the spiraling increase in Covid cases.
- Doug Ford has once again shown himself to be a coward. His response to the growing wave of criticism of last week’s tokenistic and misguided measures is to refuse to show his face in public and to absent himself from Question Period in the Legislature. This is the same reaction as when the Supreme Court upheld the carbon tax, which Ford loudly (remember gas pump stickers?) and expensively ($30 million in legal fees) opposed. Ford was nowhere to be seen when the court delivered its judgment, sending his environment minister to face the media. This is in stark contrast to Alberta Premier Jason Kenny and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, just as strident as Ford in opposition to the carbon tax, who faced the electorate and took ownership of their legal defeat.
- Finally, Ford’s performance last Friday announcing his government’s latest policies was the quintessence of amateurism. Answering a question about case projections, he held up an 8 x 11 inch sheet of paper and asked the camera operator to show it in closeup: the operator couldn’t get close enough. Ford thanked Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey for his offer of medical support and, patronizingly, said he would do a “thank you” tour of Atlantic Canada. When asked whether Ontario couldn’t close any non-essential workplaces Ford answered “you look at supply chains, they’re so, so deep. … I wish [Economic Development Minister] Vic Fedeli was here … he was talking about the forestry … there’s a product in the forestry that’s used in aspirin … I could go on and on.” And then Ford blamed Ontario’s problems on the federal government: “This is the bottom line … would we be in this position if we were getting 300,000 vaccines [daily] back in February like the rest of the world? Absolutely not. The feds need to get us vaccines, bottom line.”
While Ford is Self-isolating
The latest news today is that Ford is self-isolating at home because he was recently in contact with an aide who was developed Covid. This would be an ideal time for Ford’s cabinet and caucus to ponder the voters’ likely verdict on the Ford Government a year from now and to deliver Amery’s message to Doug Ford. But is there any member of his cabinet or caucus who has Amery’s guts and is there a minister who could become the Churchill Ontario needs now?