A matter of weeks. The time between the election of Ontario’s new Premier and the first assault on the left’s comfort quo. I can’t prove it on this page in the Bay Ob-server, but my prediction the night the Queen’s Park Sher-iff’s badge changed hands was “Ford’s first target will be some level of overly-comfort-able-self-important govern-ment.” Ya think?
No moderate message, cautious introduction of the new playbook delivered to a Wynne-favoured, Hor-wath-supported bureaucracy. The big gun at Queen’s Park swivelled ominously toward Toronto City Hall and after the boom, when the dust settled it became evident no wide-an-gle lens would be necessary for the 2018 city council team picture.
The last Progressive Con-servative Party of Ontario leader marched into the Pre-mier’s office in 1995 and im-mediately began to assault his predecessor’s awful assem-blage of big government, tiny talent trappings. But Mike Harris did not blow a hole through the heart of Ontario self-importance, as Doug Ford has.
The timing was unusual to be sure, but on reflection, necessary. Toronto coun-cil flew the flag of run amok bureaucracy. The number of councillors, which dwarfed the city’s representation at the provincial and federal govern-ment levels was to sensible government what Quebec has long been to Canada’s con-federation. An assemblage of self-massaged opinion and delusions of significance. Surgery was necessary. Armageddon surgery was ab-solutely necessary if the new Premier and his government wasn’t going to be forever sniped at by left wing coun-cillors intent on staking out personal territory within the in need of rebuilding provin-cial Liberal and New Demo-crat Parties.
“It’s personal.” “He’s get-ting even.” “He’s a bully who should never have been elect-ed” were among the angry critiques. Well, perhaps, possibly, but he was.
Doug Ford also signalled he will make decisions impacting Ontario which are not neces-sarily arrived at by consensus. No doubt there were exposed nerves within the structure of the PCPO flinching when their boss made his announce-ment.
Stand by for more Fordian decisions designed to undo the mess more than a decade of Liberal mismanagement unloaded on what was once Canada’s most successful and influential province, but which under the most recent stewardship by Kathleen Wynne was subjected to re-peated and public challeng-es by the provincial Auditor General, as well as the prov-ince becoming a recipient of infusion of Alberta cash through the national transfer payments program.
Doug Ford cannot govern by sledgehammer throughout his mandate, but there’s really not much reason to whimper over his decision to dramat-ically reduce the over-sized, over-expensive, under-per-forming municipal bureau-cracy which had been steering the City of Toronto, Fred Ei-senberger and Naheed Nenshi protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.