Looking around Canada this week at the Federal and Provincial levels, you’d be hard pressed to find any leader having a good week. It’s just been a lot of bad, all over the place. But despite that standard being set across the country, one provincial government some how has managed to stand out from the pack of badness this week. This week the Ontario Ford Government returned to Queen’s Park with the legislature returning, amid province-wide teachers strikes and rail blockades. With all that going on, one would be hard pressed to somehow make this group look even worse. But oh my friends, where most people see an impossibility, others see a challenge, and in this case it seems that the PC’s of Doug Ford saw the latter:
That three-and-a-half-minute piece of live TV was stunning and amazing to watch, now only it what happened but in the tone deafness of it. Live on national TV, you end up with a security guard being paid by the Ford PC’s trying to keep the national public broadcaster from simply telling us the news. If you were trying to show that the stereotypes about your party and government were wrong and misinformed, what you saw there was precisely the opposite of what you’d do.
In fact, that whole display was exactly the kind of crap we’ve come to except from this government. It was very true to form for a government that believes you don’t need to see their license plates at night, that goes to court to keep the public from seeing their ministers mandate letters and puts out complete mistruths week after week when talking about the labour dispute with the provinces teachers. It’s embarrassing stuff and would be laughable if it wasn’t so bloody serious.
What adds another layer of insanity or stupidity to that display outside the Ontario PC Convention in Niagara Falls is that fact that just a few days ago, policy chair and third vice-president of the party Bola Otaraki said the convention violates the party’s rules, that “they are choosing to violate the constitution with this event” and called it nothing more than a glorified pep rally. When that’s how your convention is making the news just a few days before it starts, you’d think that you might have an interest in proving those accusations wrong and deliver a certain level of transparency to the event. And I guess in theory you could call that whole episode on “Power & Politics” transparent in its own way; it was transparently saying that this government feels that people don’t have the right to know what’s going on. Acting everyday as if your governments motto is “Nothing to See Here” is a transparent act, but that’s not the kind of transparency folks expect.
Either way, with everything that’s been going on in Ottawa you’d think that these past two weeks would be an easy chance for the Ford Conservatives to lay relatively low, look statesman like and let someone else spend a period of time under pressure. But between real big issues that this government created, like the negotiations with teachers, and the embarrassing screw ups of their own creation, like the license plate diabolical, these guys have managed to steal a good-sized part of the spotlight in this environment. And that whole episode last night just grabbed more of it, to shine a light on plain stupidity on their part.
Now the Ford PC’s did do something they rare do shortly after that aired, which was apologize, but the damage was beyond done. That piece of video has had hundreds of thousands of views already and it is speaking much louder than any statement of apology in a press release ever could. This crew has an uncanny ability to put themselves in these positions constantly, seemingly with no conscious thought or reflection on what it says about them or makes them look. I’d say it’s amateurish but that would be an insult to amateurs in all walks of life. Maybe the only upside to this situation is that we are closing in on the half-way mark of this government and getting closer to the chance to vote these people out. That’s something to look forward to, but in the meantime, just imagine how many situations like this we’ll see play out before then. The only guarantee here is that this won’t be the last one and the next one is just a matter of “when”, not “if”.