Since the Ford Conservative came into power in Ontario close to two years ago, we’ve seen a steady series of ill-thought out and poorly executed policy plans and changes. We’ve seen cuts to autism services that hurt families badly, we’ve seen cuts to services for Ontario’s francophone communities and we’ve seen cuts in education all over the place. we’ve seen massive restructuring in the health care sector which have not rolled out well and we’ve seen relatively small changes, like the creation of new license plates, that have also failed miserably.
All tolled, the Ford Conservatives have managed to take a lot of things that were working and made them a lot worse and taken other things that needed work and managed to make they even worse than they already word. The Ford team has had the anti-Midas touch, turning everything they touch into something much less valuable than gold and much stinkier. So it was with that track record of failure in mind that I noticed this piece come across my social media feed yesterday, with another announcement that made me sit up and take notice:
According to CBC Thunder Bay, the Ford Conservatives have decided to make big changes to how Ontario’s hunters will get moose validation tags, and how much they pay for them. As it stands today there is a draw for tags and if you get one, your only cost is your $50 fee for your moose hunting license.
Under these changes coming in 2021, there will now be a points system to get a tag, which isn’t the part of this that bothers me as much as according to the CBC piece “points will be awarded based on the total number of years a hunter has applied and been unsuccessful in the draw.” So the idea seems to be to give those who haven’t gotten tags in the past better chances of getting them, which is fair. But here is the kicker for whose who are lucky enough to get tags under this new system; the Ford Conservatives are going to charge you more money, significantly more and in typical Conservative style. They are going to lower the price of that license to $35, “saving” hunters all of $15. But wait, then there’s a $15 application fee for that license, so there goes your savings. And then on top of that they are going to actually charge hunters for the tags themselves, something that had been free in the past. At it’s worst, the tag for a bull moose will cost $200 a piece.
Compared to this year, it will cost a hunter five times more to get that bull moose. A five-fold increase, for what exactly? What exactly are hunters getting for that extra $200 a moose that they weren’t getting before? That is unclear because, as the CBC.ca piece states, “the ministry said a detailed description of the process will be available later this year.” Ahhh, I see. We don’t know why they need that extra money for, or what they will use it for, but they knew enough to know that they would be charging five times more for it. Yep, that’s the Ford government in a nutshell folks; telling people they’re going to save them money, but really costing them five times more and not telling you what that extra expense is for.
This looks and smells like a cash grab by the Ford Conservatives, and it’s completely on the back of people who hunt and those businesses built around hunting. This smells so much like the Harris Tories cancelling of the Spring Bear Hunt way back when and could very easily get the same kind of reaction. But putting that piece of history aside, the part of this that really bothered me is the fact that many people who I know who hunt for moose do so not just for fun, but to help feed their families during the year. A moose can provide a lot of meat and fill freezers for months to help families get by in these harder times. Those times are especially hard in many communities across Northern Ontario, were they economy is struggling, some of the mills that remain are closed and household budgets are tight. Getting that moose can help those families get by, yet the Ford Conservatives just made that a lot more expensive than it was before. And for what? That’s not clear, but it’s surely not “For the People”.
I will be looking to see what more comes from this and if this change follows the path of so many other changes the Ford Conservatives have foisted on Ontarians. If their history is any guide, it doesn’t bode well. There are some serious questions unanswered here about these changes and until they are, this move will continue to smell like some Grade A Bull Moose dung.