It’s Friday, the weather is supposed to be nice this weekend and this should be a time that most of us de-stress, relax and try to put the stresses of the week behind us. This is especially the case in these days of COVID, where self-care and taking care of our mental health is so hard with all stresses around us. Yet instead of relaxing with my family, a bit after 4 pm Eastern I found myself watching my TV, and feeling anything but relaxation. Nope, there were many feelings running through my being as Ontario Premier Doug Ford stepped up to give us his latest COVID-19 measures, most involved the muttering of four-letter curse words. You wonder why? Well check this out:

I have a cardinal rule that I follow when it comes to blogging: never write when you’re furiously mad. Watching that press conference from Premier Ford, I was beyond that and honestly Twitter brought me some strange comforting in seeing that I was far from being alone in that feeling. The press conference was everything that we’ve come to expect from Doug Ford, which was precisely the opposite of what this perilous moment demanded. He did all of his usual things:

I have a cardinal rule that I follow when it comes to blogging: never write when you’re furiously mad. Watching that press conference from Premier Ford, I was beyond that and honestly Twitter brought me some strange comforting in seeing that I was far from being alone in that feeling. The press conference was everything that we’ve come to expect from Doug Ford, which was precisely the opposite of what this perilous moment demanded. He did all of his usual things:

  • Pointed the finger of blame at Ottawa.
  • Claimed that vaccinations are the only factor in this when it’s only one of a suite of things we must do.
  • Refused to do those other public health measures that are required and gave mixed messages on what they are doing.
  • Told everyone that he’s doing everything possible (today’s version was that he was “put everything on the field”) when the list of sensible, practical things that he refused to do is very long and clearer than any of his actual measures.
  • Threw around a world salad of folksy words to try to seem like the little guy.
  • Told everyone that “this is their last chance.”

It was tiring, useless, maddening yet somehow, he managed to take his usual, mundane passing of the buck exercise and make it worse. They are giving the police extraordinary powers to basically card anyone on sight, which is something that naturally leaves many people uneasy to be polite about it. They’re doing that, while refusing to do move to do things like institute paid sick days, which would actually allow people to stay home and avoid those random, potentially unconstitutional police stops and actually do more to help the public health emergency that we’re in.


But let’s be clear, giving police across Ontario these powers costs the Ford Government nothing upfront. Yes, it will cost municipalities a boatload in overtime and other resources and they’ll likely (and rightly) look to Queen’s Park to pick up the tab. But Ford can tell them to get lost, as he’s done many times before. Whereas bringing back paid sick days to Ontario would force Ford to do the two things he finds completely unacceptable; admit he was wrong when he eliminated them and then pay money to actually fund it. If Ottawa were paying for it, he’d likely have less of an issue, but if it involves Doug Ford sucking back his pride and cutting a cheque from the Government of Ontario, that’s proven to be a bridge way too far.

The fact still remains that over 80% of the funds that Ontario has spend on their COVID-19 response came from Ottawa, and the Ford Conservatives have done everything they can to cut corners and nickel and dime others when it’s something that’s needed but doesn’t suit their ideological bent. And in that respect, Ford stayed true to that form with today’s announcement. It was heavy on blaming others, patting himself on the back, wagging his fingers at the public (most of whose only crime is following Ford’s half-assed, confused measures) and telling everyone that it won’t get better. Or at least, he’s telling everyone that he’s done all he can do and now it’s up to someone else to fix it. And even then, when Ottawa offers to send the Red Cross, Ford told Ottawa this:

As upsetting, frustrating and bothers me, you know what? If this had happened a year ago it wouldn’t have felt like this. But right now we’re facing by far the worst situation we’ve ever faced in Ontario, closing in on 5,000 new COVID cases every day, variants creating younger and younger victims and the public becoming increasing frustrated and at their wits ends. Right now is the moment where the Doug Ford of this time last year needs to arrive. Yes, the Doug Ford who put partisanship aside, found the mood of the moment and locked the old, usual Doug Ford in a closet somewhere. The Doug Ford that called the Deputy Prime Minister and political opponent a great friend. Yes, that’s the guy that we needed today.

Instead usual Doug appeared again, leaving so many to ponder that the “new Doug”, who we haven’t seen in a while, might be tied and gagged somewhere. We got the Doug Ford who brought us a government that was crashing, was going from scandal to scandal and couldn’t even produce a proper licence plate without messing it up. In our moment of greatest need, when lives are literally in the balance, we got Dougie. That had me screaming at the TV, fuming as in this moment of despair, Doug acted as if it was like “politics as usual”, or at least his politics as usual.

In this moment, we needed someone to stand up there, take responsibility, not point the finger at others or try to deflect blame or spin us. We needed straight, unvarnished, brutal honesty. We needed it more than ever tonight, and Ford failed on all counts when it came to that. If that wasn’t enough to make you feel angry or depressed, don’t worry, this piece of news is scary and comforting all at the same time:

Nothing says “confidence” like telling people that your government has “lost the plot completely.” They have lost it, for the record, but while it may be assuring for Ford’s own caucus to see what we’re seeing, it doesn’t make me feel better to know that said MPP is saying it anonymously to a journalist instead of screaming it in the city square. But heck, that’s where we are. Today’s announcement should have been clearer, gone further and been done with honest humility. Time has long since passed for half-measures, and still this government refuses to do what experts across the board keep asking for. There is a time for finger pointing, and that should be after we’re out of this pandemic. I know that’s how I feel and I’m more worried about getting things on track than anything else. But every time Doug Ford gets in front of a camera and points his fingers at Ottawa or anyone else instead of doing what he can, he makes that impossible. As the old saying goes, “when you point your finger at someone, you have a dozen fingers pointing back at you.” He can’t be mad at us and point out his poor performance when he spends his time pointing at others, instead of doing everything within his power. When that happens, he won’t need to tell us, we’ll know it because at this point, most citizens know what needs to happen. We’ll recognize it when we see it, and we haven’t seen it yet.

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