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1 June, 2018

Dark Age Ahead

The possible election of Doug Ford caused me to reread Jane Jacobs’ book “Dark Age Ahead” where she wrote in 2004:

“we stand at the brink of a new dark age, a period of cultural collapse”.

The best-selling author Richard Florida believes that her book predicted the conditions that brought about the rise of Trump:

“she ominously predicted a coming of age of urban crisis, mass amnesia, and populist backlash in her final work”.

I have never asked Richard, but I wonder if he believes she predicted Doug Ford as well?

As I write this the Ontario Election seems to be a tight race between the PCs the NDP. So, there is still a real chance we could see Ontario led by a very regressive leader, Doug Ford. Now before I catalogue all my concerns about Ford I need to declare my conflict right up front. My wife Colleen’s agency, Bensimon Byrne, does Wynne’s advertising, as they did in her 2014 election for Premier. I like Wynne and don’t fully understand why she is so personally unpopular. Sure, she has made mistakes, and yes, the Liberals have been in power a long time; but she has also done a lot of good things as well. Now I am not going to try to change your mind about her and the Liberals, but I would sure like to tell you why I believe Ford would be a disaster for Ontario. So here goes:

  • Vision: I always start with vision when thinking about leadership. And when it comes to Ford I have no idea what his “inspiring, stretching, reinforcing, aspirational dream” is for Ontario?? From what I can tell it is pretty regressive (less advanced, returning to a former less developed state). E.g. reopening sex ed debate, developing the Greenbelt, ignoring climate change etc.

  • Values: his are clear and they are not pretty. His negative attitude to gays (Pride parade) and people with disabilities (autistic teens who ruined the community). Some of the people he has chosen for his team (anti Muslim, anti-choice, demonized gay marriage). Saying that the comments of those people do not reflect his position does not let him off the hook. Then there is the way he flouted rules regarding PC memberships and attending a political fund raiser. And while on Toronto City Council it was found that he violated the city’s code of conflict for improper use of influence to help his own business. He may tell you that many of those mistakes are in his past, but I keep coming back to the old saying “best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour”.

  • Bogus Platform: as I write this Ford is the man with no real plan. Making billions in promises while providing no details on how he will pay for them. Other than claiming he will find billions in “efficiencies” - a word I don’t believe he truly understands the meaning of: “accomplish something with the least waste of time and effort, competency in performance”. Even if he presents a fully costed plan before election day there will be little to no time for the voters to properly vet and understand the plan. Ford also claims that “cuts” are not in his vocabulary, but that is clearly what he will do if elected. This was a man who believed closing libraries was an efficiency. This is man that says he will find six billion dollars in “efficiencies” without cuts. I think not - he will be more like Harris 2.0

  • Over promises: nice that he promised $5 Billion for transit in the GTA but the list of things he promised to build add up to $30 Billion : relief line, Yonge street north extension, burying the Eglinton Crosstown, extended subways in Scarborough ++. Even with commitments from other levels of government Ford’s number is $16 Billion short of delivering on his promise.

  • Climate change denier: apparently the entire PC party are science deniers. All the candidates who ran for party leadership said they would cancel the cap-in-trade carbon tax. An approach that is viewed by many as an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions. Despite the fact that climate change is real threat to the future of mankind he has no plans to address it.

“a good person leaves an inheritance to his children”. Proverbs 12:22

  • Poor leader: I believe you can judge a leader by whom he / she puts on their team. Ford enthusiastically chose Granic Allen, homophobic, anti-choice, and invited her support, despite knowing what she was he had no problem with her until others found out about her. He chose Andrew Lawton who has a history of past negative comments about women, Muslims and gay people. He supported Simmer Sandhu who resigned from being a PC candidate when he allegedly was involved in the theft of data on 60,000 Hwy 407 customers. Seeing a trend here?

  • Doesn’t understand the 21st century: clearly, he doesn’t read, travel internationally or have any interest in what great things other cities and countries are doing. I also believe this will make him incredibly bad for the future of Toronto. He will continue to love cars, cars, cars and will do everything he can to bring more cars into the city. And if Denzel Minoan-Wong (a horrible city councillor) gets elected I imagine Ford will invite him to focus on Toronto which will just compound our problems.

Now one may say that I am being alarmist when I make the claim “dark age coming” if Ford is elected. But I stand behind that statement 100% because I strongly believe that four years of his leadership will have devastating social and economic consequences to our wonderful province. So yes, I may understand your need for change, but I predict you will rue the day if you vote for Ford.

“Wrong way. Don’t do it”

For a better Ontario

Richard

Passionate city builder

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