EDITORIAL: Next provincial ‘walk back’ should involve Premier taking a walk

Call it yet another weekend of confusion, frustration, apathy and chaos in COVID-19 infused Ontario. And perhaps the worst weekend of Doug Ford’s political life.

Were police going ignore Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms as directed by the Premier of Ontario and stop random cars to ensure papers were in order?

And at the same time, was the provincial government about to provide carte blanche to some of those police officers who can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to finding convenient ways to engage members of Ontario’s BIPOC population?

What of outdoor parks, one of the last and best refuges for families trying to temporarily ease COVID stress and provide some sense of normalcy in the most abnormal of times?

After weeks of warnings, half measures and emergency brakes, Premier Doug Ford ambled to the lectern Friday afternoon and did what’s become expected of this government and, in a very clear way, laid out why Ontarians shouldn’t be backing the blue party in the next provincial election lest he still be somehow, someway, is still clinging to the Conservative Party’s steering wheel.

Governance by trial balloon would be the best way to describe how this government under Premier Ford likes to operate. Both those aforementioned measures were reversed in the well-worn “walking back” method as, thankfully, most police services in the province said they wouldn’t be impinging on the most basic of rights and freedoms we can still enjoy in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century while moms and dads of Ontario cried in unison “No way!”

Imagine what this province would be forced to do if the rights of a toddler to their public park’s teeter totter were advocated for as equally and as vehemently as the rights of essential workers and pleas for adequate paid sick leave?

At this stage there can’t be any twinge of doubt this isn’t the Ontario Doug Ford wanted to govern.

Pre-COVID, he likely dreamt of future Ford Fests, hobnobbing with Ford Nation over brews and hot dogs and laughing about inflaming the sensibilities of ‘Leftys’ through policy and ignorance to social concerns. But the Premiership is akin to a marriage-you know, for better or for worse. When leading Ontario was all about ‘buck-a-beer’ and license plate colours, these were the issues in Doug Ford’s hearty and close embrace.

And while we gave him a good degree of credit for the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, one year later the end game has been disasterous and catastrophic. Emergency brakes? Half-measures? Ensuring the worst-case modelling would materialize before even instituting any of these things? The fail-safe point for this government was to bring in full lock-down measures April 1 prior to Easter.

Since then, the bus carrying Ontarians has careened off the road, there’s a fire, people are trapped inside and the scientists who were warning the driver dangerous and deadly curves laid ahead were ignored beforehand.

Relating back to the concept of nuptials, we’re firmly inside the stage of where the Premier and his duties are sleeping in separate rooms, barely acknowledging each other in the hallways of the Ontario Legislature. For the good of the kids-read us- it’s time for Doug and Mother Ontario to part ways, allow this pandemic to be navigated in a way that doesn’t give ammo to the Rhodes Scholars who joined in with independent MPP Randy Hillier in Belleville on Friday at the Quinte Mega Super Spreader event.

The provincial government needs an about face to get back to instilling confidence among the majority of the Ontarians who understand the stakes and what is required to quell COVID-19 to bring about some normalcy back to our day-to-day lives.

-Jason Parks

PICTURING OUR COMMUNITY

A HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOUR- Josh Carney of Prinzen Ford and Wellington Rotarians David and Shirley Smith stand with a 2021 Mustang Mach-E, the first fully electric Mustang to be sold by the local dealership. Smith was the winning bidder of a prize organized by Wellington Rotary Club which amounted to a $10,000 discount on a new Prinzen Ford vehicle. With the successful fundraising auction event, Rotary Club is closing in on its goal of raising $400,000 for Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation’s Back the Build. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)