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Heeeeeee's Back: Ford comes out of hiding

Brian Champ

October 31, 2019

Ford is coming back to the Ontario legislature with a conciliatory tone. He shut down Queen’s Park and went into hiding to try and help the Tories in the federal election.

“At this critical time I think it's important for Ontario to step up,” the kinder, gentler Ford told the legislature during question period. “Step up, unite the country. I've never seen the country more divided.”

Ford is showing his commitment to unity by creating chaos in public schooling and provoking a strike situation among teachers. Elementary school teachers have voted 98% in favour of strike action to defend education.

Ford isn’t talking about the divide between those at the top who rake in massive profits and have amassed obscene wealth, and the masses of people who struggle to put roofs over their heads and enough food on the table while working multiple jobs, under incredible stress. Of course he isn’t because he’s done his best to make this divide wider and wider.  

He will continue his policies of cutting government jobs and services, increasing police funding and lining the pockets of the elite.

He’s talking about the divide at the top, where national unity depends on trading off accepting the carbon tax for continued tar sands and pipeline expansion. Liberals and Tories will happily build pipelines together that will expand tar sands development, destroying indigenous lands and waters and contributing immensely to the accelerating climate crisis.  

But on September 27th, right in the middle of the election campaign, over a million people throughout the country, in cities and in small towns participated in climate strikes to demand urgent climate action, respect for indigenous sovereignty and a just transition to a sustainable future.  

Bridge and road blockages by XR groups garnered great support and media attention on October 7th as part of the Global Rebellion. On the same day, Abacus Data released a study that showed that 73% of people polled favoured developing renewable and clean technology sectors over getting the most value out of fossil fuel extraction.   

In the election, enough people had illusions in the Liberals as the lesser evil to prevent the collapse of their vote in Ontario, particularly on the issue of racism (despite Trudeau’s blackface scandal) and the environment, where the Liberal “climate pipeline” policy was seen as better than the Tories.

Clouding this is the Liberal plank of combating climate change through “clean technology”, which for many will make environmental sense. But it actually means increasing the energy efficiency of fossil fuel power (and continuing to emit carbon) instead of breaking away to renewables and effecting systems change.

Ford plans to keep cutting jobs, education and funding for the most vulnerable in the province, despite his call for the parties to work together. He is saying this is because of his massive unpopularity, which prompted the legislative hiatus in the first place. The government workers that are under attack have to give him the welcome back he deserves with protests and strikes. If the Ontario NDP wants to be relevant, they must join and build the fightback and refuse to play the parliamentary game.  

As the weather gets colder, we need a hot autumn of struggle against the cuts. The climate strikers have lit a spark that can set off a wildfire of resistance.  Let us do all we can to fan the flames of this rebellion.  It’s our hope to stop the onslaught from the Tory government now, while cooling the planet in the long term.

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