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Danger: Tories at work

Left JAB by John Bell

February 4, 2020

Supporters of the Doug Ford Tory government – possibly the big real estate and construction corporations that keep Conservative coffers flush with donations – are pitching in to help bust teachers’ unions and wreck public education.

Despite the government’s best propaganda efforts, support for teachers among Ontario parents is at record levels. Parents oppose increasing class size and forcing students to take on-line courses, the two central issues Ford’s hatchet man, Education Minister and MPP for Vaughan Stephen Lecce refuses to budge on. He and Ford insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that parents really side with them.

And as January ended, expensive, full-page ads appeared simultaneously in the Globe and MailNational Postand Toronto Star. (We will leave readers to speculate why no ad appeared in the Toronto Sun.) The ads were sponsored by a group called VWF – Vaughan Working Families. How grass roots is that.

“We represent working people from every occupation who live or work in Vaughan, and we’ve never heard of such an organization,” John Cartwright, head of the Toronto & York District Labour Council, told PressProgress.

Hot on the trail, PressProgress revealed that the disgruntled Ontario mom pictured in the ads is actually a semi-professional model in Poland. On top of that, the snappy VWF logo was taken from a stock photo. 

Only a few days earlier Lecce’s twitter account featured a photo of happy toddlers in class. He neglected to mention the picture was stolen from the cover of a book on early childhood music education. Maybe the Minister needs a class in copyright infringement.

Oddly, VWF had absolutely no address or contact information, no history of fundraising to pay for $150,000 (dare we say it, a conservative estimate) worth of advertising, and social media presence whatsoever.

But wait. Just hours after the PressProgress expose went viral, a new twitter account appeared in the name of VWF, with 12 followers and a single retweet of a Stephen Lecce post. In their haste the brainiacs behind VWF misspelled "Vaughan" on their twitter banner, and unwisely used the photo of a "parent" who is not from around here. In fact he is a New York millionaire, recently deceased. At least he won't be complaining that Ford pirated his image.

The marvel of all this is not how sneaky and low the Tories are. It is how inept and ignorant they are. No wonder they want to destroy public education – they want to drag us down to their level.

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