“Accepting Resignations” - Establishing the Ford Brand

di Joe Volpe del August 13, 2018

TORONTO - “Accepting Resignations” – Establishing the Ford Brand. “Doug Ford and Cabinet to be Sworn-in as Ontario's First Ever Government for the People”. This is the headline from on the website of the office of the Premier, June 29, 2018. It is an official government of Ontario (taxpayer funded) “non-partisan” website. Only seven weeks ago. We would do well to remember it. One could succumb to the temptation of wondering aloud for whom the government of Ontario functioned these last 150 years. We won’t. The headline will serve as a reference point and justification for every initiative, every decision and every change contemplate and effected by the Ford Administration. It is a revolutionary declaration of triumph over the structured political platforms designed to sway the public (the people) to vote for one agenda or another. It is what “the people” voted to receive. Receive being the operative word – put money back in people’s pockets – and the explanation, or foundation for explanations at the base of any government action. Eliminate the sex-ed curriculum? No problem. Who voted or it anyway? Downsize the number of Councillors at Toronto City Hall? “Thousands of people told us that at the doors” during the election. Fire the Chair and board of Ontario Hydro. The people didn’t want the extra hydro charges. Fire Ed Clark, Chair of the LCBO (the initial government locus for point of sale of “legal cannabis”)? The people want a more market-driven dispensing system for weed. Get rid of Deputy Minister for Education, Bruce Rodrigues? Why not? The people are unhappy with the curriculum, the performance of the educational system and the dysfunctionality of school boards. A memo, titled “Confidentiality”, to all Deputy Ministers, by the Premier’s Chief of Staff, Dean French, may provide more insight into the operational climate at Queen’s Park under this first ever government for the people. It expresses concern over media stories “discussing (probably speculating) policy initiatives that had not been announced by the government” Mr. French goes on to say that ”we need to redouble our efforts to ensure confidentiality” … “breaches of confidence will need to be dealt with effectively” … “we will be engaging in an internal audit to review and strengthen our security processes… ” There is an ominous air attending this notice. Respecting the need for a deliberative approach to messaging is one thing; to send out a warning borders on the menacing and hides the elements of vengeance that motivate narrow decisions. It is not a new tactic. President Trump talks of “leakers” and consequences in order to discredit dissent. Two thousand year ago Lucius Sulla, a Roman Magistrate and successful general, emerged primus inter pares, exercising the powers of dictator from the devastating Social Wars in the Italian Peninsula. He began by “cleaning house”: execution of his enemies, expropriation of their properties and so on. In this “sullen’ environment no-one was safe. The people implored him to “ease up’ or to publish a list of those whom he considered persona non grata so that they might go into self-imposed exile and the city avoid unnecessary bloodshed. A list of the proscribed. Bruce Rodrigues was on a similar list last week. He was the former Director of Education at the Toronto Catholic District School Board when it decided to end the football program at Don Bosco and fire its coach, his brother and mayor Rob Ford. Ed Clark was the chief economic advisor to Kathleen Wynne. Aside from his advocacy for a cannabis distribution system dismissed by the current Premier, Clark is associated with everything termed as bad and corrupt under the Wynne Administration. He, like the Chair and Board of Hydro, and Bruce Rodrigues, was offered the opportunity to go into “self-exile”. Look for more.

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