It seems the Ford administration has been quite busy implementing its agenda so perhaps maybe every few days I will have to update on what is going on. But below is my thoughts on a few of the recent changes.
I think what Ford did with changes to the number of wards in Toronto and cancelling the regional elections in Peel, York, Niagara, and Muskoka was completely inappropriate and uncalled for. I am open to the idea of reducing the number of councillors to 25 in Toronto, that is not a bad idea, but it should not be done in the middle of an election on such short notice (election is October 22, 2018); that is completely undemocratic to change things midway through. Otherwise if he wanted to make changes there should be proper consultation (something they are emphasizing on sex education, so why not here) and apply for 2022 so there is time to implement them without chaos. He claims this is about saving taxpayer’s money, but what about respecting democracy. I am all for saving taxpayer’s money but not at all costs, rather it should be about getting the best value for what we spend, not just blindly cutting something for ideological reasons. After all, eliminating the provinces and doing everything at the federal level would save taxpayers a lot of money, but does that mean we should therefore do it? Off course not! My real concern here is this was about Ford trying to settle political scores and if this is the way he will govern, it will be a rough next four years. Changing the wards means fewer left wing councillors from downtown while cancelling the four regional chair elections was to prevent Patrick Brown from becoming Peel chair and the others were collateral damage. If Ford wishes to fight the old fights he had at city hall, he should run municipally, not use his provincial power to settle those. Part of being the leader at any level of government means dealing with people you may not agree with. I don’t think Trudeau likes working with Trump or Ford and I suspect he would rather not work with Jason Kenney, but does that mean he should then cancel Alberta’s election next May (assuming he even has that power). A big reason why Harper was defeated in 2015 was his vindictive attitude of trying to settle scores with his opponents so someone should remind Ford of this if he wants to avoid the same fate. Ford unlike Harper, has a wealth of talent on his team and unlike Harper, most MPPs are fairly moderate as most were recruited under Patrick Brown who tried to modernize the party so Ford should listen more to his cabinet and caucus before acting even if it means delaying some decisions a bit.
Changes to Social Assistance
In terms of the welfare increases of 1.5% instead of 3%, pretty minor issue so cannot say if it is a good or bad thing, but pretty minor either way. However I think cancelling the basic income pilot project was shortsighted. Whatever additional costs there are short term, I believe if implemented provincewide it will save taxpayers a lot of money in the long term as it will mean Ontario can eliminate all other social assistance programs thus reducing bureaucracy and overlap while give the poor more dignity and freedom to spend their money as they see fit. I actually believe basic income much like a revenue neutral carbon tax is a conservative not left wing idea and wish on issues like that they would think about the bigger picture instead of focusing where it falls ideologically.