Today’s saga on Bill 5 was nothing short of disgusting. I may be a small c conservative, but I have principles too and when someone does something as egregious as Ford has I will speak up. As someone whose great grandfather fought in World War I and Grandfather in World War II, I believe respect for rule of law and democracy is the most important thing; all else is secondary. No policy no matter how strongly I support it ever justifies such abuse. Bad economic policies can always be fixed by a future government, tampering with democratic rights can leave lasting scars that aren’t easily fixed.
I am quite disappointed how many Conservatives are blindly defending this. I believe certain democratic principles should always trump one’s preferred party and I am saddened to see no PC MPPs stand up and vote against this travesty. In terms of the retorts I’ve heard below I will answer these.
The Notwithstanding Clause is part of the charter so it can be used
That is true, but just because you have a tool available doesn’t mean you should use whenever you feel like. Multiple countries have nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t mean they should go use them on the whim. It is a nuclear option that should only be used in extreme cases. By using it on something as minor as changing city council seats, this sets a horrible precedent and could encourage future governments to make regular use of it thus making sections 2, and 7-15 of the charter essentially meaningless. Most past leaders regardless of party understood this and thus showed the type of restraint Ford has not. Another thing we have is the disallowance power which Justin Trudeau could invoke to override Ford on Bill 5, but Trudeau despite having this option has wisely chosen not to use it realizing the dangers of using it.
Ford won a majority and he should be able to implement his agenda
Ford won a majority of seats not votes, but even if he did get over 50% of the popular vote, part of a democracy is having checks and balances and respecting those. Winning an election doesn’t give one a free hand to do whatever they want for four years, they must stay within the rule of law. Ford can still reduce the size of city council if he wishes, just not in the middle of an election.
It’s about time someone stood up to those left wing judges
This is an increasingly common complaint of the right that certain groups (academics, media, judges etc. are left wing) when there is no evidence they are. They interpret the law not make it. The fact most negative rulings have been against right wing governments maybe has something to do with other governments have shown more restraint and not implemented laws their lawyers told them they would lose. And yes even they do lose sometimes, but most deal with it the proper way which is to appeal the ruling not take a sledgehammer and use the notwithstanding clause. Having checks and balances is an essential component to a healthy democracy.
This is just a bunch of bitter losers Whining
Democracy means representing everyone, not just those who voted for you. Those who voted didn’t vote PC still matter and still have rights; we do not operate on vote for a party and winner does whatever the Hell they want and those who voted differently need to shut up for 4 years, that is not how we operate. Democracy can be messy and slow at times, but the alternative of not having checks and balances is much worse. We can already in today’s world see the dangers be it in Poland, Russia, Hungary, Turkey, Philippines, and Venezuela of what happens when you don’t have proper checks and balances. I am not equating Ford to any of those governments, but we shouldn’t even be moving in such direction, even if still a long ways to go.
I no longer live in Ontario, but if for some reason I do end up living there on June 2, 2022 or whenever the next election comes, I will not vote PC if Ford is still leader. I had my skepticism about him, but he has clearly shown he is unfit to be premier. The fact he is using his power to seek revenge of his political opponents this early in his mandate should have everyone worried. My advice to Ontario PC MPPs is do the right thing and vote this down and also tell Ford in no uncertain terms to stop this or face consequences. If he doesn’t back down, cabinet ministers need to resign and backbench MPPs quit the party. Party members need to call the party and let them know this is unacceptable and they are ripping their membership cards up. At the next leadership review, he must be removed as leader. Likewise conservatives who care about the future of conservatism need to realize this guy is a disaster and stay well clear of it. When I have more time I will do a write up on my growing discomfort with Canadian conservatism in its present and how progressive conservatism/Red Toryism which appears on death’s bed can be revived and why it is important that it must be revived and more ideological, populist style conservatism marginalized.