Ford aggressive slashes over program and services blindside his former supporters

当道格•福特于2018年6月乘安大略民粹主义浪潮夺下省长宝座后,我写了一篇 “为什么不再是福特的支持者”一文,表达了在他领导下安省政府将大幅消减开支以伤害安省百姓的前景的担心。

In June 2018, after Doug Ford campaign claimed an overwhelming victory by riding the populist wave in Ontario, I wrote a column "Why I am no longer a Ford Nation supporter," expressing concerns that his government will engage in deep cuts that hurt Ontarians.


"That Doug Ford has become Premier would only cause uncertainty to the economy and hurt the province…It will force the future government to engage in deeper spending cuts, creating more significant gaps between the rich and poor. As a result, more and more little guys like me would be left behind, struggling with financial hardships. "


Ford won the election campaign mainly on populist agenda and his For the People mantra. The government will put people first, said Ford on his campaign trail, routinely mentioning "the people" in his speeches. His anti-elite, austerity message is appealing beyond the Ford Nation, expanding to visible minorities and immigrants.  It had touched the heart of those who fed up with out-of-touch leaders and who were struggling on the poverty line. "The food prices are going up, and it's more and more difficult to make ends meet," they say. "But Ford promised to get things back on track."


However, it is tough and even impossible to eliminate the deficit and maintain for the People mantra simultaneously. Now, one year into his majority government, Ford government has made a dizzying array of changes, cutting services and programs needed most by low-income people in the province.


Ontarians will be affected by his cuts in many ways – from healthcare to education to the environment. University students will lose their tuition grant; Youth under 25 will no longer enjoy the free prescription medication. Children's school breakfast programs will be canceled while class sizes to be increased. Mental health programs funding promised by the former Liberals are wiped out.


The slash of 50 percent of flood management funds will increase flood disaster risks, with the threats proliferating in lake area across the province. Furthermore, cuts to Toronto Public Health will have a more devastating impact on every Torontonians. The reduction in restaurant inspections may cause a food safety hazard to patrons – particularly those who fancy Chinese cuisines, as a flood of restaurants in the community had failed safety inspections over the past and were ordered to close by authorities.

同时,据《环球邮报》报道,福特政府向乡镇社区提供大手笔无偿拨款$2亿元,其中 71%拨给保守党议员所在选区。新民主党领袖霍华兹(Andrea Horwath)称,福特政府的这一手事实上是给那些乡镇地区领导们一笔封口费,让他们在开支削减运动中三缄其口。

Meanwhile, the Ford government spent $200 million as a free handout to rural communities, 71 percent of which goes to ridings represented by the Tory MPPs, according to the Globe. The NDP Leader Andrea Horwath labeled it as hush money that tries to keep rural municipal leaders quiet amid the cost-cutting.


The concerns expressed in my column seems soaring in Ontario after the Ford government announced the cuts. Despite Ford's reversal on the program cuts – following the backslash from the city of Toronto, many of his former supporters feel his slash and burn politics blindsided them, saying they were feeling buyer remorse. New polls have shown support for the Ontario PC has dropped significantly by between 30 to 35 percent, according to CBC polling analyst.


The feeling of insecurity and distrust over the political ivory tower had sparked the populist sentiment in Ontario that had paved Ford’s path to office. However, the populist wave has waned and faded. "We do ‘politics as usual’ for a reason,” said a Globe columnist. “The frenetic politics of wrecking-ball governance, after all, is neither progressive nor conservative – it's merely destructive," said a Globe columnist.

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