The Hamilton Spectator
In praise of ‘President’ Ford
President Douglas Robert
Queen’s Park Circle
My Dear President Ford, On behalf of the 1,912,057 enlightened citizens of Ontario who voted to give your Regressive Conservative party an overwhelming second majority government last June, I wish to assure you that we are delighted to live with what we got. What we got was what all those sour editorialists kept warning was the last thing any of Ontario’s 14.3 million people should want to end up with.
Their “last thing” was what amounts to a one-party government, led by a man of no fixed principle and a record of doing whatever he wants, when he wants, regardless of what he said in the past he was going to do — with an opposition of proven impotence.
Yes, Mr. President (must we address you as though you were still a mere “premier?”) we knew what to expect. And so, surely, did the record 56 per cent of eligible voters who did not take the trouble to cast ballots nine months ago. If they aren’t as satisfied as we 1,912,057 are, it’s on them.
One thing concerns me as it does you, Sir. It is the effort by an insidious element of the popular press to sabotage your government.
I refer specifically to the Toronto Star, which, with an occasional assist from Global TV, has pre-empted the role of watchdog and ethics monitor. The Star would have us believe that you are under the influence of the development industry — yes, those civicminded corporations and individuals who bulldoze, dig, drain wetlands and chop down trees to build roads, bridges, parking lots and subdivisions, with the sole aim of making Ontario greater, truly A Place to Grow.
It’s true that you promised during the election to protect the two-million-acre Greenbelt in southern Ontario from the ravages of development. But that was then.
You had an election campaign to win. This is now, and who is to say no, to stop you from doing what you wanted to do all along, to exempt a few thousand acres for the saints of progress to pave, build on, etc.
A few insects and birds and a reptile or two may be dislocated, but there are other places where they can go to live and be endangered.
The unseemly implication in much of the media coverage is that money is somehow involved, that you surround yourself with selected developers who, having made a modest profit in their endeavours, now have the wherewithal to invest in political parties and campaigns.
The Star has even obtained guest lists and seating plans to show which developers were invited to one of those prenuptial snag-the-dough events for one of your four K-named daughters, Kayla, a holistic health coach, and her intended, a Toronto police officer, and even which developers were seated at your table at the wedding dinner last September.
I submit that the Star, in its ethics zeal, asks the wrong question. It’s not why you want to be close to people who do — or want to do — business with the provincial government. The question should be: why do these developers want to be close to you?
The media have blind spots. They will ignore obvious explanations in their search for ulterior motives.
The obvious answer, Sir, is that developers, like so many Ontarians, find you unspoiled by power.
They find you charming, witty, and gracious, a delightful dinner companion. They fall under your spell. And who can blame them?