With an ugly ethical scandal unravelling, Doug Ford’s sordid past is finally catching up to him.
Let’s start with Ford’s litany of broken promises on education. This July, Ford’s PCs lost a crucial by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood, where Tony Walton of Queenie Yu’s Stop the New Sex Ed Agenda party distributed almost 20,000 flyers. Walton’s flyer exposed Ford’s brutal record and his sneaky way of promoting “gender identity theory” in the classroom. Walton’s campaign was a key factor in the collapse of the PC vote: over half of the PC voters from 2022 failed to show up in the 2023 by-election, resulting in a humiliating defeat for Ford.
The latest Ford scandal is a biggie. Ford broke his promise to protect Ontario’s “Greenbelt.” Ford’s government was recently found guilty of a major ethical breach that favoured Ford’s land developer friends at the expense of the environment. Already, one Ford cabinet minister has been forced to resign. How long before Ford is forced out of office?
To distract from these recent woes, Ford’s mouthpiece on education, Stephen Lecce, mused publicly a few weeks ago about “parental rights.” This followed recent polls showing overwhelming public support for parental rights initiatives along lines of what is happening in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. In these provinces, governments have recently made headlines by requiring parental consent for their underage children’s efforts to change their names, pronouns or “gender.”
But the big news broke this past Friday, September 8, when Ford himself spoke at a “Ford Fest” event in Kitchener. As reported by Global News (“Doug Ford counters Greenbelt scandal protest with attacks on school boards about handling of LGBTQ+ youth issues,” Global News, September 9), Ford had this to say:
“It’s not up to the teachers. It’s not up to the school boards to indoctrinate our kids. You know, it’s the parents’ responsibility to hear what the kids are doing and not the school boards.”
Much of Global News’ story centred around the response of an “LGBTQ2” activist who condemned Ford for his comments, almost as if Ford had announced some sort of policy change, which Ford had not done.
But Global News ultimately saw through Ford’s tactic. Their report quite accurately noted “the province is not exploring any legislative changes, unlike New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.”
Further, Global News interviewed “crisis communications expert” Ann Marie Aikins who pointed out, “If you want to change the channel or to give people something else to chew on, then often you pick a polarizing issue, one that has a lot of different opinions and thoughts and feelings about it. This is one of those issues,” she said.
I agree with Aikins’ assessment. But it is interesting that Ford chose the issue of parental rights as the “distraction.” It is outrageous that Ford has the nerve to present his government as a defender of parental rights. In fact, Ford has been at least as bad as Kathleen Wynne on this issue.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR YOU TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP
If Ford and Lecce are now ready, for the first time in many years, to pay lip-service to the notion of parental rights, then NOW is the time for PAFE to engage tens of thousands of parents to fight for their rights.
This might be our last chance for many years to get some results on this issue, especially as Ford and Lecce are feeling the heat from the parents, and, at the same time, the media and the RCMP keep pressing on the Greenbelt scandal.
Doug Ford is in very serious political trouble. My level of trust in Ford and the Ontario PC Party is absolutely zero. But if these corrupt political gangsters are now desperate enough to return to the rhetoric of parental rights, however disingenuous, then PAFE is ready and eager to work with the parents of Ontario to demand real action.