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Ford sheds crocodile tears

left JAB by John Bell

April 22, 2021

“Gaslighting murderer.”

That was one twitter user’s response to Doug Ford’s tearful press conference of April 21. Ford appeared in the back yard of his mom’s suburban compound – the heart of FordNation – where he had been in isolation for almost a week. According to his staff, he came into close contact with a Tory tech aide who tested positive for COVID.

While he was “working from home” Ford continued to draw full pay, which comes to $804.73 per day.

I put working from home in quotes because a Toronto Star story reports that Ford aides were scrambling to get DoFo a laptop and teach him how to use it. No smart phone for Doug; reportedly he has a collection of antique Blackberry phones that his staff labours to update. Perhaps in a nod to his happy days as a high school drug dealer Ford likes to use a burner.

Let me repeat: after a year of on-and-off quarantine, after 3 years as premier of Canada’s most populous province, after more than 10 years in elected public office – Doug Ford did not even have a personal computer, or know how to use it. I think we can guess how, before entering politics, he was able to run the family business he inherited into financial ruin. Remember that he is accused of improperly siphoning money from his dead brother’s estate to prop up Deco Labels. 

Ford’s defenders (a dwindling demographic) say it is just mean to make an issue of Ford’s computer illiteracy. National Post scribe Tyler Dawson tweeted: “I realize it’s fun to dunk on Doug Ford for not knowing his way around a laptop, but uh, do none of you guys have older people in your lives?”

On behalf of geezers throughout the province, I call bullshit. Doug Ford is 56 years old, still in his middle age. Computers have been fixtures in every workplace since the late 1980s, and in most homes, for work, information and entertainment, since the 1990s. I am 10 years older than poor old Doug, I got my first home computer when he was 21. Not to brag about my computer skills–I know how to do what I need to do–but to attain the positions that Doug Ford has occupied and not even know how to check his email reveals a spectacular level of willful ignorance. 

It is the mark of a man who has never done a day’s work in his life.

Mind the gap

This man who (allegedly) steals from widows and orphans wants us to be moved by his crocodile tears. If social media response is any barometer, not too many people were buying his performance.

Ford’s gut instinct for dealing with a soaring 3rd wave crisis, and a “lockdown” that let superspreading workplaces carry on as usual, was to shut down playgrounds and send in the Cossacks (municipal and provincial police). The problem was bad people having back-yard bbqs, and youth shooting hoops. Police would be able to stop and question anyone and everyone at a whim. White people freaked out, ranting (not without reason) about a police state. BPOC shrugged and said: “So…just another Monday.”

But the response was instant and unmistakeable–the Teflon track suit Ford had been wearing for the past year was gone. His poll numbers were in free fall. His latest fundraiser, a $1000 for an hour-long zoom chat with the down market Trump, was less than enthusiastically received. I happened to catch a sports channel jock talk show, and they spent a significant amount of time ripping Ford a new orifice. 

Worse yet, even the cops said, “Thanks but no thanks.” This little boys-in-blue rebellion is a bit complicated, and we should be wary of thinking it means the cops care about our rights, but one thing is clear: Ford thought they were the one group he could count on, and all he got was grief. It made him look weak and incompetent.

Which brought us to today’s tearful “Mea Culpa”. He was sorry, he told us. Really sorry. He was wrong, he told us. Why was he sorry? What had he done wrong? Well, that was a bit vague, something about acting too quickly and too hard. Huh? Was he calling off the Cossacks? Not exactly. Was he going to institute paid sick days for Ontario workers? No, some mumble about filling in the gaps in the response from the federal government, which exists as paid sick leave only in the gap between Doug Ford’s ears.

This piece of performance art contained no change of direction, no new policy. Instead it quickly became all about Doug, how his heart bleeds for the little guy, how he is working “24/7”, how mean the journalists are to him. And when he wasn’t passive-aggressively stroking himself he was shifting blame to the feds and foreigners.

Just minutes after his weepy presser was over, Ford’s office issued a statement (it was sent electronically so you know DoFo didn’t do it) stating: “While we work to fill in the gaps in the federal paid sick leave program, Premier Ford made very clear today that our government will not impose any additional burden on the backs of Ontario businesses….”

So, no paid sick leave. No paid time off for low wage workers to get immunized. This is what Ford calls “having the backs” of the workers. These are the measures that every single independent health expert has called for.

A few may be fooled by Ford’s crocodile tears, but not for long. The tide has turned against him. Now is the time to organize against the cuts and privatization he is trying to slip through, like the $1 Billion he is cutting from education. Ford thinks his silly, hail-Mary weep-a-polooza can save him. He’s desperate and he’s wrong. Now is the time to press the fight.


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