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Fight the Ford government. Build strong movements from below!

Carolyn Egan

June 6, 2022
The Ontario provincial election is over with devastating results for working people and the poor in all our diversity. There was only a forty three percent voter turnout. The Conservative Party increased its majority winning eighty three of the one hundred and twenty four seats. The New Democratic Party(NDP) won thirty one seats, the Liberals eight, one independent and one Green.
The majority of voters did not see a reason to engage in the election. People felt disenfranchised and unheard, with no motivation to cast a ballot. This led to the Conservative victory. Gilles Bisson an NDP MPP in Timmins lost to a Tory after three decades in the legislature. Long time NDP seats in working class areas of Windsor were also lost to the Conservatives, as were seats in Brampton.
The NDP won 23.7% of the vote, the Liberals 23.8% and the Tories 40.9%. Most who voted did not choose the Ford government, but as a Steelworker retweeted “nothing says failure as much as the inability of a social democratic party to get more than 25% of the vote as living and working conditions decline in response to the corporate takeover of public policy.”
People were looking for boldness that spoke to the reality of their lives. They felt betrayed and left behind with conditions worsening every day with no end in sight. They were not inspired and stayed home from the polls. Turnout was down from fifty seven percent in the last provincial election in 2018. Both the NDP leader Horwath and the Liberal leader Del Duca resigned on election night because of the outcome.
We are in for a very tough ride which will have devastating effects on the most vulnerable. Racialized and low income workers, many of whom are women, will feel the brunt of Conservative policies. The party is totally beholden to big business and developers.
We have to continue to build fighting movements from below to take on their policies. The Tories intend to have the proposed Highway 413 go forward which will demolish over 800 hectares of working farmland, 160 hectares of the Greenbelt and disrupt over 80 waterways. Local residents are in an uproar. They have rejected the demand for 10 employer paid sick days and are opening our health care system to further privatization. 4,500 seniors needlessly died in long term care homes (the majority for profit) during the pandemic. The Ford government is now going to reward them by giving large contracts to broaden their facilities and make huge profits on the backs of the elderly. Billions in public dollars are slated to go to the for profit sector. These chains exploit both the staff who work for them and the residents who live there. Not for profits are being given only 30%. 
As Natalie Mehra from the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) said in the Toronto Star, ”We’ve just been through the worst mass tragedy in long term care in a generation and those operators who were the worst, who were responsible for the most deaths, they’re now getting the most funding. I’m outraged.”
The OHC represents hundreds of seniors groups, unions and patient organizations across the province. They have local coalitions in many cities and towns, and will continue their spirited fight against the privitization. It is a model of the type of broad based, grass roots campaigns that are necessary to defeat the heartless policies of governments and corporations driven only by profit. Trade unionists must join with the movements on the ground to fight back against the continuing attacks and inspire others to do the same. That’s how we will win.
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