Michael Ford skips debate

Surprising nobody and disappointing many, Michael Ford did not attend last night’s debate. I think this is inexcusable.

Perhaps Ford was afraid he’d embarrass himself in front of his constituents. If that’s the case, he shouldn’t go any further. If he can’t take the heat of two hours in a church basement, he’ll be incinerated over four years at Queen’s Park.

Maybe Ford was worried his ideas or experience won’t stand up to the scrutiny of the other candidates. If so, he should quit. There is no shame in that—a good person knows when they’ve been bested.

But I think these possibilities are very unlikely. Michael Ford has been city councillor— he’s not afraid of the spotlight, nor a little rough-and-tumble.

He is almost certainly following the instructions of his masters in the party. If so, he’s got his responsibilities backward: he works for us, not the PCs. He needs to take courage and make his pitch. If he catches hell for it, so be it. York South–Weston needs someone with guts to represent us, not a PC puppet taking orders from above.

Meeting with—and representing—his constituents is the job. If he won’t show up for the interview, we would be fools to hire him.

I take debates seriously because politicians are too sure, too often. Debates test their ideas in front of constituents and competitors. If politicians won’t bring their ideas into the light, they are afraid of what we’ll see—or that we’ll see nothing at all.

I won’t be voting for Michael Ford.

Greens field candidate

The Green Party has fielded Ignacio Mongrell for the provincial election, completing the roster of candidates from the major parties.

The Greens say “Mongrell is a husband, environmentalist, and entrepreneur who proudly identifies as queer. He has worked with entrepreneurs for over 12 years at the Waterloo Accelerator Centre…. He is currently the Assistant Director at ICUBE, a business accelerator program at the University of Toronto.”

Michael Ford will be running for the Progressive Conservatives. Ford is, of course, the nephew of Premier Doug Ford and currently the city councillor for Etobicoke North.

Nadia Guerrera is representing the Liberals. She is teaches at Chaminade, where she heads the Social Science Department. Guerrera ran in Parkdale–High Park for the Liberals in 2018.

Faisal Hassan, our incumbent MPP, will be running again for the New Democrats.

Padovani announces she’ll run

Chiara Padovani told The Star that she will run again in the next municipal election.

Padovani came in third in 2018 with a very strong showing against the two incumbents, Frances Nunziata and Frank Di Giorgio. She received 20% of the vote. Since the election she has remained very active in the community as a tenant organizer, among other activities.

The next election will be October 24, 2022.

VIA Rail stop in Weston?

For years we’ve heard that VIA Rail would love to stop their four daily trains in Weston but that they’re being thwarted by Metrolinx who say that there wouldn’t be enough time for VIA trains to transfer passengers on and off without disrupting UP Express and GO Train schedules. The stop would be an incredible convenience for Weston Residents, would slow the train down as it roars through Weston and would allow eastbound VIA passengers destined for Pearson Airport a short cut instead of having to schlep all the way downtown.

If you go to the VIA Rail site however, they’re still posting Weston’s station address as 39 John Street so maybe an awareness of the new location would indicate a more sincere wish for a Weston stop. Either way, it’s beginning to look highly unlikely that a the devolved passenger arm of a corporate Father of Confederation™ and the mighty execs of Metrolinx will get together to make life easier for actual passengers.

Source: https://www.viarail.ca/en/explore-our-destinations/stations/weston Click to enlarge

Maybe this is a problem that an election promise could solve.

Candidates, what say you?

Mike Ford wants YSW MPP seat.

What’s in a name?

Mike Ford has had a wildly successful political career. He began as a Toronto school board trustee in 2014, became a Toronto city councillor two years later after the terminal illness of his uncle and former Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. Now at the ripe old age of 28, Mike Ford has announced he will be running as a candidate for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election on June 22. His other famous uncle, Premier Doug Ford holds Etobicoke North and family friend Kinga Surma has Etobicoke Centre – the next nearest local seat is York South Weston where incumbent Faisal Hassan is enjoying a successful first term.

Many naysayers claim that Ford has succeeded on the coat tails of his two famous uncles. That may well have been true at the start of his career but Mike Ford has shown himself to be a good listener and sincere advocate for his constituents while his council votes tend to be on the conservative and frugal side.

Councillor Mike Ford (L) talks to constituents at the official opening of the Raymore Park off-leash area in July 2017. (file).

No Progressive Conservative candidate has won the York South-Weston seat since the riding was created in 1999. Mark DeMontis came close in 2018 with 33% of the vote compared to 36% for the NDP’s Faisal Hassan. PCs must be confident that Ford has a good shot at the seat as he is a local boy having been raised across the river in Etobicoke; there’s that magic Ford name and no doubt there will have been some local polling to scope out possibilities.

A Mike Ford win depends on a good connection with voters and a reasonably sized Blue Wave hitting the province. That might just happen. According to 338Canada Projection, the PCs currently poll at 37% support to the Liberals’ 28% and the NDP trails at 25% – with the usual caveats that anything can happen between now and June. In recent months, Doug Ford seems to have moved his party to the centre, is now in favour of lefty things like a higher minimum wage – he’s even encouraging electric cars. His removal of the mask mandate from much of daily life has pleased his base and infuriated the provincial Liberal and NDP parties. At the same time, Ford is positioning himself as the best friend of the federal Liberals and the man who can work with them. The main strategy seems to be to attack the NDP while giving the Del Duca Liberals nowhere to go.

My prediction; a tough local fight that will push both Faisal Hassan and Mike Ford to their limits. Will the Ford name nudge the younger candidate over the top or will it be a liability? There is no doubt that the riding will be well served by whoever gets in. Hassan is accessible and has worked hard during his term, setting up a storefront office on Weston Road right in downtown Weston. Mike Ford will have enviable connections.

One thing for certain; this will be a devastating loss for one of these two candidates.

Hussen has tough portfolio

Spare a thought for Ahmed Hussen, our MP, who has what might be the most difficult portfolio in Ottawa. Not only has he been tasked with lowering home prices (it’s not going well), but also he is the point man for the Liberal’s hate speech bill.

The Liberals first introduced a hate speech law last year, but the election ended its progress. That bill would have allowed individuals and groups to file complaints to a human rights tribunal for instances of “detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination”.

Hussen said this week that the Liberals will reintroduce a new version of the bill soon. He told CTV:

“We know too many people in Canada are victimized by hate speech and hate crimes and we have to make sure we are tackling this…. One of the ways we are doing this is to formally define hatred in the Criminal Code and also to improve the complaints process available for victims of hate speech.”

While C-36 was broadly supported by advocates for affected groups, civil-rights advocates were critical. They said that the bill overreached and would stifle lawful speech. The Conservatives said enforcement shouldn’t fall to bureaucrats.

Hussen has a brutal job, especially these days. The bill is sure to be seen by the Liberals’ many (and vocal) detractors as an effort to censor dissent. This bill will accompany another to govern social media companies—and the first time that one was introduced, it was excoriated. And, in the end, whatever Hussen introduces will be appealed to the Supreme Court, where it may be watered—or struck—down.

Topsy Turvy World

There once was a time when roughly speaking, the NDP stood for working people and the Conservatives represented the business classes. The Liberals would carve out the middle, blowing left and right as it suited them.

The Truckers’ Convoy has illustrated a profound shift in those positions. No longer is the NDP the party of the working class. They, along with the Liberals have for some reason decided to vilify the truckers, repeating the lie that they’re a bunch of yahoos, racists and ____phobes (fill in the blank with your choice of prefixes).

The Liberals are currently on the left as well and using the Covid emergency have managed to exercise control over nearly all of Canada’s media outlets. The legacy press has been supported financially through the pandemic with the expectation that the government’s messages would be reflected uncritically. It’s not a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you and with strings attached to the funding, the Liberals have turned almost every media outlet into a state mouthpiece since the money started flowing. If you’re wondering why the Sun and National Post are so pro-government, it might have something to do with the $1.3 million government donation to parent company Postmedia.

Most recently the Liberals have co-opted the press to declare that the truckers have (amongst other atrocities) disrespected the Ottawa War Memorial and the statue of Terry Fox. They have waved swastika and Confederate flags, have openly defecated and urinated in the streets, have stolen from food banks and generally terrorized the people of Ottawa.

Can any of this be true? Yes but in rare and isolated instances and by focusing on isolated unrepresentative occurrences, the government has been able to lie about the true nature of the demonstration in an attempt to sway public opinion. When the same distorted view is reported and repeated by so many outlets the big lie is created.

Is there another side to the story? Going outside the legacy press, there are several bloggers who have reported and even broadcast live from the protests and they tell a different tale. Here’s a sampling of YouTube channels (and a blog) that are presenting a completely different version of the protest. Naturally these people aren’t government funded and that’s why they may be more honest and credible.

Clyde Do Something.
JustinCredibleTV
Jordan Peterson February 5.
Freedom Convoy Manifesto

The Reformed Physicist blog.

It’s essential that news is reported accurately and contrary opinions can be aired. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right – it’s only with the exchange of views that a dialog can exist and opposing sides can come to an understanding.