No more DoFo

I’m thinking about a lot of things this Labour Day. Not only the workers who came before me, but the work I engage in on a daily basis as a woman, a public employee, and someone who loves the arts and cares about marginalized communities. Under DoFo I have learned just how irrelevant and non-essential so many of us are to this idiotic man, whose scholastic achievements include high school and two months at Humber College. He happily slices our safety/survival net and supports initiatives like “buck-a-beer”, which he flagged as more important than health and education during his campaign last year:

“Health, education and everything is important, but all I heard everywhere I went was ‘buck a beer, buck a beer, buck a beer.’ So sometimes the media, ourselves even, we live in a bubble, and you don’t realize some of the kitchen table issues that people want to get done … a simple thing like a buck a beer goes a long way”(https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-buck-beer-takes-effect-1.4800142).

The comparisons between DoFo and Trump abound, and both men are united by more than their boorish or boarish (take your pick) appearances. Their harmful policy decisions impact women, children and youth, Indigenous communities, people who enjoy reading and conducting scientific research, immigrants, the poor, those struggling with addictions, public sector workers, students, and artists. Like Trump, DoFo doesn’t care about or – hold your breath—believe in climate change and his first move as premier was to cancel the cap-and-trade program. Cancellations and severe cuts to environmental research and protection and various green initiatives soon followed.

No one likes a Debbie Downer on a long weekend – I know. BUT, I often feel helpless and enraged about what is happening and writing helps. Learning about the cancellations, cuts, freezes, eliminations, and non-discussion items that have occurred during this most stained reign was frightening. I’ve included them here for those who might not remember or know the extent of the damage DoFo is causing. He’s got over three more years to go and joining together in ways large and small is critical to protecting ourselves, our lands, and the lives of people we care about. He doesn’t have to be re-elected, right?

Bees are affected too, not just the figurative ones who read this blog or who live in Ontario, but the actual winged, buzzing, pollen-collecting, food-producing varieties. We need these small magical creatures to survive on this place we sometimes don’t seem to deserve, and they need us. Honey for thought…

A SUMMARY OF DoFo’S POLICY DECISIONS IN HIS FIRST YEAR OF OFFICE—IT’S NOT PRETTY.

Cancelled (19):

  • Rent control in new buildings, three provincial watchdog positions and more
  • Funding for three university satellite campuses
  • Labour reform (Bill 148)
  • Nearly half of Toronto city council
  • The Basic Income Project
  • Changes to sex-ed curriculum
  • Hydro One’s CEO and its board of directors
  • Writing sessions to revise Indigenous education curriculum
  • Hiring in the public sector
  • Free prescriptions for children and young adults with private coverage
  • The cap-and-trade program
  • The Green Ontario Fund
  • $100 million in funding for school repairs
  • Funding for the Ontario College of Midwives
  • Ontario Arts Council funding
  • The 10-year contract with the Beer Store
  • The Compensation for Victims of Crime Act
  • The 50 Million Tree Program
  • $50 million fund to help childcare centres cover costs for parents

 

Cut (19):

  • Millions to artificial intelligence research
  • 70% of provincial funding to the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre
  • Annual funding for stem cell research
  • An unclear amount of funding from violence against women shelter services
  • eHealth budget
  • Health policy and research funding
  • The Ministry of Labour’s prevention office budget
  • Tourism budget for Ottawa and Toronto
  • Tech start-up funds
  • Funding for all think tanks in the province
  • $8 million from The Ontario Music Fund
  • $1 billion from Toronto Public Health over the next ten years
  • Payments to flood management programs
  • 50% of Ontario Library Service funding
  • All legal aid for refugee and immigration cases and 30% of the general legal aid budget
  • Thousands of full-time teaching positions
  • Funding for two safe injection sites in Toronto, and one in Ottawa
  • Free tuition for low-income students
  • $25 million in funding for specialized school programs

 

Proposed (9):

  • Phasing out Ontario’s enhanced driver’s license program
  • An end to building height limits in Toronto
  • Ending the Transition Child Benefit
  • A $46-million decrease in spending for the OPP
  • Ending OHIP coverage for travel outside Canada
  • Decrease protections for at-risk species due to changes to the Endangered Species Act
  • Eliminating 14 regional health agencies
  • Buyouts for non-unionized public staff
  • Changes to childcare, environmental and labour regulations

Frozen (1):

Public sector wage increases at 1%

Reinstated (1):

Half a billion dollars in municipal funding

Not up for debate (1):

The recognition of gender identity

Dissolved (1):

14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and six health agencies

Eliminated (1):

An Ontario Arts Council-funded Indigenous Culture Fund

Source: https://www.flare.com/news/doug-ford-changes-for-ontario/ (June 7, 2019; Flare Staff)

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