Ford Paying The Price For Political Dynasty

The prevailing narrative among politically minded people on the left, is that Doug Ford and conservatives are looking to undermine public health and education in pursuit of privatization.  I don’t believe there has ever been consensus among Canadian conservatives to do that and most certainly not now. Political sands have shifted, and conservatives realize that if they want to win in Canada, they need the working class vote. 

That is not to say, there’s not true-blue conservatives who would love nothing more than to privatize health and education It follows their political ideology of limited taxes and more choice. That mindset, however, does not resonate at all in Ontario. 

So, if Doug Ford is to have a run like Bill Davis, he is going to have to eventually make peace with the public sector, and bring pay raises, commensurate with inflation, and show that he is looking to maintain (at the very least) the status quo for public health and education.

So, what is has stopped him from doing this thus far?

I believe there’s still many people in the party who believe that the public sector is never going to vote conservative, so why bother giving in to them. They’re not wrong, but it’s not the public sector voter who is their concern. It’s the working class - who need these essential services. 

These workers don’t have defined benefit pensions or job security. Playing the resentment card that they don’t have those benefits will only get you so far. Ford must remember that the working-class kids go to public schools and local hospitals. If those services are not up to par, offering privatization as a solution is not going to work.  They know they won’t be able to afford it and trying to sell tax deductions to this group won’t work either.  Tax credits you jump through a hoop to get – appeal to some voters, but not them.  

To stay in power, Ford must at the very least maintain the public service. This means in our current system – gritting his teeth and paying the very unions he despises. Yes, a pay bump will cost the provincial treasury and alienate some of his ardent fiscal conservative followers, but where are they going to go? 

Ford's position on the political spectrum gives him the political capital to spend. It's the price he must pay if he wants a political dynasty. 

By Gregory Cawsey