Doug Ford was not my first choice to be the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (PCPO), nor was he my second or even third choice. I worried about his populist streak and his lack of policy experience. Canada’s biggest and most important province, I thought (and still think), does not need a home-grown version of Donald Trump.
Premier Ford has stepped up, during the COVID-19 crisis, to become ‘Captain Canada.’ His instincts and his “everyman” approach are exactly what Ontario, and, indeed, all of Canada needs today. Premier Ford understands the fears and hopes of the truck driver and grocery store clerk and the hospital nurse. He understands the worries of those who have lost their jobs because he, very correctly, declared a state of emergency in Ontario. He understands because he is a sort of “everyman.” He’s the exact opposite of the followers of the Laurentian Elites and of the ‘Charter Canadians‘ who make up too much of the base of the Liberal Party of Canada. He’s a white, male, Anglo-Saxon, suburban Ontarian. He can take an “everyman” approach because he is like “everyman,” or, at least, he’s something akin to “majority-man.” He speaks for many of us, Asians, Blacks, Catholics, Daoists, English, French … he’s like us all. He’s the polar opposite of Justin Trudeau, Mélanie Joly, Chrystia Freeland and Bill Morneau …
… who epitomize the Laurentian Elites. But, right now, the Laurentian Elites are just as confused and frightened as anyone else and they know that their friends in Ottawa don’t have any answers so they, too, look to Premier Ford … because he is, honestly, trying his best. He sees himself as one of us. He understands us. He is “of the people.” Premier Ford is quite unlike Prime Minister Trudeau. Premier Ford has grown, quickly and massively, into a leadership role; Prime Minister Trudeau has shrunk away from it.
Ontario and, indeed, Canada is lucky to have Doug Ford. The same cannot be said for Justin Trudeau … he needs to be tossed aside, along with most of his cabinet and replaced by Liberals who are more like Doug Ford.