There are certain unwritten rules in politics that our politicians have generally abided by — until now.
For example, we expect that our representatives will act in a manner that is open to the public, that decisions involving our province will be well thought out, and that legislation will actually address some sort of concern that we have.
Whether we agree or disagree with a politician’s decisions, we’ve always had ample notice of what’s to come. But recently Doug Ford’s idea of cutting city council seemed to come out of nowhere. This is the sort of plan that a politician would be transparent about from the time of their campaign period. However, city council cuts were not previously on Ford’s agenda, nor had he ever mentioned it before becoming premier. Yet in his short time in office it’s been one of the first major changes he is fighting for.
The fact that it has come in the middle of a election makes the decision seem even less thought out. He supported his actions with next to no political argument or reason as to how it would make things better or solve a problem. It raises a lot of suspicion as to what Ford’s true motivation for the decision was.
Another violation of norms has been Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause. Any reasonable person would know this action of setting aside the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is to be saved for an extreme situation. If Ontario is ever in some sort of crisis or threat, that would be the time for drastic measure. While council reform might be something to look into to, there was never a rush for it. Ford has openly admitted to not being afraid to use the clause again in the future.
Doug Ford’s hasty decisions could very well not turn out the way he is planning. Although he is new to office, he won’t be there forever.
To democracy we’ll leave the future of his mandate.