Hell, I’ve got everything crossed, including my eyes. Today’s a big day. Mid-term elections in the U.S. and I’ve got to say my emotions are all over the place. One minute the polls seem hopeful and then I remember what the polls showed during the 2016 presidential election. So I’m not getting ahead of myself.
You might be wondering why I’ve got my knickers in such a twist, me being Canadian and all. Easy. You don’t have to be an American to be sickened or afraid of what’s going on in the land of the less-free-than- it-used-to-be. The current reign of terror impacts all of us, no matter where in the world we live — the assaults on the environment, trade, allies and the press to name a few. All of that affects everyone, worldwide.
Then there’s the rise of extreme right-wing conservatism in Europe and now Latin America. Like toxic waste, it spreads. Trumpism is traveling — even to Canada, the last bastion of civility — where there are more instances of incivility all the time. I first became aware of it a couple of years ago when I was blogging about American politics on Huff Post Canada. The ugliness and viciousness of the comments I was getting, the support for Trump, the outright racism — well, it was staggering. I was really stunned. Clearly, I’d been living in a bubble.
It’s not everywhere, it’s not as pervasive as it is in the U.S., or as loud, or as violent, but it’s there and it can’t be ignored. I said it at the time and I’ll say it again, our politicians here have to get their heads out of their asses and pay attention to the angry discourse and the mood of the country before it’s too late.
For that matter, lest we forget our own yellow-haired, shark-toothed ignoramus of a premier right here in Toronto. Another slick willy, another bully, another son of a millionaire who’d be nowhere without his father’s money. From the moment Doug Ford announced his candidacy earlier this year, he followed the Trump playbook. And guess what? It worked. He got himself elected. And the carnage started immediately.
In his less than five months in office, he’s:
- canceled promised funding for three university satellite campuses,
- announced he’ll be “getting rid” of an employment and labour reform bill (Bill 148),
- scrapped the minimum wage increase due to take effect on January 1, 2019
- scrapped the cap-and-trade program,
- left school boards without funding for school repairs,
- ended the pilot project that provided Ontarians with a “basic income,”
- reduced the disability support rates from 3% to 1.5%,
- repealed the updated sex-education curriculum,
- removed the Hydro One CEO and Board,
- canceled the writing sessions to further update Ontario’s curriculum to reflect the experiences of Indigenous Canadians,
- announced a hiring freeze, shut down all discretionary spending,
- dialed back free prescriptions for children and young adults,
- wound down the Green Ontario Fund
- reduced the size of city council — by nearly half — just as a Mayoral election campaign was starting (invoking a notwithstanding clause — a legal loophole that allows federal or provincial leaders to enact laws that go against sections of the Charter.)
The only thing he hasn’t done is invite the press into his office to watch him sign — with a flourish — his executive orders. We don’t have them. But I’m sure he admires the showmanship — so who knows — maybe one of these days we’ll see him on TV ripping up symbolic pieces of paper.
If the Republicans keep control of the house and senate tonight, it will be a major victory for Trump (and bad guys everywhere). If we think he considers himself “untouchable” now, just wait. I shudder to think.