It is time to take a deep breath, try to relax, and see how the next six months or so go.
This advice applies equally to the Karlsson-Hoffman squabble, the pending trade war with the U.S., and to the incoming Ontario government. There is precious little any one of us can do to affect the outcome of any of these “tragedies”. We the people would be well served to recall the standard cliché mouthed by many a hockey player, notably that he only focuses on what he can control.
With the hockey squabble, that confirms hockey players and their other halves suffer from the same human conditions as the rest of society. There is little to be gained by parsing the never-ending analyses from sociology majors and sports writers.
NAFTA and tariffs. My opinion plus 75 cents buys me nothing at my local Bridgehead. I suspect the same equation fits for everyone reading this column, aside from PM Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.
On the Ontario election, about 40 per cent of the voters got what they voted for. About per cent didn’t. Welcome to first past the post. Would some form of government based on the percentage of the votes work better? Perhaps, but the dysfunctional mess that is running the west coast should make everyone wonder whether the sight of a three-seat tail wagging a 41-seat dog is something to aspire to.
Anyhow, we are now just passengers on the Ford train. Will it be a train wreck, as predicted by many? Perhaps. Will the premier-elect Doug Ford surround himself with a strong cast of cabinet ministers and strategists? Perhaps. It will take at least six months to figure out.
What we do know is that Ford has a reputation. Some of that reputation is well-earned. Some of it is just rhetoric from political foes inside and outside the Ontario PCs. Some of that reputation is merely rhetoric from political supporters, mostly from within the Ontario PC party (although Warren Kinsella, a long-time Liberal strategist, is a Ford supporter). How much we believe about his reputation is driven more by our personal preferences than reality,whatever that is these days.
One thing will be easy to predict. There will be an early statement telling us that the financial affairs of the province are far worse than the previous government led everyone to believe, and this has created significant problems in delivering on campaign promises. Not only is that standard fare for every incoming government but given the untenable dispute between Ontario’s Liberal political masters and the auditor general over accounting standards, it will likely be correct. Let’s not be surprised if there is a reference to the tariff wall along the U.S. border as a contributing factor to the challenges on delivering on … what was it they promised again?
After that, it will be difficult to assess the Ford government’s performance against its platform, as there is little to compare it to. Their platform could be summed up as “not the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals”. That bar, quite frankly, is pretty low.
When someone promises more of this, less of that, with no specifics about what constitutes this or that, performance is in the eyes of the beholder. So, we can expect over the course of the next six plus months for the Ontario PCs to point to something they did as achieving a key part of their platform, and to something they didn’t do as achieving another key plank. They will be both right and wrong, depending on which side of the 40:60 fence one sits.
We live in uncertain times. The Ottawa Senators are in the middle of a tire fire. NAFTA in particular and trade with the U.S. in general is out of control. Ford is the premier-elect.
How should we handle all of this? Well, the cannabis laws are about to change. As some of you contemplate checking out the government’s supply, take time to consider former U.S. President Bill Clinton as a role model (Now who would have thought that to be a good idea?) and not inhale.
As for your correspondent, I intend to sit in the shade, inhale the sweet summer breeze and focus on what I can control, starting with my blood pressure.
Ron Benn, a finance executive, has been a member of the Centrepointe Community Association executive for the better part of three decades.
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