The demise of Doug Ford

He was in the right place at the right time…

The biggest hurdle that Doug Ford conquered was winning the nomination battle for the leadership of the provincial conservative party about a year ago. He started as an untouchable leader with a tremendous upside, but his star has been diminishing about six months ago and he has been dropping like a lead ball.

His polling numbers are very low, and many pundits don’t believe he will ever be able to make this ground up, especially with the Dean French backroom deals that Ford has to clean up.

Premier Doug Ford’s latest short-sighted move is his cuts to our health care system.

Ontario will go ahead with some of its controversial municipal funding cuts for public health and child care next year. The Ford government tried to force retroactive funding cuts on communities earlier this year but had to cancel them in May after many municipal leaders complained their annual budgets had already passed.

The province’s new plan will see all municipalities – including Toronto – pay 30 per cent of public health care costs. Under the initial plan, Toronto would have been on the hook for 50 per cent of the cost. Previously, municipalities had varying public health cost-sharing arrangements with the province, with Ontario paying 100 per cent or 75 per cent in some cases.

Starting on January 1, 2020 municipalities will also have to pay 20 per cent of the cost of creating new child care spaces, which the province previously fully funded. Some cuts to funding for administrative child care costs are being delayed until 2021 and others are being delayed to 2022. Doug Ford also said land ambulance funding will increase by four per cent – $26 million – in 2019-2020. However, the premier did say that he would be providing transitional funding to municipalities as they deal with the cuts, but the real numbers could not be confirmed.

Toronto city councillors and the board of health called on Doug Ford to immediately reverse the cuts slated for next year. While the city doesn’t yet know the financial impact of the cost-sharing changes, they will have an adverse impact on public health in general.

Child-care and health-care advocates are slamming the provincial government’s plan to go ahead with some of its controversial funding cuts next year.

Toronto Mayor John Tory had warned the public health cuts would affect services like children’s breakfast programs, vaccination programs and water quality testing, and the child-care cuts would jeopardize subsidies. John Tory and other Ontario mayors from the largest municipalities have slammed the various cuts to municipal funding earlier this year, characterizing them as “downloading by stealth.” Mayor John Tory softened his stance by saying he “appreciates the government’s efforts over the past few months to listen to municipalities.”

Mayor John Tory has said that he recognizes and appreciates the challenges the government of Ontario faces in getting its deficit under control, and he supports its intention to do so.

Minister Christine Elliott has said that Toronto will have to pay more for public health services.

Minister Elliott has indicated that if the City of Toronto meets its obligations, there should be no reduction in overall spending on public health services and programs. The city of Toronto will be expected to pay $4.3 million more next year from an operating budget of over $13 billion.

Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet ministers have defended the cuts as necessary to tackle an urgent financial situation and said municipalities needed to do their part, as the recipients of a large share of provincial dollars. The government is trying to eliminate an $11.7 billion deficit.

In the midst of taking heat from municipalities over the cuts this spring, Doug Ford announced up to $7.35 million in total for audits to help them find savings in their budgets.

Year 1 has been marked by the Ford government with scandals, cuts, cuts and cuts.

Is Doug Ford doing the right thing for our future generation, or has he just gone too far too fast?

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