LETTER: Imagine the ghosts of Dickens visiting Premier Doug Ford | Daily News Byte

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‘What bleak future can this Premier endure to turn a nightmare into a miracle?’ wonders the local Green Party official, listening to Dickens

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This Christmas, I’m asking our premier for a Dickensian challenge to rattle him off Bill 23 and onto the right course: A Greenbelt Carol to Make Conservatives Conservative Again.

I imagine the story begins with the premier arriving at his home, getting off in a limo provided by one of his benefactors after a holiday gala. Approaching the door, fumbling for his keys, his late brother’s head appeared and challenged him.

Rob takes a serious tone to remind his older brother Dougie how they started, how they built Ford Nation by genuinely trying to help the “little guy” in Etobicoke north, and how that’s harder for Rob to do as mayor and almost impossible for Doug as premier. Rob warned his brother that the path he was on was a betrayal of the populist ticket they were on and that, to save his conservative soul, he would be visited that night by three ghosts.

I think of the Ghost of Conservatives Past appearing in the form of the recently deceased former Premier, Bill Davis. The two of them were teleported to 1954, after Hurricane Hazel when over 2,000 homes in Ontario were washed away and 81 people lost their lives.

Doug will watch how the Progressive Conservatives in government at the time established a conservation authority to protect watersheds and control flooding to save lives and property.

They then teleport to 1973, to witness then-PC premier Bill Davis establish the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, dubbed the “ecological building blocks” of the Greenbelt Act. Before leaving, Bill asks Doug why he could possibly think it would be a good idea to undo any of this in any way.

I imagine the Ghost of Conservatives Present appearing as a young voter. He will show the premier the lives of everyday Ontarians, who are struggling in these times. Perhaps, the parents of a chronically ill child would be treated if health care were not put into a doom spiral by lack of funding and staffing issues directly related to current PC policy.

Parents are even struggling to pay rent, forced to choose between food, or facing eviction. Playing Santa for the kid this year will be tough but somehow they will make it. More credit card debt is the likely answer.

The ghost emphasizes how insane it is to turn farmland into detached dwellings when the world has a food supply shortage and supermarket prices reflect that shortage. Families like this need housing but the housing they need is affordable. Doug’s plan won’t provide that. Before leaving, the ghost says that he believed in Premier Ford when he voted for him but he can’t do that anymore. He felt abandoned and betrayed.

I think of the Ghost of Conservatives Future, coming in the form of a weendigo, the spirit of greed and cupidity of the First Nations. The ghost does not appear dressed in “elegant clothes and befitting itself with cultured and dignified respectability” as the late great Anishnaabe author Basil Johnston described in his essay, Modern Cannibals of the Wild.

This weendigo will be a picture of rapacity, unrecognizable and showing the premier how his own actions have “destroyed and devastated the forests, leaving death, destruction and ugliness where once there was life, abundance and beauty.”

I’m having a hard time figuring out what exactly it would take; what sad future will shake this Premier to turn the nightmare into a miracle; arise with renewed zeal to stop the destruction; to go to his window, to the sounds of kids playing road hockey on his suburban Etobicoke street; “Are you there! young man! What day is it?” Doug yelled.

The answer: “It’s never too late to save the Greenbelt.”

Erik Schomann
Chief executive for the Simcoe North Green Party of the Canada Riding Association

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