OPINION: Should people in Brampton, Mississauga and Ontario be allowed a recall election?

 

Have you heard California is preparing for a recall election? 

If you don't know what that is, basically, the residents of the state have become so fed up with their governor, they are mandating a new gubernatorial election. 

While our political system differs quite a bit from the U.S., one of the differences few people know about or talk about is the recall election. 

In 19 states in the U.S., residents have the power to trigger a recall election if enough signatures from registered voters are gathered in a certain period of time. 

Unfortunately, in Canada, we do not have this (the closest thing we have to a recall election would be in B.C., where Members of the Legislative Assembly can be removed from office if enough voters in their riding sign a petition.). 

We do have the motion of no confidence, which can trigger a new election, but it's only voted on by members of provincial parliament, meaning it has virtually no chance of success when one party has a majority of seats (as is currently the case in Ontario). 

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it's that Doug Ford, while elected fair and square, is not fit to hold office—and it's past time Ontario implements a way for voters to oust politicians unfit for the position before their term is up. 

Ontario is currently in the midst of the worst wave of COVID-19, and we're now more than one full year into the pandemic. 

When it first started, many praised Ford's handling of the pandemic. But since then, he has consistently refused to follow the recommendations of his advisors, and shown a clear lack of understanding when it comes to effective ways to mitigate and control the spread of the virus. 

People are taking notice. 

According to a recent poll, 42 per cent of Ontarians are frustrated with the Ford government's handling of the pandemic, and his approval rating has dropped all the way down to 30 per cent. 

People are so fed up with Ford, he has been trending on social media multiple times for his incompetence. 

Much of the criticism comes from his handling--or lack thereof--of the pandemic. Despite warnings from Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, Ford refused to implement additional restrictions in Ontario until the health care system was at its breaking point. 

As it is now, GTA hospitals are so overrun with COVID-19 cases, people are being airlifted to other regions for treatment. 

All non-elective surgeries have been postponed, so the hospitals can instead focus on patients sick with the virus. 

The Advisory Table warned this would happen months ago, but Ford chose to ignore it. 

And, when he has implemented restrictions, he's refused to address the root cause of the spread. 

He's consistently chosen to shutter small businesses, which aren't significantly linked to spreading the virus, while keeping warehouses and big box stores open. 

Further, he refused to implement paid sick days for all Ontarians for months, only agreeing to offer three days after weeks upon weeks of intense pressure from health experts and residents.  

This has resulted in many people, particularly residents of the GTA, going into crowded workplaces with the virus because they simply couldn't afford not to. 

Data that showed people confirmed to have the virus were still going into work came out months ago, still, Ford refused to implement sick days. 

Additionally, the government insisted schools were safe, refusing to close them, provide the necessary PPE for teachers, or reduce class sizes. 

Despite all the claims the Province has made that schools were safe, it just takes a cursory look at when cases began to spike again to see it's simply not true. 

The second wave began in the fall, right as schools reopened. This is not a coincidence. Classrooms were packed with 20+ kids and a teacher(s). Despite the government's insistence people from different households stay apart and avoid close contact indoors, they were requiring students and teachers do this very thing everyone else was told not to do. 

During a press conference on April 16, Ford chose to impose ridiculous restrictions that weren't based on any scientific data--closing outdoor amenities. 

With the pandemic now surpassing 13 months, gathering outdoors has been a safe--it's very rare people contract the virus while in well-ventilated areas outside--alternative to indoor gatherings. 

Ford's decision is not only not based in science, it actually works against mitigating the spread. A recent poll found that 42 per cent of Canadians admitted to visiting their friends and family indoors during this third wave, up from 32 per cent during the second wave, and 24 per cent in the first wave. People are no longer listening to the government, so prohibiting outdoor gatherings doesn't stop people from gathering. It moves them inside, away from enforcement, and increases the risk of transmission. 

During another recent press conference, Ford accepted that these restrictions were ill-advised (one of the rare occurrences where he has accepted fault during the last year). This week, however, he blamed community spread in Ontario entirely on the federal government, citing international travel as the key driver of the virus. While Canada has certainly needed stricter border measures, Ford implying that there’s nothing he or his government could have done to curb transmission in the province is shocking and rage-inducing, to say the least. 

Once again, with the cases continuing to rise, and our health care system already overburdened, his plan for three paid sick days is too little, too late—especially since those who need more time will still need to apply for help from the federal government.  

During an earlier press conference, Ford appeared emotional, but was it for the people in Ontario losing their loved ones, their livelihoods, and their lives... or the overnight drop in his approval rating?

Ford has been so inept, it's gotten to the point where Ontario's most impacted areas--Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon--have had to take matters into their own hands.

Toronto and Peel chose to close schools initially, and shortly thereafter the Province announced all schools would move to online learning. Toronto and Peel also mandated workplaces with outbreaks be forced to close--something Ford has refused to do. 

Moreover, while we're certainly in unprecedented times, our current position shouldn't be that surprising, given Ford's actions pre-pandemic. 

When he initially took office, he made cuts to education and health care, and now he has the audacity to question how we got here? He brought us here. 

But, while there have been thousands of tweets and social media posts calling for his head, he's not the most-hated premier Ontario has seen in recent memory. 

At her lowest point, former Premier Kathleen Wynne's approval rating was just 12 per cent. People were so angry at Wynne, the Liberals didn't win enough seats in the last election to maintain official party status. 

We shouldn't have to suffer through four years of incompetence because that's how the system has always worked. 

It's time for us to update our archaic system, hold our politicians accountable, and remove them from office when they demonstrate they're unfit for the position. 

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