Roy Green: Doug Ford — The premier few expected
A raucous laugh and a ready, toothy grin. A big man dragging along even bigger promises and expectations as Doug Ford, still perhaps to his own greatest surprise, is sworn in as premier of Canada’s most populous, and once upon a time, most powerful province: Ontario.
Doug Ford is a man who emerged from the ranks of the people. He is the middle class other politicians pine for. The name barks middle class. Doug, not Douglas. Last name, Ford. Not a multi-syllable nom de famille smacking of private school and Ivy League.
Even his business, Deco Labels and Tags, rings bowling instead of country-club lace and linen.
A man of the folks. The Toronto city councilor who stood by his troubled brother the mayor, instead of digging a moat and hiding behind the parapets waiting for the arrows to to stop flying.
You’d never yell, “Hey, Dalton!” or “Kath … hey!” No, indeed. It was “Premier McGuinty and Premier Wynne.” But now? You just might risk a “Hey, Doug.”
This is all good.
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The middle class, aka the political prize, wishes for some level of familiarity with the person at the top. The middle class wants to at least feel like the premier would be cool with sipping a beer and trading stories. With any of us.
Doug Ford is the face of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Make no mistake, behind him are the ranks of the usual poli-self-important. Starched underwear and non-existent personalities.
Premier Ford, or “Dougie,” must nurture and retain that easy familiarity with the people of the province, as he goes about the gargantuan task of winching Canada’s largest constituency back onto the rails.
This premier, I suspect, will avoid insulting voters, unless they spit into his soup. Ford has no option but to present as part show-trial judge and part-auditor. He must pursue, with the most punitive powers of the office of premier, anyone who may have filled their pockets, while emptying those of the taxpayers.
He will have allies outside Ontario. Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, surely. Jason Kenney, if Kenney is able to replace Rachel Notley in Alberta and if he hasn’t become too comfortably familiar with the taste of political caviar.
There will be no hugs with the current occupant of the PMO. Justin Trudeau is all the things Doug Ford is not. Trudeau is complex. Doug Ford is anything but. Trudeau hangs with the elites in Davos, hugs Soros and speaks of Canada as the first post-nation state.
None of this is to suggest Ford is a rube or a pushover. Ford is innately intelligent and quick to identify needs (real needs) and engage solutions.
There may well be a lack of orthodoxy and there certainly will be anti-Ford griping and rallies from the left, deserved or not.
It was the people’s time to choose, and we chose Doug Ford.
Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.
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