Does Doug Ford really want Andrew Scheer to win the federal election?
Scheer was campaigning in Ford’s backyard in Etobicoke yesterday and there was no sign of the premier. The scene was repeated at Scheer’s next campaign stop in Brampton, where Ford turned the tide for the PCs during the 2018 provincial election.
Ford is already messing with Scheer’s chances in a big way in Ontario. The chaos of cuts he’s unleashed on the province has seen to that.
Until Doug started slashing with reckless abandon, Scheer was ahead of Justin Trudeau in Ontario. Now he’s behind, by how much depends on which polls you believe.
And with the possibility of Ford’s fight with teachers unions ending up in a strike in Ontario smack dab in the middle of the election to remind voters of the disaster Ford has been, Scheer’s electoral prospects are looking even more dicey.
Doug could have spooled out his agenda a little more slowly to provide his federal cousins political cover. Everyone knew the election was coming.
But he chose to go blitzkrieg, because that’s the only speed he knows, all of which could hand Trudeau a majority and deny Scheer any shot of forming a minority government. Not to mention, put his leadership in question should Scheer fail to win a couple of dozen more seats than the Cons currently occupy in the House. A lot will depend on what happens in Ontario.
Besides the political, there are a whole number of personal reasons why Doug would not want Scheer to become Prime Minister.
The number one reason is that Ford has long wanted Scheer’s job. He only ran for the provincial party leadership because the opportunity presented itself when Patrick Brown all of a sudden went boom. Up until then, the possibility of a mayoral run seemed the more likely scenario.
But Doug has always wanted to be PM. It’s been an open secret, only not taken seriously by most because, well, it’s Doug. And he ain’t exactly PM material in most people’s books, especially the Con intelligentsia.
His personal standing in the polls has improved some in recent weeks, but he’s still rock bottom. The Libs don’t even have a leader and they’ve been polling ahead of Ford’s PCs for weeks.
Now it’s been revealed that the $15 billion deficit the PCs say they inherited – and used to justify massive cuts – was actually half that amount.
Also, the scandal that marked Ford’s first weeks in office, namely to install his bud Ron Taverner as OPP commissioner, has reared its head again. On Friday, former interim OPP commissioner Brad Blair filed a $15-million lawsuit for wrongful termination against Ford.
With Ford, the hits just keep coming. And will continue to keep coming if we’ve learned anything from his late brother’s tenure as Toronto mayor. It’s not like he’s going to go to boot camp, lose 30 pounds and come back a new man.
In fact, word is the premier is already planning an exit strategy, “an elegant way to get out,” as one party insider puts it.
Fatigue has set in. Doug has never been big on the actual work of governing. Dude doesn’t do policy, nor read his briefing books. When shit started to hit the fan in June, he basically gave his government a five-month holiday, shutting down the legislature until after the federal election.
A little too early, you say, for Ford to be thinking about losing a 2022 election? Perhaps.
But a Scheer loss would also provide an opportunity for Ford to rehabilitate his image, even if Scheer manages to win enough seats to stay on as federal leader.
In that case, Ford would still have Trudeau to bash. He makes a better foil for the premier. In fact, Trudeau as PM may be the only hope Ford has of reviving his standing.
If that doesn’t work, there’s always the Toronto mayoralty.