The real cost of Doug Ford’s slash-first, think-later brand of politics

The real cost of Doug Ford’s slash-first, think-later brand of politics

Scientists, students, teachers, researchers, doctors and front-line workers tell their stories. A nine-part series on the Ford Fallout

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Read all the Ford Fallout stories:

“Efficiencies” was Doug Ford’s watchword on the campaign trail, and by golly he was going to find them. Frankly, it sounded great. Unfortunately for him, the gross misspending and high financial crimes he so frequently cited didn’t exist—it turns out Queen’s Park was running pretty lean as it was.

So Ford did what politicians do when theory and reality fail to intersect: he pivoted. Instead of eliminating slush funds and streamlining processes, he started cutting. And then he cut some more. No one said erasing a multi-billion-dollar deficit wouldn’t leave a few scars, but Ford’s approach to surgery was more like improvised hacking—and he often did it with zero consultation from the people going under the knife.

To the surprise of exactly no one, outcry followed—angry op-eds, street-clogging protests, threats of strikes, rolling walkouts—and Ford’s approval ratings plummeted. In an attempt to stop the slide, Ford reversed some of the cuts. It kind of worked: many Torontonians lost track of what had actually been cut and what hadn’t. The damage, however, had been done.

Ford’s war on the bottom line threw dozens of public organizations into disarray, put our climate, schools and public health workers in jeopardy, and left thousands of Ontarians vulnerable. In the stories here, the devastating proof.

This story originally appeared in the January 2020 issue of Toronto Life magazine. To subscribe, for just $29.95 a year, click here.