Home Perspectives Opinions Counterpoint: Doug Ford is no bigot

Counterpoint: Doug Ford is no bigot

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford (Bruce Reeve/CC BY-SA 2.0)

In his column, Bernie Farber accused Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford of being a bigot. That’s quite an indictment to hurl at someone who aims to become the next premier of Ontario. So, is he?

Years ago, Doug Ford supposedly spoke about Toronto’s Chinese residents, proclaiming that, like him, they are “very fiscally responsible” people.

So?

In 2013, Ford told the Toronto Star that the Jewish community was “supportive, very supportive … they’re business people.”

And?

Doug Ford is not a bigot. He is the next premier of Ontario.

These were not bigoted statements. In the real world, people acknowledge that there are individual traits that tend to be particular to certain ethnic groups and cultures. No matter how hard some people may kick and scream about that being “politically incorrect,” you can’t impose change on identity markers. Those who attempt to do so only prove their own intolerance.

Ford was also deemed a “bigot” for his “association” with former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Tanya Granic Allen. Guilt by association – how very McCarthy-esque.

If we are going to seriously address bigotry and identity politics in our political culture, what about the party leader who denigrated “old, white” people for voting? Or the other leader defending a candidate who castigated our veterans and military? Does that not count as “bigotry,” too? What about the NDP, a party rife with anti-Israel, anti-Jewish candidates who promote the BDS narrative and worse?

The truth is that Ford has stood up for the Jewish community on numerous occasions. It was Ford, for example, who took a stand against Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, promising to defund Toronto’s Pride Parade if it didn’t disinvite these haters. Where were the other parties on that issue? In a word, absent.

Reading Farber’s column, and much of the anti-Ford material in the press, it’s hard not to wonder whether the political left believes that only it has the right to free speech, that only it knows how we should think and speak. That’s why it is so quick to employ the nasty tactic of shaming people by name-calling like “racist” and “bigot.”

Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford addresses a crowd in Sudbury, Ont., on May 3. (Doug Ford/CC BY-SA 2.0)

To see this lamentable strategy in action, you only need to go back to 2014, when Ford, then a city councillor, on behalf of his constituents opposed a home for teens with autism. Left-leaning media outlets were quick to take him to task, but did any of them actually research the story? Did anyone investigate to see if there were valid concerns that the teens at the home behaved violently and were aggressive when they went out unescorted? Did anyone ask why there was a sudden influx of homes for the challenged in the west end of Toronto? Perhaps if they had done so, they would have learned that Ontario’s Liberal government closed a 43-acre regional centre for the developmentally challenged called Thistletown, and broke promises to countless organizations for funding.

Instead, Ford was tried, convicted and condemned without any facts. But if Ford was such a “bigot” against the developmentally challenged, why would he have assisted The MukiBaum Centre in its effort to get access to parkland? Why did he co-chair The Reena Foundation Gala, helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund Reena’s invaluable programs?

Watching Ford during this campaign, it’s clear to me that he is hard-working, dedicated, loyal and no nonsense. He focuses on fiscal responsibility while his opponents promise the moon and the stars. He says it like he sees it, and he’s not afraid to stand up for what is right. He is committed to helping all Canadians, and as proof of that, he is respected and admired by virtually all ethnic groups in Canada. He’s not afraid to admit when he makes a mistake. At the end of the day, I believe he has Ontarians’ best interests at heart.

Doug Ford is not a bigot. He is the next premier of Ontario.


Vivienne Grace Ziner lives in Toronto.