To be fair, he was giving what seem like sincere answers to questions posed by an interviewer, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s recent foray into U.S. political commentary is, to use his own word, “scary.”
In an interview with the Canadian American Business Council, Ford stated, “I always say socialism doesn’t work … Raising taxes does not work. Show me anywhere in the world that it works; it doesn’t.” No surprise there. Ford’s a Conservative and that’s the collective stance.
When the interviewer suggested he should share his positions with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Ford said, in reference to Sanders’ brand of socialism, “That’s actually scary.”
Actually socialism works not bad in Canada, including Ontario, where the concept is applied judiciously to services such as health care, employment insurance, public housing and more.
A Forum poll of 1,733 Canadian voters conducted in August, indicated 58 per cent of respondents said they have a positive view of socialism.
That’s probably because they, unlike Ford, understand it not as a synonym for Marxism or Communism, where the state controls the means of production, but as the hybrid Canadian version of democratic socialism which simply involves making sure someone who needs a tonsillectomy or loses a job need not face bankruptcy.
Interestingly, the same poll indicated 58 per cent of respondents also said they have a positive view of capitalism. Which pretty much solidifies the point.
Sanders, contrary to the picture being painted by the American right, is basically seeking a bit of Canadian-style wealth sharing, not total state control of the economy and society.
Ford went on to say he “loved” listening to President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union address.
“I was disappointed when I saw Nancy Pelosi get up there and start tearing the speech up,” Ford said. “That’s uncalled for. I think it’s a shame. It’s a real shame.”
In addition to the obviously concerning prospect that Ontarians elected a premier who might actually be naïve enough to believe things Trump (15,000 lies and counting) says, Ford went further by indicating a preference for Trump’s re-election.
“We hope the election is going to turn out the right way … Literally, the right way,” he stated.
That’s a pretty stark contrast to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approach to the volatile state of U.S. politics during the 2016 U.S. election campaign. Even though few at the time gave credence to the possibility of a Trump victory, Trudeau resisted the temptation to swing at any of the endless soft tosses from the crass Republican candidate and kept blandly re-iterating that his government would work with whoever was elected.
Ford, of course, was not elected for his international diplomacy skills (near as we can tell it was mostly his ability to not be Kathleen Wynne that put him over the top), but for the sake of his constituents, it perhaps behooves him not to throw all our eggs into the basket of the “stable genius” down south.
Elections these days are generally pretty tough to call.