A while back I wrote that I wasn’t much concerned about Trumpism spreading North.
Well, I’m worried now.
This is what you get for not paying attention. Ontario politics? Small potatoes! From the little I bothered to notice, things seemed pretty much business as usual here in Central Canada. The budget was less out of whack, the minimum wage was up, there was a perhaps ill-conceived sale of public hydro assets, the usual pre-election pandering was taking the form of artificially reduced electricity rates, the present Liberal government was hugely unpopular, and dogged by scandals like most governments that have hung around too long, and the opposition Conservatives were in a bit of a tail spin owing to alleged sexual hijinks of their party leader. Check. Nothing to see here, back to keeping an eye on Trump.
So I wake up this morning and Trump 2.0 is in charge of the provincial Conservative Party. Yup, Doug Ford, slightly less indecorous brother of the late Rob, current champion of Ford Nation, looks good to be the next Ontario premier.
They’ve got my attention now, eh?
The superficial parallels with what happened in America are too close to ignore. The despised liberal woman; the loud-mouthed idiot, unexpectedly propelled to the top; the rotten conservative ideology that opposes female reproductive rights, environmental regulation, and so on; an emphasis on wedge issues that ought to have no political significance, like sex education in schools; the pandering to religious bigotry; the bogus touting of business success as a qualification to manage public policy; it’s all so awfully familiar.
Why? Why here? Are we really about to suffer the scourge of populism in this historically “small-l” liberal neck of the woods?
And where do I run?