Doug Ford likes playing peek-a-boo with Ontario voters

One of the greatest perks that many Northern families enjoy is being able to go to camp to be surrounded by natural beauty and solitude, just minutes from home. Some of us can even go there daily after work. I know a family who frequently enjoys having their kids come to camp with little ones. When I stopped to chat with a neighbour recently, I saw the grandma holding up a blanket and playing peek-a-boo with the baby. Being so young, the child had not developed an understanding of the permanence of objects. According to child psychologist Jean Piaget, children learn between infancy and age two that objects still exist even when they cannot be seen. This is called object permanence. Think back to college days and Psych 101.

After watching the grandma play that game with her grandchild, it occurred to me that Premier Ford likes to play this game too. He is trying to hide his government’s past decisions and actions. He’s hoping that by the time the 2026 provincial election rolls around, his government’s questionable decisions will be out of sight and never have even existed in voters’ minds.

Ontarians can’t afford to allow Doug Ford to win this game of peek-a-boo. People must remember how the Ford government wasted millions of tax dollars cancelling green renewable energy projects such as windmill generators. He also spent millions ripping out Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations that were already installed and working on some of Ontario’s 400 series highways.

What was Mr. Ford and his government thinking after he was elected in 2018? In the July 11, 2023 edition of the Toronto Star, reporter Marco Chown Oved stated that the Ford government spent $231 million to cancel 700 clean energy projects. And in the government’s infinite wisdom, they chose to eliminate the electric vehicle (EV) purchase subsidy. With no new renewables coming online, the electricity system has come to rely more heavily on natural gas, driving up emissions.

Fast forward to last month. Energy Minister Todd Smith held a media event to proudly announce, “Our government is putting shovels in the ground to build critical infrastructure that will support Ontario’s growing EV manufacturing industry. With EV fast chargers now available at all 20 renovated ONroute stations along our province’s busiest highways, it will be more convenient than ever this summer for workers and families to grab a coffee or a meal while charging their electric vehicle.”

By ripping down electric vehicle charging stations that were already installed, Doug Ford dragged Ontario backward and burnt money. Then suddenly, he realizes he made a mistake and decides he has to make up for lost time, no matter how much it costs Ontarians. Hmmm…maybe this is Premier Ford’s version of ‘Back to the Future’?

The name of the game today is for governments to invest in clean-green-renewable energy. Ontario is already woefully behind in working toward a zero emissions target. And just days ago, the government released its latest energy plan, Powering Ontario’s Growth.

The report states that energy consumption is on the rise now for the first time since 2005. So, what is Mr. Ford’s plan to get us back on track and keep up with the demand for electricity? Build more nuclear power plants because they are the affordable clean way to produce future power. Unfortunately, however, his plan is frightfully short on details.

The July 8 Toronto Star reports that the government is planning “massive expansions at two nuclear plants, promising more than six gigawatts of new generation — enough to power six million homes by the mid-2030s.” Three new Small Modular Reactors will be built at Darlington, and a full-size reactor on Lake Huron at the Bruce plant location.

Premier Ford is taking Ontarians on a no-limits spending spree! He doesn’t know how much this will cost taxpayers or how the province will even pay for it all. He’s told Ontarians he wants a blank cheque without giving citizens all the facts, figures and choices. Basically, Mr. Ford is telling Ontarians, “We’ve painted ourselves into a corner and here is what we are going to do to fix the problem, no matter what it costs you.”

It is interesting to note also that one of the major selling points the government is promoting is how clean and environmentally responsible it is to invest in atomic energy. But really, just how clean is it? The nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, Public Citizen, says nuclear energy can’t hold a candle to wind and solar power. They estimate it takes between 10 – 18 years to recover the energy and carbon emissions used to build a nuclear facility. But it takes less than 1 year to recover the energy used to install wind-powered generators and 3 years for solar generators. Despite Premier Ford’s grand ambitions for nuclear power, we would not have been forced into the position of expensive retrofits and reliance on expanding nuclear energy’s role in the grid if he hadn’t spent so much of taxpayer’s money undermining renewables when he took office.

Ontario families deserve so much better than a government that drags us backwards while painting Ontarians into a hopeless corner of limited options. They deserve leadership that doesn’t play peek-a-boo-a-boo with information, costs and plans, then try to recover with hastily made plans and decisions. We need responsible leadership that focuses and commits to meeting vital targets that will ensure our economic and environmental stability.

Come June 2026, Mr. Ford will surely learn if Ontarians understand object permanence when they go to the polls.

As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues or any other provincial matters. You can reach my constituency office by email at my new address, [email protected] or by phone Toll-free at 1-800-831-1899.

Michael Mantha