Doug Ford refuses to use the word “cuts” to describe his agenda for Ontario, preferring the more innocuous-sounding “efficiencies”.
But it’s always sensible to look at a politician’s actions rather than taking their words at face-value.
And when Doug Ford was last an elected official, his actions spoke loud and clear: Ford never met a key service he didn’t want to cut.
Here are just 7 examples of Ford voting to make cuts to services during his time as a Toronto city councillor.
1. Ford supported closing libraries
As City Councillor, Ford got into a high-profile fight over library closures — no surprise that he wanted to shut them down. When asked if he wanted to close libraries in his ward, Ford told reporters “Absolutely I would. In a heartbeat.”
2. Ford voted to eliminate bus routes (and raise transit fares)
On several key votes, Doug Ford backed big cuts to transit in Toronto. On one occasion, he voted against a measure that would have saved 41 bus routes. On another, he voted for $5 million in cuts to transit. And on yet another vote, Ford opposed re-investing Toronto transit’s operating surplus back into the agency. This resulted in route cancellations and a fare increase for riders.
3. Ford voted against building new infrastructure
In 2011, Toronto Council voted on whether or not to build a new bridge in the city. This investment in basic infrastructure was, supporters argued, desperately needed. While the bridge was backed by local residents, developers, and Councillors, Ford voted against the project. Ultimately, the bridge was killed.
4. Ford voted to sell off affordable housing
There is a housing crisis in many Canadian cities. Prices have skyrocketed, and there is not enough affordable housing to go around. This did not trouble Doug Ford when he voted in June of 2011 to sell off affordable housing units in Toronto.
5. Ford voted to privatize key city services
Doug Ford was a vocal advocate of his brother Rob’s plan to privatize garbage collection services in Toronto. This sell-off was described by commentators as “a disaster from day one”, who noted that on the first day of the privatized service hundreds of households did not have their trash picked up and complaints spiked to three times the normal rate. Privatization, once again, resulted in worse service for residents — and big profits for corporations.
6. Ford voted against basic city-provided healthcare services
While a Councillor, Ford voted to reject the Provincial government’s offer of two free public health nurses for the city. These nurses would have assisted with screening newcomers for diseases and promoting health services in low-income neighbourhoods. Ford’s brother, Rob, complained that the nurses were unnecessary because “we have enough people in public health”.
7. Ford voted against improving water treatment plants
Doug Ford voted against improving a major Toronto water treatment plant at Ashbridge’s Bay. The upgrades would have improved the disinfection process for wastewater. Despite the fact that Ashbridge’s borders a local park that is well-used by the community, Ford voted against cleaning up the facility.
While last in elected office, Doug Ford voted to cut public services at nearly every opportunity.
Now he wants to conceal his plans for Ontario, using weasel words like “efficiencies”. But a basic fact check reveals that Ford voted to cut services nearly 100% of the time.
Anyone who believes politicians should be judged based on their actions, not their words, must come to the conclusion that Ford would make deep cuts to public services in Ontario.