BY MELISSA LANTSMAN, GUEST COLUMNIST
Every government wants to say it. There are few who ever do.
But Doug Ford and the Ontario PC government are well on their way to claiming it: “Promise made. Promise kept.”
It’s been just one month since Ford swept onto the scene at Queen’s Park against the odds and more importantly, against the PC Party establishment to claim the highest office in the province.
The honeymoon might be over with his detractors, who gave him a hot minute to prove he was worthy of that office, but with voters – the honeymoon has just begun. Whatever Doug Ford is doing, he is getting good at it, and fast.
His ambition to change the face of Ontario and his tenacity to drive his agenda forward is being noticed. It’s being noticed by the city, other provinces and the federal government alike.
He said what he is going to do and he’s doing what he said.
The Ford government is a disruptor to the long downward spiral of the previous regime. He is taking a sledge-hammer to old programs and is working with a scalpel on the opportunities ahead.
With an unwavering resolve to the people who sent him to Queen’s Park, he’s ensured a quick turnaround on some of the big promises made on the campaign trail.
In an early morning press conference on Friday, on the eve of the municipal registration deadline to run for council in Toronto, he has committed to cutting the number of council members in half. Waiving the banner of efficiency and better government to those who believe we have enough politicians already.
He killed the carbon tax to help commuters and it’s those people in the suburbs who ensured his victory.
He benched the highly compensated CEO of Hydro One as a signal to ratepayers that a culture change is underway.
He repealed the sex-ed curriculum to consult with parents for the conservative base who didn’t waiver in their support for his candidacy from the get-go.
He has stood his ground on illegal border crossers for those who have long supported a secure immigration system that treats those seeking refuge through the appropriate channels fairly.
He has voiced his support for frontline officers to be able to do their jobs for those who have become immobilized with fear about living in their own city.
And it turns out he might even signal his intent to privatize the sale of cannabis when it becomes legal in October for those who believe that the only way to rid us of the black-market is to introduce a free-market. Finally, common-sense prevails.
And most importantly, he has nearly silenced the opposition – both on the other side of the house and with those who never thought his win was possible.
Ford has changed the conversation in Ontario in his first month as premier. No one is saying he isn’t ready, and everyone is talking about how fast he’s moving to deliver.
This is the sweet spot for a new government. And it’s a good place to be.
The Ford government’s immediate challenges are moving quickly in a way that minimizes the risk to taxpayers, stakeholders and stays true to their mantra. They have big commitments still in the can and if the first month is any indication – we’re in for some large-scale change…and fast.
So far though: “Promise made. Promise kept.”
Melissa Lantsman is Vice President, Public Affairs at H&K Strategies in Toronto. Most recently she served as Doug Ford’s war room director and spokesperson during the 2018 Ontario provincial election campaign.