We have to fight back
Shortly after the Ontario provincial elections last year, we reminded our readers in an editorial that people usually get the government they deserve.
We were referring, of course, to the not-so-Progressive Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford and the fact that many people in the Black community had declared their support for Ford and his Conservatives in the provincial elections.
Although we had not seen any polls that focussed specifically on black voters, our own unscientific survey showed that many people in the Black and Caribbean communities were going to cast their ballots for the Conservatives.
And lo and behold, after the elections. we noticed that there was no minister in the Ford government specifically responsible for anti-racism.
As we then pointed out, the fight against racism was clearly not a priority for the Ford government.
And it still is not.
So it comes as no surprise to us to learn this week that the Ford government has budgeted the sum of $1,000 for anti-racism initiatives.
Yes, that correct:$1,000.
In fact if his government had allocated no money for the fight against racism. many of us would not have been surprised.
As we told our readers, people get the government they deserve.
So many of the voters in our community seem to have short memories.
They appeared to have forgotten about the disastrous reign of the PC government of Mike Harris and his so-called “commonsense revolution.” And history appears to be doomed to repeat itself.
But wait! There are still voices out there crying out against an uncaring, government, insensitive to the concerns of people of colour, other minority groups and our indigenous brothers and sisters.
Only last Tuesday one of those voices – that of Laura Mae Lindo – was heard in the Ontario Legislature on the very issue of the budget for anti-racism initiatives.
Lindo, the official Opposition NDP’s critic for Anti-Racism, Citizenship and Immigration, asked the Ford government why it felt that $1,000 was sufficient for anti-racism initiatives at a time when community members, advocates and experts including Statistics Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have noted that racism and hate crimes are on the rise.
It was a good question for which Premier Ford clearly did not have a good answer.
As Lindo correctly noted during question period,” the story that these estimates tell us is that the Ford Conservatives are just not interested in doing racial justice work.”
She pointed out that Doug Ford and his government “are unwilling to take concrete steps towards racial equity.
And as Lindo explained, there’s money allocated to staff and advertising but no money to do the actual anti-racism work.
She pointed out that there is no money to invest in the organizations and programs that are making progress on these issues and no money to resource the Black, Indigenous, Jewish and Muslim anti-racism sub- committees that this government disbanded, despite hate crimes being on the rise.”
But are Ford and his cohorts really listening?
There was no clear answer from the Ford government on this issue.
Lindo was right on target when she went on to state that when it comes to addressing racism and building a more equitable and inclusive province for millions of Ontarians, Doug Ford is just dragging us
But we have to fight back.