I think I may have to take Doug Ford’s side on something. And it looks like I’m defending him against…*checks notes*…other conservatives. Huh.
Some Conservative MPs are fuming over Doug Ford’s comments supporting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act, suggesting ongoing tensions between the federal party and the Ontario premier.
“It’s unfortunate,” Conservative MP Karen Vecchio said when asked about Ford’s vocal support of Trudeau’s decision to deploy the act to bring an end to a massive protest against pandemic measures that tied Ottawa in knots for nearly a month last winter.
The London, Ont.-area MP said she thought Ford should have waited to comment until the public inquiry into the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act had finished its work. She said she believes the Public Order Emergency Commission won’t agree with Ford’s assessment.
Other Conservatives refused to comment before the cameras. Privately, however, several told CBC News they were unhappy with Ford’s public support for Trudeau. They offered comments ranging from “not great” to “brutal” — and two Conservative MPs said they were “pissed off” by the premier’s words.
None of the MPs were willing to attach their names to their remarks.
On Monday, while Ford attended an unrelated media event in Ottawa with Trudeau, a reporter asked the premier whether he agreed with the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act.
Ford responded that he “stood shoulder to shoulder with the prime minister” on that decision and described the protest’s disruption of international trade and the lives of Ottawa residents as “unacceptable.”
You can say a lot of things about the Ford government. I’ll start. A good 95% of everything it does is based on either bumbling ineptness, wanton cruelty or a combination of the two. But every now and then, it does try. Often that trying is half assed, day late and a dollar short stuff that only happens because it screwed things up so profoundly initially that even its own supporters are starting to get annoyed, but sometimes it’s more about where you finish than where you start.
Whatever his reasoning, Ford had no choice but to say that Trudeau did the right thing. When your entire shtick is that you’re pro little guy and pro business, a group of lunatics holding one of your province’s largest cities hostage for weeks, terrorizing its citizens and blocking millions of dollars in economic activity from taking place there and at its border crossings in the process is a pretty bad fuckin’ look.
If there’s one thing we know about Ford, it’s that he wants to be liked. He’s got a weird way of showing it a lot of the time, but it’s pretty obvious. That’s why you’ll find him doing things like acting as if he’s the aww shucks mayor of a small town while making sure the big city media knows all about it. And if you’re going to be liked or at least tolerated, you have to maintain just enough of your credibility. Even if you want to, you can’t appeal to the most ridiculous fringes of your support base and risk alienating literally everyone else in the name of whatever dumb ass shit that stupid truck business thought it was going to accomplish. Yes, you can read that as don’t do what the federal Conservatives are doing, by all means.
Like him or not and regardless of whether you thought he was too slow to act (I don’t and he was), Ford eventually got where he needed to go. That the Conservatives either can’t see that or aren’t allowed to admit it is frightening. Every day, the lines that separate the CPC from the PPC blur a little more. That’s not a compliment. It’s a warning. One that even Doug Ford was smart enough to take to heart.