A Caution For the June 7 Ontario Election

By Dr David Laing Dawson

Doug Ford wants the municipal governments of Ontario to adopt the American model. U.S. mayors, like the US president, have executive powers. They decide things. They award contracts. They don’t have to contend with a fractious group of councillors. They have power. And with power residing in one person we can have efficiency, quick decisions, a single vision, the rapid enactment of a plan. And we can also have corruption.

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

We have all grown up hearing this adage over and over again. But I suspect we each hear it as “Power corrupts – others, not me.”

I know of an astonishing number of US state governors and state representatives being convicted felons but this proposal by Doug Ford made me wonder about U.S. city Mayors. So I looked it up. I stopped counting at 50.

Power corrupts. A pot of public money attracts crooks faster than yellow jackets to syrup. Municipalities, cities, with so many lucrative contracts to dish out, need all the safeguards we can possibly apply. We need to accept the slowness of change, the tangles of red tape and the constant bickering of municipal politics.

We do not need to copy the American model at any level of governance. We suffer sufficient folly (and undoubtedly bits of corruption) as it is. We do not need to add an American scale of corruption to our poor, struggling Ontario cities.


3 thoughts on “A Caution For the June 7 Ontario Election

  1. Very good point, our nation had evolved into one that is truly a pluralistic multicultural democracy, at least that is our goal. That fundamentally different than America, and especially not in keeping with the 51 million US voters who have empowered President Trump, the Alt-Right, the lunatic fringe (i.e. Alex Jones) in every part of their nations fabric. I was driving today and heard the latest Liberal radio commercial, “Rob Ford will cut education and medical services, Horvath will raise everyone’s taxes, vote Liberal to make sure that they are held accountable”. A party that has decimated the infrastructure of Ontario with a leader who will surely go into a lucrative private sector position after the election, is now asking you to vote for them because they are the ethical necessity in this time? The NDP under Bob Rae was a disaster, and the PC’s under Mike Harris setback the rights and support services for everyone in Ontario. It is not the party, or the platform, that matters, all politicians will say anything to get elected. Each individual’s responsibility to this province and nation, is to become educated, passionate about the ethos that has imbued our nation and then vote their conscience. This time, I am voting NDP in a riding that will likely go to the PCs, but every vote counts, and just because we may not win here, each person’s voice is necessary for a democracy to function at least adequately if not perfectly. Cheers.


  2. I once asked a dedicated Conservative when Adolph Harper had just won a majority government with 36% of the popular vote (as Cretien also did)–“Don’t you think our electoral system is basically undemocratic?”

    His, for me, famous reply was, “Democracy? That’s just a romantic idea.”

    Government of the money, by the money, for the money.


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