It’s been a difficult few weeks down at Queen’s Park as the government has struggled in its response to the third wave of the pandemic. There’s been a lot of criticism about the decisions being made by Premier Doug Ford and his ministers, and a lot of struggle by Premier Ford and his ministers to undo some of their bad media coverage. How are they doing? Let’s talk to Guelph’s own Member of Provincial Parliament.
Mike Schreiner appeared on the last episode of Open Sources Guelph on CFRU, and he did not mince words about Ford’s recent performance. “I think we need clear, transparent, strong leadership right now, and we’re not getting that,” Schreiner said. “I think we’ve seen so many flip flops from the Premier, and I think a lot of it’s due to a lack of a planning, clear goals, and clear communication about how to achieve those goals.”
Schreiner added that the lack of clear goals and clear communication isn’t just affecting government business, but it’s affecting small businesses across Ontario too.
“I remember back at the end of March/early April, when the Premier said, ‘Hey, we’re going to let restaurants in hotspot areas re-open patio service,’ and small businesses started gearing up for that,” Schreiner explained. “Then, a few days later, [Ford] pulled the emergency brake and shut it all down, and according to Restaurants Canada that cost small businesses in Ontario over $100 million. This lack of leadership, this lack of clear goals and benchmarks, has real cost to people.”
With the scheduled end to the lockdown coming up this week, Schreiner feared that the lack of provincial leadership will continue with another hastily called press conference with the Premier and key cabinet officials, and a new direction that local governments, businesses, and people will have trouble adapting to in short order.
“I can’t tell you how many businesses, municipal leaders, and healthcare leaders who have all told me that these Friday at 5 pm news conferences, and their 24 hours of notice just doesn’t cut it,” Schreiner said. “I know others are pushing for the Premier to give people plenty of notice so they can plan their lives, whether it’s having your kids in school, whether it’s reopening your business, or whether it’s help providing healthcare services.
“Everyone in all parts of our society and community need some time to plan. and the Premier needs to have a decision-making process that provides people with that time,” Schreiner added.
Of course, you can’t talk to the leader of the provincial Green Party and not talk about environmental issues. Schreiner was one of the first, and one of the loudest, critics of the Provincial government’s Highway #413 project, and there’s recently been some progress with so many people in the GTA area who don’t want to see that road built.
“We have a Federal environmental assessment now, and it just shows you the power of people, that people organizing and speaking out for their community makes a big difference,” Schreiner said. “But we can’t stop putting the pressure on the government because it’s not a done. It’s not stopped yet, I can tell you that.”