Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic

The title of this post is likely known to most. It means taking actions that will do nothing to avert disaster. And that is precisely what Doug Ford is doing as his response to the Greenbelt theft, the scandal that has a tenacious grip on his government and just won't let go.

Yesterday's resignation of Steven Clark was the second step (the first being the defenestration of Clark's chief of staff, Ryan Amato) followed by a cabinet shuffle ("See folks, an entirely new government!"), all of which I imagine will fool only the most catastrophically cognitively challenged. But it is all of a piece, part of Ford's belief in bluff salesmanship honed from the decal business he has run for years after inheriting it from his father. Such a blunt instrument will not carry the day this time, however, no matter how much he hopes against hope that we are collectively stupid.

Compounding the ineptitude of this maneuver is his choice of Paul Calandra to replace Clark as Housing Minister. Undeservedly regarded as a fixer who honed his chops at the federal level serving as the parliamentary secretary to Stephen Harper, his capacity for rambling, off-question answers to House questions is legendary.

And, like so many others in Ford's cabinet, he is of dubious moral character:

In 2005, Calandra was involved in a family dispute. In the early 2000s, he had power of attorney to manage his mother's affairs. In a lawsuit filed by his sisters, it was claimed the power of attorney had been revoked by his mother months before her death in August 2005, but Calandra had invoked it for personal gain.[3] Calandra's sisters alleged that he had charged $8,000 to his mother's credit card without her knowledge. They further alleged that, when confronted about the charges by his sister Concetta, Calandra suggested that he should kill Concetta. In his statement of defence, Calandra said that the charges had been authorized.[6] The sisters also alleged that Calandra took $25,000 from his mother to pay taxes, but instead wrote the cheque to himself and left the taxes unpaid. Calandra claimed in his statement of defense that the money was given to him by his mother "freely, without pretext, and of her own volition." A document filed on September 8, 2008, the first full day of the 2008 federal election campaign, said that the parties had settled the case out of court.[6]

There are many who say that only the full restoration of the Greenbelt lands will bring resolution. I, however, am of the view that it will take much more, and the only hope of that lies in 2026, when the next election is due and a complete housecleaning can take place.

Three years seems like an interminable wait though, doesn't it?


  1. Lorne, Ford's choice of Calandra is because he was, as one of Harper's henchmen, an extreme obfuscator which is just the role Ford wants him to play.

  2. Calandra does seem to have a special 'skill set' in that regard, RG.