Take a good look at the picture on this page.
It’s a photograph of the members of the cabinet of the new Ontario government.
Do you see anybody in the picture who looks like you?
If you don’t, what is wrong with the picture?
Well, it certainly does not reflect the diversity of the population in the province of Ontario, especially in Toronto, Canada’s largest and most ethnically diverse city.
Media reports describe Raymond Cho, the aging MPP for Scarborough North, as the only member of a visible minority in the new cabinet.
But does Cho really consider himself a visible minority? We do not know.
As Sarah Singh, the New Democrat MPP for Brampton Centre, noted, the image of the predominantly male, white cabinet sends a disheartening message for those hoping to feel supported by the Ford administration
“For me as a young woman of colour, and I’m sure for many others across this province, they’re not seeing themselves reflected in the decisions that were made today,” Singh said after extending congratulations to the newly appointed ministers on Friday.
And Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Green Party and MPP for Guelph, correctly noted that Cho, the Seniors and Accessibility Minister, does not adequately represent four million Ontarians who identify as belonging to a minority group.
What the new dispensation does represent is the return of a Mike Harris type of government. A not-so-Progressive Conservative administration.
Already, we are learning of the major cuts and changes of the Ford administration.
Even before Ford and his cabinet were sworn in, a spokesman for the new provincial leader said he ( Ford) had directed government ministries to cancel “subscription-based services.”
We got the news early.
On June 19 last, more than a week before Premier Ford and his cabinet were sworn in, we received an e-mail from Jeffrey Stinson, Senior Media Analyst in the Cabinet Office in Queen’s Park, stating that he would like to arrange ” to stop receiving” The Caribbean Camera.
He then asked us to provide him with an “invoice for the editions received to date.”
“We are also going to go line by line through the government’s books to ensure value of money for the people of Ontario’s tax dollars.” a spokesman for the Ford said in a recent statement.
During the election campaign, Ford promised to launch an audit of government spending and to save billions each year without cutting any jobs.
Of course, we did not know at the time and we did not expect that The Caribbean Camera would be part of the cutback. albeit a very small part.
Ford’s office has not said how much money the new cost cutting measure are expected to save.
And we are still waiting to find out whether the $47-million Black Youth Action Plan, an initiative of the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne, will be a casuality of the massive cutbacks.
We notice that there is no minister in the Ford government who is specifically responsible for
anti-racism. With the rise of Trumpism north of the United States border, it appears that the
fight against racism is clearly not a priority for the new government at Queen’s Park.
Just before last month’s elections, to the surprise of some political observers. many people in the Black community declared their support for Doug Ford and his Conservatives.
Although we have 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.
Some political observers believe that many voters from these communities who usually support the Liberal Party were confused by the message from Kathleen Wynne shortly before the elections and turned to the Conservatives. Some Liberal supporters also voted for the New Democratic Party.
It seems that many who voted for the Conservatives have short memories and had forgotten about the disastrous reign of the PC government of Mike Harris and his so-called “commonsense revolution.”
However, those who voted for a Ford administration will have a long time to think about what they did before the next elections.
People usually get the government they deserve.