ontario throne speech

Everyone in Ontario seems disappointed by Doug Ford's throne speech

The Government of Ontario opened its fall session of the 42nd parliament on Monday, which included a speech from Premier Doug Ford's government that many found to be tragically brief and uninspired (not to mention uninspiring).

Delivered by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the less than half-hour-long address re-asserted leadership's recent moves over the course of the various lockdowns, as well as its path forward, albeit loosely and without touching on some key topics.

Dowdeswell commended how the province has come together during the unimaginable difficulties presented by the health crisis, as well as the "strength, determination, compassion, generosity and grit" that residents have shown, embodying the Ontario spirit while they sacrificed so much.

She also praised her own government's efforts in protecting our progress in the fight against the virus, as well as its choice to continue with the most cautious reopening in Canada, up to and including the implementation of a vaccine passport system, which was not an easy decision and which she, like Ford, reassured will only be a temporary measure.

"The struggle to strike the appropriate balance between long-established rights and freedoms and the need to do what is necessary to protect lives has been this and other governments’ most significant challenge," she continued.

"But as we have seen elsewhere in Canada and North America, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an urgent public health emergency... Ontario cannot go backwards. After 18 months of fighting this pandemic, we owe our businesses stability and certainty."

The speech went on to tout Ontario's high vaccination rates, prudence in listening to health experts and investments in hospital capacity.

It also talked about "the failure of successive governments, both provincial and federal," which Ford's team feels did not set us up for success in such an unprecedented situation.

But amid all of this boasting about what the government has done in recent months, there were few specifics about the road forward, and no mention of what, if any, new steps will be taken.

People generally seemed to find the speech both lacklustre and lacking, as it neglected important subjects like education, childcare, paid sick leave, or fresh strategies.

The talk was especially disappointing to some given how long Doug Ford has been absent from the public eye, drastically cutting down his press conference appearances and media availability in recent weeks and delaying the government's return to legislature.

Many have joked about the fact that the premier has "gone missing" or "gone into hiding", making the pressure on this high profile return all the more deficient.

Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca was among those quick to criticize the speech today, calling it "nothing but empty rhetoric from Doug Ford and his government" and noting that it is "absolutely shocking that we had to wait this long to hear so little from someone who's been in hiding for months."

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