Everything crazy happens first in Ontario now. Stephen Marche called this awhile ago: “Rob Ford was the John the Baptist of Donald Trump.”¹ Doug Ford, the newly elected premier of Ontario, seems hellbent on outdoing his brother. In ways that the people of English Canada seem yet to fully appreciate, Ford’s remarkably petty attack on Ontario’s vulnerable francophone community may have just destabilized our entire country. The separatist movement was dead here in Quebec. Ford just brought it back to life. He just kicked a sleeping polar bear in the balls with steel-toed boots on.
Despite the fact that Vermont and Rhode Island are small states, they get the same representation in the Senate as California, Texas, and New York. Why? Because they entered into the American social contract on those terms. Likewise, French-Canadians entered into the Canadian social contract on particular terms. Doug Ford is violating the terms of this agreement, and it is hard to overestimate the long-term consequences of his recklessness.
La Presse just published an article English, which is the journalistic equivalent of pigs flying. In it, Patrick Lagacé addresses the near-silence of the English Canadian media: “The near-silence from the Toronto press on these bigoted cutbacks targeting the Franco-Ontarian community is quite ironic. Usually, outlets like the National Post, the Toronto Star or The Globe and Mail, to name a few, offer a pugnacious coverage of language issues and spats . . . . I’ve sometimes had the impression, reading the Toronto press, that it is very, very, very concerned with the fate of minorities in Quebec. . . . Where are the pugnacious columns denouncing this mistreatment of a linguistic minority in Ontario? Where are the sanctimonious editorials? . . . I know that I’m gonna die waiting for you guys to care about francophones in Ontario. I have to come to terms with the fact that when it comes to linguistic minority rights, the Toronto press cares only about anglos in Quebec.”
People who never talk about politics are freaking out here. And people like my friend Claude G. Théoret, who’ve been sounding the alarm about this kind of shit for years, are starting to look remarkably prescient. This isn’t going to end well, Mr. Ford.
—John Faithful Hamer
1. Stephen Marche, “A Tolerance for Chaos,” Likeville Podcast (April 1, 2018).