Liar, Liar: The Ford Government's Battle With Education Unions

Updated on February 5, 2020
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I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

Lie Down, Mr. Ford, and Take a Breath
Lie Down, Mr. Ford, and Take a Breath | Source

Lies Catch Up With You—Even When You Deny Them

In the ongoing saga which is the Ford government's battle with educator unions, there have been a few lies here and there.

Ordinarily, I won't accuse someone of out and out lying, as I like to have proof before I start throwing those sorts of accusations around. Besides, lies have a tendency to catch up with the person telling them, and that appears to be the case with Doug Ford and his government.

Vaughan Working Families and Stephen Lecce

In the first case, there's the small matter of Vaughan Working Families, an entity from Minister of Education Stephen Lecce's own riding of King-Vaughan. Up until the weekend of February 1, 2020, no one had heard of this entity. There is no online presence for Vaughan Working Families that no one has been able to detect as yet, save for a Twitter profile with a misspelled version of Vaughan that appears to have been established around the same time as this Vaughan Working Families group surfaced. Interestingly, even though Lecce has said, via his press secretary Alexandra Adamo, “The minister and I were not aware of the advertisements and not familiar with the group Vaughan Working Families," Vaughan Working Families tweeted on Feb. 2, "We support you @Sflecce Thanks for the ads. #vaughanworkingfamilies."

Firstly, this ad ran in three of Canada's major newspapers: the Toronto Star, the National Post, and The Globe and Mail. These three newspapers alone have a circulation of around 14 million collectively or roughly 96 percent of the population of Ontario. It seems highly odd that Stephen Lecce would not have seen or even heard of the ad, as he so claimed, and he's being called on it. Secondly, full-page ads do not come cheap, let alone full-page ads in three of Canada's largest newspapers. While it is remotely possible that this unknown group of Vaughan Working Families would have somehow been able to magically pony up tens of thousands of dollars right away for an attack ad on teachers, it's unlikely—at least, not without the backing of someone with a whole lot of cash.

With these facts on the table, it seems quite unlikely that Stephen Lecce would have known nothing about this Vaughan Working Families group, particularly since they are in his home riding and seem so very supportive of the deep education cuts he's been espousing.

Doug Ford Claimed to Receive Texts Opposing Strikes

Then, there's the issue of Doug Ford stating that there have been several teachers who have texted him, expressing their displeasure with the ongoing strike action by the educator unions. CTV News, for instance, has been among those news agencies reporting that Ford has received messages of support from teachers, but he refuses to share them. Never mind the fact that Ford had to cancel his personal cell phone number which he shared back in 2019, due to having received hate mail and messages that were considered "obscene." Never mind that Ford has since been reluctant to share his personal cell number, and it seems highly unlikely he would share them with teachers.

When pressed by reporters if they could have a sample of these supportive texts, Ford refused. When the premier's office was asked why not, the premier's office stated that they did not have to provide a reason they weren't sharing even though Ford brought them into the conversation and therefore made them a relevant topic of conversation. He was arguing, after all, that there were teachers who supported him. Should he not provide evidence of this?

Certainly, the premier's office might argue confidentiality issues regarding the text messages, which seems somewhat logical, though the release of the texts could be redacted to eliminate the texters' phone numbers. However, this has shades of when the government argued that it would not release the results of the public consultation held back in 2019 due to confidentiality issues. What does the government have to be afraid of?

Caught in a Lie

When a little kid is caught in a lie, one of two things happen; they either collapse in a puddle of tears, or they protest even louder that they aren't lying. Either way, it's fairly easy to read a kid when they lie, and as we all grow up, we learn that it's a bad thing to lie. One would have hoped that those who govern this province would have learned that lies can't be hidden just by denying the information's existence.

Ford and Lecce need to get their stories straight, and they need to grow up and work for all Ontarians, not a select few.


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