You probably got one of these disinformation campaign cards in your mail this week. It says that Brian Saunderson and Doug “Jabba the Hutt” Ford are “putting money in your pocket.” And then it lists three things Ford did by himself without Brian’s help. Or input. Or even vote because, after all, he’s been the MIA mayor of Collingwood, not an MPP. So how did the unelected (and, I hope, unelectable) Brian do anything like this? He didn’t.
Are these claims disingenuous? Or disinformation? Or flat-out lies? Whichever you decide, Saunderson had no part in any of those decisions. And the facts are somewhat different.
Let’s take a look at these exaggerated and highly dubious claims that Saunderson makes, despite the actual lack of involvement in them from our much-disliked, inept, and deceptive mayor.
First, Ford made his promise to lower gas prices by 10 cents per litre in 2018 but back-pedalled on it right away. After all, why keep promises once you’re in office?
His government ended the federal cap-and-trade levy, but then the federal carbon tax backstop came into effect adding it back on, negating any consumer savings at the pump. Ford’s government took the federal carbon tax to court and lost, wasting more taxpayers’ money. And since 2018 he’s done nothing to honour his promises about gas prices.
Just weeks before this election, Ford finally decided to act on his four-year-old promise. Sort of. In April, Ford proposed legislation to cut the provincial gas tax by 5.7 cents/litre for six months, starting July 1 and after that (assuming he was elected), it would be cut by 14.7 cents per litre (meaning fuel tax rates would drop to 14.3 cents/litre). The legislation was introduced in April, but was it passed? Not yet. It’s a promise, not a fact. And he can always go back on it after the election as he did on many other promises.
Ten cents? Have YOU seen that much reduction at the gas pumps this year? Neither have I.
But as for lowering gas prices: Brian had NOTHING to do with it. Absolutely NOTHING.
Licence plate renewal fees? Yes, Ford did that, at a cost of $1 billion to Ontario’s revenue: money that taxpayers will have to make up in other ways (like making residents pay for blood tests, and other medical procedures and services), as well as cutting critical funds from education, conservation, the environment, libraries, and healthcare. The licence plate and other drivers’ fees helped pay for a lot of services that support Ontarians. Then the province spent more of our tax dollars refunding already-paid fees to drivers.
But as for eliminating licence renewal fees, Brian, again, had NOTHING to do with it. Saunderson didn’t put a single penny into your pockets. Actually, as deputy mayor and mayor he oversaw tax hikes every year in office! And with every increase in your property taxes, he gave himself a pay raise. And gave himself a few more in between, too.
Raising the minimum wage? As CBC noted:
Here’s what’s happened to the minimum wage in Ontario since Premier Doug Ford took office:
2018: 0 per cent increase.
2019: 0 per cent increase.
2020: 1.8 per cent increase (up 25 cents to $14.25/hr).
2021: 0.7 per cent increase (up 10 cents, to $14.35/hr).
In fact, Ford actually CANCELLED the minimum wage increase to $15 an hour that was tabled by the Wynne Liberals to come into effect in 2019. He deliberately hurt our province’s low-wage workers.
A $15 minimum wage was to take effect by 2019 in a plan developed by the previous Liberal government but Ford suspended that when he took office and instead tied wage hikes beyond $14 to the rate of annual inflation.
Ford bragged that instead of increasing wages, his government was offering a Low-income Families and Individuals Tax Credit (LIFT), Ford told the media this meant, “Anyone [earning] under $28,000 is paying zero tax.” But it ain’t necessarily so…
The independent Financial Accountability Office also found in 2019 that the LIFT tax credit did not benefit 68 per cent of people earning minimum wage.
So that was another con game. And at the same time, he took away paid sick days from workers, gutted labour laws, made it harder to unionize, killed the right to equal pay for equal work. He made life worse and harder for Ontario’s workers, especially lower-wage earners. So this boast is just more self-aggrandizing, fake news from Ford. He has been steadfastly anti-worker this term.
But then, a few months before the election, Ford announced a boost to the same $15 minimum wage he had refused to consider, effective three years after the initial plan, on Jan. 1, 2022. However, the liveable wage has grown much higher during his inaction and the current rate of inflation. In Simcoe County, the liveable wage is $19.05 an hour and in Grey County $18.29. Ford’s $15 isn’t close to being sufficient for anyone living in most of Ontario. And that doesn’t take into account the most recent spikes in inflation (including accelerating gas prices).
Brian Saunderson’s role in increasing the minimum wage was… NOTHING. He had NOTHING to do with the minimum wage increase. But you already knew that. In fact, his role as mayor of Collingwood has been the same: nothing. Well, nothing for the good of the community, that is.
Ford’s most recent budget had what even the sycophantic Toronto Sun said had “no notable tax relief.” Where’s the “money in your pocket” now? A vote for Saunderson is a vote for Ford’s additional term of lies, misinformation, broken promises, defunding crucial public services while giving his donors massive profits.
For all these boasts about Ford’s achievements, Brian Saunderson had NOTHING to do with any of them.
So why would Saunderson try to take credit for things he didn’t do? Perhaps because his own lacklustre career in municipal politics is nothing to boast about. Why tell people you bullied a female councillor out of office so you could appoint your friend and campaign donor in her place? Why boast that you fought hard to prevent the hospital from redeveloping? Or that you gave millions of tax dollars in sole-source contracts to your former employers? Or that you held dozens of closed-door meetings where you schemed to sell public assets to for-profit companies without any public consultation? Or that as mayor, you didn’t help the businesses and workers in Collingwood when the pandemic and lockdowns hurt them? Or how you spent millions of tax dollars obsessively pursuing your private vendetta against former councillors and staff? Or… well, there are too many things he’s done to this town to list. You can read more about our mayor’s far-from-illustrious record here.
Simcoe-grey deserves better than Brian Saunderson. Much better.