He had a gentle humour and large, warm heart. He was quick-witted. He loved his family. He played a key role in the cabinet of Mike Harris. During his tenure, hospital funding was reduced, wards in mental hospitals were closed, welfare was slashed 22%, eighty percent of the cost of running Toronto’s public transportation system became the responsibility of the municipality, grade thirteen was eliminated, contributing to an explosion in university class sizes.
University tuition increased to staggering levels. Funding for graduate programmes in the humanities was cut in favour of programmes in the applied sciences and technology.
Affordable housing, woefully in need, would not be funded. The waiting list is now twenty-one years long. Pan-handlers would be stigmatised as public nuisances who could be ticketed by the police.
Our man with the gentle humour and large warm heart; our quick-witted man who adored his family, moved on to join the Harper team in Ottawa. His budgets would once again deliver massive savings at the expense of the 99%. Government departments would be shrunken. Employment Insurance would return savings by finding reasons to deny the claims of applicants. Sylvie Therrien could not in good conscience be a party to such immorality; she was hounded out of her job.
During our man’s tenure as a key player in the Harper regime, the number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has exploded to 350,000, exerting pressure on local workers to accept work at depressed wages with no benefits. This man with the big, warm heart who adored his family, balanced budgets on the backs of the 99%. To ensure the agenda he served would be starved of critical perspective and impervious to challenge, his last budget detailed a $115 million cut to the funding of C.B.C. Over the next two years, 657 employees will join the ranks of the unemployed.
May our man rest in peace.
May the apathetic 99% wake up from their deep sleep.