Millroy: It is a good thing Premier Doug Ford never became a policeman


It is a good thing Premier Doug Ford never became a policeman because with his tendency to shoot first and think later there would have been a lot of collateral damage.

As it stands, when he announces a decision and backs off as soon he finds there is fierce opposition to it, the only hit is to his own image.

I forgot about this tendency of his to beat a hasty retreat, which became evident shortly after his election, when I sat down to write this column on Saturday.

I started off by saying I couldn’t blame the premier for extending the lockdown under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) until at least May 20 because I thought he realized he blew it the last time by re-opening the province too quickly.

But I then turned to the central theme of the piece, which was that I thought he was out of line in giving police temporary powers to enforce the stay-at-home order, allowing them to stop individuals and vehicles to ask their reasons for leaving their homes.

I found it hard to believe that there wasn’t someone at the table who wouldn’t have seen red flags popping up all over the place when discussing a plan that would strip away the constitutional rights of constituents and place an onerous and unwanted task on police.
What the hell? was my first thought, and I wasn’t alone.

The backlash was swift and furious from civil libertarians, public health experts, the general public and media, all who saw the decision as overkill, and many police forces across the province, including Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, indicated they did not intend to make use of their new-found super powers.

So I wrote a column criticizing the government’s decision.

It wasn’t 15 minutes after completion that I got the word that Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, who had originally announced the government’s decision to extend the lockdown and implement the new restrictions, said officers would not have the right to stop pedestrians or drivers to ask why they are out or request their home address
Instead, she said, police will only be able to stop people who they have reason to believe are participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.”

Which is exactly what police, in their wisdom and in defiance of the government, intended to do anyway, not wanting to have anything to do with something that seemed to have more than a little touch of Naziism in it.

In her original announcement, Jones had said:

“It is imperative that everyone limit their trips outside of the home to permitted purposes only, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, medical appointments, outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.”

In a question and answer session following the news conference, Jones clarified that anybody who refused to answer police questions about why they were outside were “breaking the law” and could be fined $750 for a first offence

Actually I found it hard to understand why the province included this restriction in its latest order, considering that it didn’t do so when emergency restrictions were put into effect during the last lockdown which began in January.

At that time the solicitor general’s office specifically assured the public that police would not be stopping Ontarians simply for being outside.

“On its own, being outside is not sufficient evidence of a failure to comply with the stay-at-home order,” a spokesman said at the time.

And that lockdown seemed to work.

From 3,500 new cases of the coronavirus Covid-19 a day, the lockdown reduced that number to under 900.

Then in February the government decided to reopen the province, essentially leaving us to our own devices to fight the virus.

We blew it, or at least some did. There were gatherings, there were parties, there was travel, there was too much letting down of the guard, bringing us to where we are today, facing a tidal wave of new cases that without these drastic measures could possibly, we are told, reach 20,000 a day.

If the premier had kept the January lockdown in place, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, for at least another two weeks as he is doing with this one, it might have gone a long way toward making this one unnecessary.

Some employees I spoke with here said they would have been prepared to go through a lockdown longer because they weren’t looking forward to having to do it again, as has now proved to be the case.

However, maybe I am looking at it too simply. After all, we weren’t contending with variants of the virus back then.

I believe the lockdown had to be imposed again and I have no problem with it being extended to at least May 20 because it was obvious we weren’t going to do it on our own.
SaultOnline recently produced a local story that although short on facts did aptly illustrate how we were falling short. The story told us about a party for teenagers that resulted in the spread of the virus and as a result was being investigated by the police and Algoma Public Health.

The word around the city is that the party was put on by a teacher for her daughter and her friends.

If that is indeed the case, that teacher should be fired.

We have been fairly lucky in the Sault area, our case count being far below that elsewhere in the province, but we still have people travelling and congregating.

If it takes strong measures to stop this, then so be it. As I have said before, we are in a war we have to win.


  1. It is interesting, but not surprising, that the uncited list of Federal government misteps in Jenn Dipascali’s post conveniently starts in 2015 when Harper’s term ended. I am sure she knows it, but for anyone else who is interested, take a look at the 2006 federal report on pandemic preparedness (a response to SARS), and don’t forget to see how the Harper government did or didn’t respond. Then look at the Federal government’s 2010 Audit’s concern about our medical equipment stockpiles and our ability to produce vaccines, and what was done about it.

    While you are at it, look up which government’s privatization policies allowed Connaught Laboratories And Institut Armand Frappier to be bought and moved out of the country by foreign companies. Then the next time you hear a conservative criticise the Liberals because Canada has to rely on other countries for vaccine production you can tell them why that is the case. Conservatives are so quick to blame Liberals for situations and policies that they are at least equally, and in many cases, more responsible for causing, especially when it comes to Covid-19.

  2. a police officer is on administrative leave in gravenhurst after shoving a 12 year old child off a scooter. i wonder where the opp got the idea that is acceptable behaviour?

  3. People seem to forget that Ontario’s coffers are empty leading to less support and fewer resources because McGuinty & Winn economically destroyed Ontario. And they did that during GOOD times.
    And we’re in such dire circumstances because Trudeau ignored every warning about covid, medical ppe supplies, emergency response going back to 2015, then ignored every warning and supported recommendation since then. He put 100% stock in a team of scientists who have been widely & internationally discredited and then he refused to stop international travel into Canada but instead created exemptions for international travelers so they wouldn’t have to isolate or quarantine. Then he ignored warnings again and now new variants of concern are in Canada.
    Ford has mishandled things but once again Teflon Trudeau gets away unscathed with more support than ever.

    • Yes all Trudeau’s fault because he didn’t take action in 2015 for a virus discovered in 2019 and declared a pandemic in 2020. Why didn’t you lend him your time machine? In fact, why don’t you go lend it to him now?

      • 2015: Warned about Canada’s inability to to respond to a major pandemic – did nothing
        2016: Warned Canada does not have enough medical PPE and the inability to produce enough – did nothing
        2016: Warned Canada does not have enough medical ventilators – did nothing
        2018: Again warned, by the UN, after Canadian troops participating in a conference in China falling ill with respiratory issues, that any serious medical outbreak poses a significant risk to Canadians due to Canada being unprepared – did nothing
        2019: Warned of a serious risk to Canadians that will hit Canadian soil and Canada MUST close the borders – did nothing and 4 weeks later confirmed COVID cases were identified
        2020: As other countries began acquiring vaccines, Canada was told due to poltical shortcomings that Europe would not be shipping any vaccines to Canada. Turned to China and accepted a “good faith gesture” that China would send Canada vaccines – Trudeau made no official agreements and just assumed it would happen
        2020: Warned that Canada MUST seriously restrict or close borders due to additional COVID waves – did nothing other than remove isolation and quarantine requirements for “essential international travelers
        2020: Trudeau was warned by UN/WHO to close borders because more severe international covid variants were identified – did nothing, Canada was hit by the UK variant
        2020-2021: Trudeau was warned about the borders and air travel again and did nothing. Now Canada is hit by a third wave including UK, Brazil, and a third variant. What did he do? He “allegedly” went on vacation over the holidays and the PMO declined any and all FOI requests to view his holiday itinerary.
        Believe it or not, this is a short list. How can you possibly have such blinders on to Trudeau’s culpability? This didn’t need a time machine, this needed logical and timely action!

      • Why was Mr. Milroy at the table, I don’t think so. Every day the Drs are on tv saying everything must be shut down. I do not care what Mr. Milroy’s opinion is.

  4. Ford only listens to the doctors, when everyone involved should be at the table. Police chiefs, police union leaders, lawyers, financial lenders and chamber of commerce heads. But no he just listens to doctors who have been on national tv telling small businesses how to run their business, when it is the doctors who can’t run their own businesses. Maybe it is time small business owners go on national tv and tell the doctors what to do. I know that I am not the only person to make an appointment for a certain time and have to wait 2 or 4 plus hrs to get in and they get away with it. Imagine if a restaurant made you wait 2 hrs to get in for you reservation or to get your food, all hell would break out. Small businesses do not need advice from glory hungry doctors

  5. I’ll take Doug Ford over the other 2 leaders and their parties any day. At least he’s able to reverse course after a knee jerk policy.

    It’s not an enviable task balancing jobs with the healthcare system. (Especially when you’re handicapped by Federal incompetence). I think every premier from every political stripe is having the same issues and I don’t fault them.

    Nothing will be good enough for everyone. You’re either oppressing people too much or you’re not doing enough to protect people. All you can do is pray we got scraps of vaccines as fast as possible.

    • If we had the vaccines around the time all other organized countries had it, Canadians would have lined up, bare arms on the cold winter to be vaccinated.
      The system could have handled 150.000 plus vaccines a day and within a month time the whole society would have been at least 85% inmune.
      We didn’t have the vaccines, we don’t have the vaccines and we do not have a well greased system moving the people in the way it should.
      I do not see a real interest from the Federal Government when it comes to Canadians health, instead you can sense, the interest is in something else.
      The Health system we have in Ontario was the result of the investment of billions of dollars from the liberal government… and the administration of the funds was trusted to a “social activist representing nobody”.
      Well, here you have it all over again, Canadians voted a drama teacher with nice hair and no brains and now “WE” are all searching for Vaccines.

      • No doubt. The provinces at this point are trying to hold it together until the feds come through. People are mad, but our hospitals aren’t equipped or staffed to handle any serious influx of patients. I remember waiting 3+ hours for stitches 10 years ago and from what I hear that’s nothing even pre-covid.

        • Well, the first comment that went around in regards to the way the World was introduced to Corona virus, never was confirmed, but it was said that the Chinese found themselves with a billion humans on retirement age and not able to work no more… adding the reproductive control they had, they found a formula for disaster and refused to feed all those elderly and non productive members of society… then they found a solution… a solution that will eliminate the elderly… and someone named it Covid. China had entire cities of 30 and more million people with the buildings boarded and no one could go in or go out, but there are no witnesses till now. Point is that for the time the Corona virus hit Canada, the elderly paid the highest price and are still paying it… and Mr. Trudeau was then as he is now, looking for a majority government… the guy we trusted with the money to buy the vaccines, now we discovered that he can’t be trusted with money… Now, is too late.

  6. Ford also goofed by closing schools to direct classroom learning. Things were going very well in the schools….protocols were being strictly followed and there were really no problems. Keeping kids at home to learn is not the answer. They need to be taught directly and to be able to socialize with other students.
    It is obvious Mr. Lecee the Education minister is at odds with Ford on this one. There is no need for schools to be close especially in the North.
    Mr. Ford started out great..seemed to have it under control. Then he became Mr. Wishy washy…affected by whatever group got to him first. His credibility is now forever lost. He has always said HE TAKES FULL RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions made. He did not take it very seriously when he decided on Monday to AVOID GOING TO the legislature and was not available for any questioning.

  7. An entire generation will be reluctant to ever support the cons in Ontario. After Mike Harris’ reign ended with caskets in Walkerton, the PC party was punished with almost 20 years of liberal rule. Let’s hope this time it’s 25+ relegated to the opposition.

    • The Conservatives only spent 15 years in the wilderness after Mike Harris. Not saying they didn’t deserve more, just stating the fact. To put it context though, the Conservatives really were the natural governing party of Ontario with only 3 Liberal premiers elected during the entire 20th century and Mike certainly destroyed that. Doug has just ensured that they will never return to that status.

      • We get it Soo Guy, you’re a diehard conservative hater and will automatically find fault in anything conservative related.
        BTW, whose data & models do you think Ford is basing his mediocre decisions on? Hint: It’s a federal party and not conservative.

        • as a footnote, a police officer is on administrative leave in gravenhurst after shoving a 12 year old child off a scooter. i wonder where the opp got the idea that is acceptable behaviour?

  8. The teacher…..the party…..the rumours…..
    The only way to know what constitutes the truth is for the teacher (the perpetrator) to explain what she did. I would expect a teacher, a mentor to our children, to come forward with her side of it.
    Of course, I don’t believe she will be punished appropriately as she is blanketed by one of the biggest unions in Canada. I expect this to be swept under the same rug as the hospital CEO and the police officer.

    • The teacher came forward and presented her side (on Facebook) and promptly removed the post, but not before it was copied many times, along with the photos of booze and glue in the sink.
      Her ‘side’ was that it was between 10 and 20 people and none of them had Covid. (I guess they must have all taken tests)

      • Thank you, Tom. I do not belong to any social media sites. But was there an investigation to substantiate her “story”? Rumours abound, of course, and I am loathe to believe all of them. But APH surely can substantiate or negate what she says. I’m sorry, but I do not believe there were only 10-20 young people in attendance. We’re the named attendants questioned at all? Probably not. She’s a teacher, after all, and very worried about repercussions….namely, her job.

  9. For moments I think that Doug Ford lost his mind. But knowing that he’s not alone in this one and his way of handling things, in my opinion, the extraordinary powers given to the Police was in consensus with all the power machine behind Ford.
    It was a political mistake that he’ll pay with a one term Premier, unfortunately, but as you said, so be it.
    Nonetheless, the incident perspire a reality… the little dictator is hiding there without a doubt. A true leader, would have avoided not only not giving extra powers to the Police and by the contrary, he’ll order the Chief of Police to deploy the whole force day and night in strategic “highly visible points” all over the Province. The presence of the Police would have had a great impact… but none of this people ever lived in a Police State. That will teach a lot of Canadians a bag full of wisdom.
    In the other hand, this Pandemic is mostly trial and error, not only for politicians, but for all levels of sciences, no one can say what’s gonna happen three days from today, how will the virus mutate. Right now the virus advanced to a new stage of adaptation which a double mutation but I think that stage only confirms that we are confronting a virus and as such, it could be history in few months.
    I would like to read Mr. Mulroy opinion about the myriad of stories behind the service the people expects from Algoma Health Unit and the actual facts the agency is delivering.
    Seriously, someone has to tell the truth.

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