What I wish I had done the day Doug Ford was elected

The 2018 Ontario election was three years ago yesterday.
It was a busy day for me, I accomplished a lot, and there were small victories, but I still have one regret.

I constantly wish I had berated the group of old conservative football dads who thought I was one of them. Especially now that the Ford government has caused people to die unnecessarily.

A Mike Schreiner lawn sign.
Jack fisher/DefunctMayhem

In 2018 I was living and working in Guelph.
I was the President of the Central Student Association at the University of Guelph and doing my best not to show favoritism (a mistake, in hindsight).

Two of us on the executive were volunteering with Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner’s campaign anyway. We did our research on local candidates and he was the best option by a long shot.

On election day, I had numerous meetings with the university administration and a variety of student groupss, so I was not able to follow the news as closely as I had hoped.

I finished my “workday” at The Brass Taps Campus Pub attending an event for one of our services and figured I had time to see The Toronto Argos play on campus (a pre-season game vs. the Hamilton Ti-Cats) before making it to the election watch party.

I made my way to the football field and checked my clock. I had about an hour until results would be called in the province, which meant I could stay until half-time.

Feeling relieved after a busy day, I went over to the “Tail-gate Zone” which was essentially just the track behind the endzone. A friend let me in without a ticket, and I ran into other friends from the Student Experience department who were entertaining merchandise providers.

I decided to hang around within sight of the people I knew but not interrupt what was obviously a business meeting/event.

The Half-time whistle blew and I checked my clock. It’s 7:00pm, right on time. I call a Red Top Taxi (Guelph’s finest) and design to finish the beer in my hand before heading to the Holiday Inn where the Guelph Green Party will be hosting their election watch.

The 2018 Argos vs. Ti-Cats
pre-season game at the U of G.


He says “WE DID IT!”
Everything about him reeked of a Ford voter- golf shirt, slacks, loafers, Budweiser – and I’m quite taken aback by this.
I said “What?”
He says “We won!”

To note, I am wearing a student union shirt, I am 3 days unshaven, I am drinking the only craft beer available,
I am the only person in this endzone-beer area NOT wearing a collar or dress clothes. But I am a white guy. He must have assumed I voted for Ford because I was white. It’s the only explanation.

In hindsight, it’s understandable why the man who hugged me thought I was a conservative. I had a relatively new haircut. I had no tan. I was in the fancy-ass end-zone beer-zone at an Argos game (which, again, I snuck in to).

Anyway… I said “oh good,” because I hadn’t quite yet processed the information, as I pulled out my phone.
My cab was almost to the stadium. It was 7:05 pm
I pulled up an election website.
The race had just been called for Doug Ford.
My heart sank.
How could that be?

Sure Wynne was a little bit unpopular, but had this many people really voted for Ford?

I hopped in the taxi and headed five minutes down the road.
I sprinted into the Holiday Inn banquet hall to join the watch party – Guelph hadn’t been called yet.

Mike Schreiner gives his victory speech after being declared Guelph’s MPP in 2018.
Jack Fisher/Defunct Mayhem

The energy in the room buffered me for a bit.
Around 7:20 pm Guelph was called for the Green Party. It was hectic!
I was there when Schreiner gave his first speech.
Afterward, some friends and I went to Karaoke downtown Guelph. It was hype.

To this day I am haunted by the fact I didn’t verbally rip into the audacious football-dad-dude who hugged me as Ford won.
Why didn’t I tell him off?
Why didn’t I get mad at him for F-ing with everyone who went to school on the campus the Argos and Ti-Cats were playing on?

Right now, Ontario is continuing to fumble its pandemic response.
Ford decided to demonize teachers, to not support healthcare workers, and to ignore folks living or working in long-term care.
Ford has dialed back legislation protecting the greenbelt and canceled new transit projects.

We will be so much worse off by the time the next Ontario election rolls around – even if it’s this year.
People have died. The environment has suffered, and education has been maligned as some sort of public enemy.

I wish I had said something to that one guy in 2018, and I wish Doug Ford would listen to experts – on every topic – because it’s clear no one in our government right now knows what the hell they are doing.

Encourage vaccination.
Listen to experts.

To Ford; DO SOMETHING, Dougie, or at least admit you fucked up.
Do it yesterday.

Written by
Jack Fisher

Jack Fisher is an independent journalist. He holds a BAH from the University of Guelph, and a post-graduate certificate from Sheridan College in journalism.
@Jack_Fisher_4 on Twitter and Instagram

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Written by Jack Fisher