Following the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is attacking the media for criticizing his policies.
In an email fundraising blast sent Monday by the Progressive Conservatives, Ford charges that unnamed journalists and news organizations are unfairly targetting him for opposing the federal carbon-pricing measures.
“I don’t know if you get to follow the headlines, but this is bogus. The journalists are out there mocking us,” the premier writes in his missive entitled, “They’re laughing at us,” and signed “Doug.”
“Regular folks who tried to save a few bucks on gas by filling up before the carbon tax kicked in. Maybe these guys don’t care about what gas costs them, but I know how much it matters,” he continues.
“It’s journalists and politicians like these who make it tough for the little guy. They don’t understand there’s a whole world out here, filled with folks just trying to get by.”
Ford, a millionaire scion who inherited his successful label printing company from his father Doug Ford, Sr., a former Tory MPP, vows to continue to fight Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon-pricing scheme that took effect April 1.
“I’m going to keep fighting the carbon tax. We’re taking it all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to. Ontario can’t afford to get hit with this.”
The province is spending $30 million on a legal fight and taxpayer-funded advertising blitz to combat the carbon-pricing plan.
His missive appears to have been triggered by some of the online mockery suffered by Tory MPPs — scores of whom took selfies while filling up their tanks on March 31 before the federal measure increased gasoline price by around 5 cents a litre.
Under Trudeau’s program, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, an average Ontario household would pay $244 more a year on gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil.
But families would receive $300 in rebates for a net gain of at least $56 annually. That would be bankrolled by big industrial polluters.
In recent days, Ford has stepped up his criticism of the media with tweets aimed at journalists who have filed unflattering stories or those he claims are inaccurate.
A spokesman for the premier’s office defended the email.
“There are countless examples of journalists jumping on Twitter to mock regular Ontario families who were just trying to save a few bucks before the federal government imposed their punishing carbon tax,” said a Ford aide.
“I would also add, it wasn’t just journalists. The Liberals, the NDP, and their elite friends also joined in on the pile on,” he said.
“Premier Doug Ford and the ‘Government for the People’ understand that for struggling everyday families every penny counts. This is why the government will use every tool at its disposal to fight the federal carbon tax.”
Stateside, Trump frequently rails on Twitter against much of the mainstream media, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and NBC, calling them “an enemy of the people.”
Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie