Queen’s Park protest #6: Once again, hundreds gathered on the lawns of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. They justifiably wanted to know why other economies the world over are fully opening up, but in Ontario – the province that Doug Ford proclaimed as being “Open for Business” – is seemingly regressing.
Case in point: just two days prior to the protest, Peter Berbatiotis was making a delivery in his Toronto Softee ice-cream truck… and got nailed with a ticket by bylaw. Talk about The Grinch Who Stole Summertime!
But why? Isn’t curbside delivery allowed now? And that is the house specialty of a mobile ice cream truck. But no. Apparently, according to both the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, this is a “grey area.” And while the bureaucrats mull over the 50 million shades of grey inherent to their Wuhan virus red tape, Mr. Berbatiotis will be dishing out the green to the Pandemic Police.
Another case in point: Jason Lake, the owner of the Minden 50s Diner. He opened up his diner on Friday in order to – horrors! – cater to a few sit-down customers at his restaurant. That didn’t last long. A SWAT team of law enforcement descended upon the diner, informing Lake to shutter the joint immediately or face a fine of $500,000!
And yet, consider Portugal. This European nation is reopening its economy. In a few days, even its beaches will welcome back tourists (remember them?) But in Ontario, Doug “Not Quite Open For Business Yet” Ford has cancelled summer camp.
While Premier Ford claims he wants to open the economy more-so than anyone else, he says he is beholden to medical and scientific advice and besides, he’s worried about that “second wave” of the Wuhan virus. Translation: if you’re pining for a haircut or manicure, tough luck, Ontarians. You’re stuck in hippy mode for the foreseeable future.
Little wonder there was such frustration in the air at the protest. Small businesses are suffering. And many more are not coming back when the “old normal” returns (whenever that is.)
And as Ontarians vent, Premier Ford… bakes cherry cheesecake?
*UPDATE: On June 2, 2020 the Ontario government announced it will be extending the lockdown across the province for an additional 28 days until June 30.