Nineteenth century Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson is remembered mostly for his novels Treasure Island, featuring the pirate Long John Silver, and Kidnapped. Almost as well-known as these, and probably far more influential in terms of the number of imitations it has inspired and adaptations that have been made, is a shorter work, published in 1886, the same year as Kidnapped, entitled Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1).
The story is about a physician, Dr. Henry Jekyll, who like everybody else, struggles with the inner conflict between his base instincts and urges on the one hand and his ethical standards on the other. Unlike everybody else, he, being a scientist, tries to find a scientific solution to the problem, which he sees more in terms of the need to protect his reputation than to suppress his vicious desires. He invents a serum that transforms him into Mr. Edward Hyde so that he can indulge the latter without damaging his reputation. The potion, however, also produces a division in his moral character, basically separating all the wickedness into the persona of Mr. Hyde and all of the goodness into the persona of Dr. Jekyll. The consequence of all of this, is that Mr. Hyde is left with no inner constraints on his wickedness, and becomes a thoroughly depraved, sadistic, sociopathic, murderer. Dr. Jekyll, who by contrast becomes more upright, humane and saintly, eventually loses control over the transformation process and starts to transform into Mr. Hyde involuntarily, at first in his sleep, later when he is awake. Then, running out of the serum that reverses the transformation, and being unable to produce another batch that will work, he realizes that he is about to become his evil alter-ego permanently, and commits suicide.
After the story was published and became widely known, the names of the character became more or less synonymous with the kind of dual personality in which a person can be sweet, gentile, and charming one minute and the exact opposite of that the next.
I have been reminded of this story every time that Doug Ford, the current premier of Upper Canada, or Ontario as those who like to keep up with the times prefer to call it, has appeared in the news in the last eight months and especially the last two.
Two summers ago, when the Progressive Conservatives led by Doug Ford, won a majority of 76 out of the 124 seats in the provincial legislature, I breathed a sigh of relief for our neighbours to the east. They had suffered under Grit misrule for fifteen years, first under Dalton McGuinty and then under Kathleen Wynne, who were in my opinion the two worst provincial-level Liberal leaders in the entire history of the Dominion. The election that put Doug Ford in the premier’s chair, also reduced the Grits to seven seats, the worst defeat they have ever suffered in that province, which was itself even greater cause to rejoice than the Conservative victory.
When Doug Ford became leader of Upper Canada’s Progressive Conservatives in the lead-up to the provincial election of 2018, I knew little about him other than that he was the brother of the late Rob Ford, who from 2010 to 2014 had been mayor of the city which had been known as York before political correctness prompted its being rechristened with the Indian name of Toronto in 1834. During the years in which Rob Ford was mayor, he was constantly under attack by the CBC and the rest of the mainstream progressive media, which only strengthened me in my conviction that, as I said at the time, Rob Ford, drunk and on crack, ran his city better than any other sober mayor in Canada, including and especially our own here in Winnipeg. That would have been Sam Katz back then, and Mayor Duckie (2) who has since replaced him is even worse.
The same corrupt left-wing media that had relentlessly pursued the destruction of his brother, went after Doug Ford during the 2018 election. They shamelessly dug poor old Rob up from his grave – he had passed away from cancer two years previously – and began whipping and crucifying his corpse. Since Ford was using populist rhetoric in his campaign, they naturally compared him to Donald the Orange who through populism and nationalism had become president of the American republic in 2016. Now, just to be clear, since my politics happens to be the royal-monarch-as-defender-of-the-Church kind of Toryism from which the Conservative Party has been lamentably drifting for decades – or rather centuries – populism and nationalism are actually lower in my own estimation than they are in that of the progressive media. Forced to choose between the former and the latter, however, I would gladly chose the populists any day. So it was that this progressive assault on “Ontario’s Trump” raised his stock considerably in my books.
Despite the media’s amusing attempt to use his populist rhetoric to hang the “far right” label on him – neither populism nor what the media considers to be “far right” is right wing at all, let alone extremely right wing - Doug Ford was basically a mainstream, centre-right, Progressive Conservative. His platform consisted mostly of tax reductions, infrastructure improvement, de-regulation, and cleaning up the mess that McGuinty and Wynne had made of the province’s school system. While there was much that was lacking in this platform, it was a major improvement over what the former governing party had been offering. After Ford won the election, the first year and a half of his premiership were fairly impressive. He stuck it to the provincial bureaucrats with a salary-and-hiring freeze, and went to war with the environazis who were determined to make life more miserable and unaffordable for everybody because of their superstitious belief in a climate apocalypse extrapolated through a computer simulation from the pseudoscientific theory of anthropogenic global warming. This included standing up to Captain Airhead, whom we are unfortunate enough to have as the Prime Minister of Her Majesty’s government in Ottawa, and who was threatening to impose a federal carbon tax on all provinces that did not voluntarily adopt one of their own. Shortly after the election, the new Minister of Education announced that the province would repeal everything the outgoing government had done to turn the schools into indoctrination camps for brainwashing young children with sexual perversion and gender identity politics although there have been reports that the follow-through on this was less than spectacular and that all they really did was make a few minor adjustments. (3)
The qualifying remarks in my last sentence aside, Ford had gotten off to a fairly good start for a contemporary, mainstream, Progressive Conservative premier.
Then the Chinese bat flu arrived in Upper Canada. When that happened, Doug Ford underwent an almost-overnight metamorphosis into a despotic, bullying, COVID-monster, and became the darling of the media that had been demonizing him for the last two years.
Of course, something similar could be said about every premier in the Dominion. Our own Progressive Conservative Premier here in the south-east corner of Prince Rupert’s Land, Brian Pallister, declared a state of emergency and put our province into a most draconian lockdown before there was any significant outbreak, gave that – in my opinion - power mad goon Dr. Brent Roussin a blank cheque for imposing restrictions, no matter how stupid, self-contradictory, and outright harmful they were, and only the other day doubled the fines for people who violate these arbitrary regulations. Pallister, however, has long been known to be a jerk. The only reason I welcomed his re-election the other year is that the other option was the truly odious Wab Kinew. Doug Ford, on the other hand, had given us every reason to expect much better of him, before he turned around and started acting like a squirt bottle used for cleaning the orifices of the nether regions of the body.
Now, some might come to Doug Ford’s defence by saying that his province was hit particularly hard by the bat flu. Granted, out of all the provinces its number of deaths was exceeded only by those of Lower Canada. This hardly constitutes justification of his actions, however. It is only to be expected that in a country-wide outbreak, the two provinces of Central Canada would have the most deaths. They have the most people, after all. There is more to it, however, than just that. The bulk of the deaths in those provinces took place in long-term care facilities, which, again, is predictable from the fact that the only people who are at any sort of statistically significant risk from the Chinese bat flu are those who are really old, with two or more complicating health conditions. In Upper and Lower Canada, the situation in the nursing homes got so bad that the Armed Forces had to be sent in to take the place of the staff who had either contracted the virus themselves or deserted in fear of doing so. They sent back to their superiors reports of the horrendous conditions they found there – conditions such as cockroaches, rotting food, bedding left soiled for days on end, and worse – caused not by the bat flu but by neglect and abuse on the part of the administration and staff. While Ford is hardly to blame for such conditions, for in many of these places this sort of thing had been going on for years prior to his premiership, the fact of the matter is that had he done the common sense thing at the beginning of the “pandemic” and taken measures to provide extra protection for the people most at risk, rather than listening uncritically to the imbecilic advice of medical experts who, themselves regurgitating nonsense cooked up by the World Health Organization to serve the nefarious ends of the Chinese Communists and the pharmaceutical conglomerates, recommended a universal quarantine on the young and healthy instead, this sort of thing could have been dealt with much earlier, and steps could have been taken which might have prevented the outbreaks in the nursing homes from getting so bad. Jumping on board the lockdown bandwagon, prevented him from pursuing other, sounder, options, and made the situation even worse.
When the World Health Organization screamed “pandemic”, Ford traded in his tired old populism and common sense for a shiny new superstitious belief in the infallibility of international health organizations and other medical experts, and imposed their recommendations with a particularly heavy hand. When people with legitimate concerns about the erosion of their rights, freedoms, livelihoods and businesses under public health orders and who likely largely overlapped the people who had voted Ford into the premier’s office two years ago, began to protest against social distancing, lockdowns, and the like, he dismissed them all as yahoos. In July, he rammed Bill 195 through the legislature, a bill which gave him two years’ worth of emergency powers which he could exercise without consulting the legislature. This was a province-level equivalent of what Captain Airhead and his Liberals had tried to sneak into an emergency spending bill in Parliament in March, but which Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition had mercifully thwarted. Ford punished the members of his own party who voted against this bill, such as Belinda Karahalios, the MPP representing Cambridge, by expelling them from the caucus.
On Monday, September 28th, Ford held a press conference in which he announced that his province was officially in the “second wave” of the bat flu, and that it “will be worse than the first wave we faced earlier this year.” As with all the other claptrap about this so-called “second wave” this was a cunning form of sleight-of-hand. That day, Upper Canada had seen the highest number of new cases recorded in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. It had not seen a commensurate spike in the number of people gravely sick, being hospitalized, put in intensive care, and dying. Indeed, the new cases were mostly among age groups which were not at any significant risk from the disease. This has been more or less the case everywhere throughout this so-called “second wave”. My province, which seen the number of deaths multiply since the beginning of September – we were at fourteen at the beginning of September and are now at forty-seven, is not an exception. These deaths are, like those which more populated provinces experienced in the spring, almost entirely among those who are both extremely old and extremely sick, because this is Manitoba’s first wave, the entire misguided and totalitarian “flatten the curve” strategy having merely delayed it, while causing a whole lot of unnecessary other harm in the process.
Even before Ford made this announcement, he had lowered the number of people allowed to meet socially in Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa to ten, slapped a $10 000 fine on anyone who organized an event that broke this rule, and a $750 fine on anyone who attended. It is difficult to decide which is more ridiculous, the limit of social gatherings to ten in a country where assembly and association are two of the officially recognized fundamental freedoms, or the insanely high amounts of those fines. (4) Certainly, the late Rob Ford, who was well known for his love of large social gatherings, must be spinning in his grave over all this party-pooping, and the whole general way in which his brother has turned into a piece of rotting Communist excrement.
My unsolicited advice to Ford is to find the serum that will turn him back to his original self and to do so quickly. Nobody, except the media progressives, who want everybody to spend the rest of their lives, hiding under their beds in their basements, curled up in the fetal position, sucking their thumbs, afraid to go out lest the SARS-Cov-2 Bogeyman get them, likes this new version.
(1) Stevenson deliberately left out both the definite article and the periods after the abbreviations for doctor and mister from his title. His original publisher followed his whims. Most subsequent publishers have not.
(2) Brian Bowman looks like Jon Cryer, who, prior to his role as Alan on Three and a Half Men, was best known as “Duckie” in John Hughes’ 1986 “Brat Pack” teen rom-com, Pretty in Pink. An interesting bit of trivia, although as completely irrelevant as this entire footnote, is that Charlie Sheen, Cryer’s co-star in Three and a Half Men (and earlier in Hotshots), was the original choice for the role of Blane, “Duckie”’s ultimately successful rival for the affections of Andie (Molly Ringwald) in this film, a role that ended up going to Andrew McCarthy.
(3) See this article from The Interim. It is worth noting that a serious effort to clean up the schools would have to involve more than just repealing Kathleen Wynne’s curriculum. I was in Toronto for a wedding almost ten years ago, while Dalton McGuinty was still premier. On the ride back to Pearson International, my driver, a recent immigrant from somewhere in the Middle East, struck up a conversation. When he found out I was from Manitoba, he told me how lucky I was to be living in a rural, conservative, province, where I did not have to put up with the likes of Dalton McGuinty, who was making the schools teach sexual perversions to young children. I didn’t have the heart to break the news to him, that the NDP which was governing Manitoba at the time was just about as bad, although they had not taken the schools quite that far. My point, however, is that this conversation could not have taken place when it did, had McGuinty not already started the schools along the path down which Wynne would take them much further.
(4) Of course there are those who have gone even further than Ford in this absurdity. Dr. Brent Roussin has limited social gatherings to five in Winnipeg and the surrounding region. Back in Ford’s own province, Patrick Brown, his predecessor as PC leader and currently the mayor of Brampton, imposed fines of up to $100 000 on those not practicing “physical distancing” as far back as April. An orchard owner in neighbouring Caledon was threatened with a fine that large by the Ontario Provincial Police in late September for letting people pick their own apples on his farm.