“The only thing certain is the certainty of change”. There will be an avalanche of change in Ontario in coming months, and little of it will benefit working people. The real power brokers in this province have a political agenda, both at Queen’s Park and the municipal level in greater Toronto. While Doug Ford may not initially have been their first choice for Premier, they wasted no time before supporting his rapid roll-back of workers rights and expansion of corporate privilege. Bill 47 unravels most of the Employment Standards gains made by workers under the previous government, cancelling the $15 minimum wage and making it harder for workers to unionize.

A few enlightened corporate leaders may have seen the wisdom in the former government’s efforts to address growing precarity in the new economy, but the core group of market fundamentalists never consented to even these small steps toward more workplace justice. They relentlessly seek more profit regardless of the long-term consequences to our society. The death of yet another temporary agency worker at Fiera Foods on October 25 is the logical consequence of the economic race to the bottom.

When Ford hijacked the Toronto elections mid-way through the campaign, the voices of the economic and political elites were eerily silent about this stunning attack on democracy.

Despite their claim to want an inclusive and caring city, they believe their financial self-interest is better served with a smaller Council and a “strong mayor”. Bay Street does not want to waste time with democratic niceties – they like the idea of getting deals done with onestop shopping at the Mayor’s office.

The other major player in municipal politics – the development industry - was alarmed at the possibility of a new crop of diverse, progressive Councillors recruited by Progress Toronto. No doubt their lobbying efforts lined up with Ford’s personal instinct of revenge on Toronto City Council, leading to the decision to impose a drastic reduction to 25 seats through Bill 5. They will be pressuring the new Council for more tax giveaways and less community say over new developments.

John Tory started the race with over a million dollars in funds from his wealthy backers. After the threat from Keesmaat was contained, Tory was able to reach into a number of Councillor races to help defeat progressives. He wants a City Hall team that will fall in line with his priorities for the next four years. It remains to be seen if he will revisit the attempt to sell off Toronto Hydro, or resist Ford’s drive to take over the TTC subway operations.

The people of Toronto will have to mobilize strongly around preserving these key public assets, as well as other priorities such as childcare, tax fairness and affordable housing.