Doug Ford’s hypocrisy in firing lockdown critic Roman Baber from the Conservatives is stunning

Baber was validly criticizing the increasingly draconian measures and their unintended side effects

Marty Gobin

By Marty GobinOPINION 22 Jan 2021Share

Politicians who want to appear concerned but don’t comply with the pandemic guidelines they espouse, like staying away from other humans unless necessary, are ubiquitous these days.

The pseudo-religious pageantry usually involves a press conference with COVID conscious elected officials and bureaucrats. They stand in a V-formation, hands solemnly clasped in front of them, wearing masks (until they decide to speak), and distanced just enough that observers can tell they’re keeping their distance from other humans, but not quite so far as to be out of the camera’s field of view. After all, how would we know that they’re following their own advice to stay away from other people if they’re standing too far away to be seen? If they could catch or transmit the Ebola virus by being in the same room as others they wouldn’t dream of it, but this is different: The public needs to see how seriously our politicians take COVID-19, even if that means not taking it seriously.

One such display by the prophets of the COVID cult happened in Toronto on January 12. In a live briefing, Premier Doug Ford, the minister of health, and the attorney general got together in the same room as a couple medical yes men to announce a province-wide house arrest for the foreseeable future. The order-in-council they announced would last 14 days, but that’s only because that’s the longest period permitted by statute before needing to extend it (thus the lie in March 2020 that Ontarians’ civil liberties would be suspended for “two weeks to flatten the curve”). Disobeying the order is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment, a fine of $100,000, or both.

During the briefing, Ford instructed viewers to work from home where possible, despite having assembled with colleagues for a press event that could have been conducted remotely by Zoom, Skype, or a rotary phone. But the cabinet was seen to be concerned about following public health advice, and that’s what really mattered.

A few days later, Roman Baber, member of Provincial Parliament for York Centre, published a letter criticizing the increasingly draconian lockdowns and their unintended side effects. Whether Baber’s thesis about the utility of lockdowns is correct, he raised an issue that has so far been ignored by the Ford government: That anyone who has taken economics 101 knows that lockdowns will involve trade-offs, and the trade-offs should be considered in analyzing the utility of lockdowns.

For all the ever-changing “modelling” of projected COVID-19 deaths if lockdowns are not imposed, Ontario’s cabinet has not released any models of what lives the lockdowns have cost in terms of untreated medical issues, suicides, and overdoses. The lockdowns have also unquestionably damaged the economy, which, it’s worth remembering, funds the health care system that is needed to save lives. But these issues are not in vogue like COVID-19 deaths, so the cabinet has no desire to subject them to “modelling,” especially if it suggests that the cabinet is increasing the province’s body count.

Baber could be incorrect about his concerns (we don’t know because the provincial government refuses to have an adult discussion about it), but can’t be dismissed as an anti-vaxxer, anti-masker, or uninformed kook. He lived under, and escaped, the Soviet Union in the 1980s while Ford was still living a carefree life as an alleged hash dealer. In the 2000s, Baber worked and studied hard to become a lawyer while Ford was inheriting a family business that someone else built. While Ford was struggling with a teleprompter at press briefings in between repeated violations of the sub judice convention, discussing what the sentences ought to be for presumptively innocent individuals charged with breaching his orders who had yet to even have had their first appearance, let alone a trial, Baber was the chair of the standing committee on justice policy committee at Queen’s Park, overseeing the provincial ministries tasked with upholding the rule of law in Ontario.

In short, if someone had to consult with an individual capable of discussing constitutional law, one’s duties as a member of the provincial legislature, the salutary and deleterious effects of legislation that might ultimately be the subject of discussion in an Oakes analysis when Ford’s OICs are inevitably subjected (successfully or not) to Charter challenges, how to scrutinize expert witnesses’ medical opinions, and what it is like to actually live in a society where central planners and technocrats determine what is “essential” through the force of law, the person to talk to would be Baber and not Ford.

So, as one might expect from the mind of someone whose best argument against political dissidents is to repeatedly call them “yahoos,” Ford immediately booted Baber out of the Progressive Conservative party, an almost certain death blow to any chances of Baber’s re-election.

That was the penalty for simply questioning the wisdom of the cabinet. Yet when former Finance Minister Rod Phillips actually disregarded the province’s public health advice by vacationing abroad and Ford denied knowledge of it until admitting he was aware after being accused of incompetence if he actually didn’t know where his finance minister was for weeks, neither left the PC caucus. Phillips was permitted to leave the cabinet but still remained in the caucus as an MPP adding to his pension, and Ford imposed no penalties on himself after demonstrating a total lack of moral courage by throwing his friend under the bus for conduct he condoned until caught.

The takeaway is that, as with all its unnecessarily in-person choreographed press briefings, disregarding the party’s public health pronouncements is tolerated as long as an MPP is seen to agree with them. But if, rather than being a hypocrite, a member shows any sign of integrity by engaging in heresy and voices opposition to the party, going so far as to suggest that the party might be killing people, they have no business working with Doug Ford.

Doug Ford’s hypocrisy in firing lockdown critic Roman Baber from the Conservatives is stunning | Canadian Lawyer (


The Religious Transformation of French Schools

by Giulio Meotti

  • In France, a low-intensity war is bubbling, aimed at radicalizing education.
  • At the Pierre Mendès France School in Saumur, a student told his teacher, “My father will behead you”. It has become impossible even to make a precise list of these incidents. They occur every day in France.
  • “Faced with Islamist intimidation, what should the free world do?” — Title of Robert Redeker’s column in Le Figaro in 2006. A few days later, he began receiving death threats.
  • If extremists have managed to intimidate France’s schools and universities, why should they not be able to subdue all of society?
In France, a low-intensity war is bubbling, aimed at radicalizing education. Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer revealed that after the beheading of the schoolteacher Samuel Paty in October, 800 Islamist “incidents” had taken place in French schools. Pictured: Bois-d’Aulne College in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, where Paty was murdered on October 16, 2020. (Photo by Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images)

“Unlike you, Colonel, and so many others, Mila will never submit”, wrote the French teenager’s father to her school’s principal in a letter published by Le Point. On January 18, 2020 Mila O., then 16 years old, made insulting comments about Islam during her Instagram livestream.

“During her livestream, a Muslim boy asked her out in the comments, but she turned him down because she is gay. He responded by accusing her of racism and calling her a ‘dirty lesbian’. In an angry follow-up video, streamed immediately after she was insulted, Mila responded by saying that she ‘hates religion'”.

Mila continued: “The Koran is a religion of hatred; there is only hatred in it… Islam is sh*t…” Since then, she has received approximately 50,000 messages and letters that contain threats to rape her, slit her throat, torture and behead her. She has had to keep moving from one school to another.

Once again, Mila has found herself without a high school. On a social network, she accidentally gave the name of her new military school. Its management promptly excluded her for being a potential threat to the students’ security. “Devastated by so much cowardice”, Mila’s father wrote. “Even the army cannot protect her and allow her to continue her education, what can we do, us, her parents? This observation is for us a horror film”.

Even the French army cannot protect her? “She is 17 years old and now lives like the staff of Charlie Hebdo, in a bunker; it is unbearable!” Mila’s lawyer, Richard Malka, said.

A few days later, “Caroline L.”, a professor at the Faculty of Law of Aix-Marseille University, received countless death threats, accusing her of being “Islamophobic”. The Aix-en-Provence prosecutor opened an investigation for “public insults for belonging to religion”. Her “crime”? The professor had explained to her students there:

“There is no freedom of conscience in Islam. If you were born to a Muslim father, you are a Muslim for life. A kind of sexually transmitted religion. One of the biggest problems we have with Islam, and unfortunately it is not the only one, is that Islam does not recognize freedom of conscience. It is absolutely terrifying”.

The Pierre Joël Bonté High School in Riom (Puy-de-Dôme) was closed on January 11 due to “insults and death threats” targeting teachers. “We have decided to close the school following insults and death threats to protect students and staff”, a spokesperson of the school explained. A few hours later, a teacher in Toulouse, Fatiha Boudjahlat, asked for police protection after receiving significant threats.

In 2015, Islamic State announced that French schools must be attacked and invited its followers to “kill the teachers“. According to Gilles Kepel, an expert on Islamism, “The school, for the supporters of political Islam, has become a citadel to tear down.”

An article in L’Express tragically points out that schools are the object of violent campaigns by Islamists throughout the world. In 2014, a military school in Peshawar, Pakistan was targeted by a deadly Islamist attack that claimed the lives of 132 students. The Pakistani Taliban movement, between 2009 and 2012, attacked 900 schools according to a report by the NGO International Crisis Group. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, known for her fight for girls’ education, was shot in the head by the Taliban in Swat. Boko Haram, responsible for numerous attacks in Nigeria, claimed it had kidnapped 276 high school girls in Chibok. In an attack by Islamists affiliated with al-Qaeda on Kenya’s Garissa University, 142 students were killed. In Burkina Faso, more than 2,000 schools have closed their doors.

In France, a low-intensity war is bubbling, aimed at radicalizing education. While many Muslims might not support such a transformation, the current effort seems to have begun in 1989, during the bicentenary of the French Revolution and the French publication of Salman Rushdie’s fictional novel, The Satanic Verses. A college in Creil refused admission to three students wearing the Islamic veil. French authorities tried by dialogue and appeasement to calm the situation. In an appeal, however, published by Le Nouvel Observateur and signed by authors Alain Finkielkraut and Elisabeth Badinter, several intellectuals denounced the “Munich of the republican school”.

The Islamization of French education is now proceeding at a rapid pace. In 1989, the cry was, “Teachers, let us not capitulate!”. Since then, some French teachers who have refused to capitulate have paid with their lives.

In October 2020, a French history teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a Chechen terrorist for having carried out his work: educating his students to respect the founding values ​​of Western societies and the words mounted over the doors of their school (Liberté, égalité, fraternité), for discussing freedom of speech and showing them Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons of Mohammed.

“Living together is a fable,” Alain Finkielkraut wrote after Paty’s beheading; “the lost territories of the Republic are the territories conquered by hatred of France. Eyes have opened, the evidence can no longer be hidden”.

French Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer revealed that after the beheading of Paty, 800 Islamist “incidents” had taken place in French schools.

Another teacher was physically threatened at the Battières School in Lyon, where Samuel Paty had started his career. This teacher of history and geography had given a lesson on freedom of expression, in accordance with the school curricula, to a fifth-grade class. He stated, among other things, that Emmanuel Macron was not “Islamophobic”. The father of a student came to see the teacher, challenging him verbally in front of witnesses. “He was vocal and very intrusive about what he said was and was not allowed to say in his classes”, a witness said. Shocked, the teacher was put on sick leave and asked to change schools.

At a high school in Caluire-et-Cuire, near Lyon, a student threatened a teacher to “cut off his head”. In Gisors, a girl distributed a photo of Paty’s beheading to her companions. In Albertville, Savoy, the police had to summon four ten-year-old children and their parents because in the classroom they said “that teacher deserved to die”. In Grenoble, an extremist Muslim was arrested for threatening to behead a teacher of history and geography named Laurent who appears on a reality TV show. “I will behead you” he said . Laurent was evidently preparing a video tribute to Paty. At the Pierre Mendès France School in Saumur, a student told his teacher, “My father will behead you”.

It has become impossible even to make a precise list of these incidents. They occur every day in France.

A new survey reveals the level of self-censorship among French teachers. To avoid possible incidents, one out of every two teachers is admitting to self-censoring in class. By means of fear, terror and intimidation, Islamism is reaping what it has sown.

How We Let Islamism Enter the School is the title of Jean-Pierre Obin’s new book about the rise of Islamism in French schools. Obin, a former inspector-general of national education, in 2004 coordinated a report on manifestations of religious affiliation at schools. It was not the first report from a French education insider. Bernard Ravet was, for 15 years, the principal of three of the most problematic schools in Marseille. In his bookCollege Principal or Imam of the Republic?, Ravet wrote:

“For more than ten years, fanaticism has been knocking on the door of dozens of establishments…. It has sought to encroach on the physical territory of the Republic, centimeter by centimeter, by imposing its signs and standards”,

French philosopher Robert Redeker wrote in 2006:

“Islam tries to impose its rules on Europe, opening swimming pools at certain times exclusively for women, a ban on caricaturing this religion, the demand for special dietary treatment of Muslim children, the fight for the wearing the veil at school, the accusation of Islamophobia against free spirits.”

His column in Le Figaro was titled, “Faced with Islamist intimidation, what should the free world do?” A few days later, Redeker began receiving death threats. “I can’t work and I am obliged to hide”, Redeker said. “So in some way, Islamists have succeeded in punishing me on the territory of the republic as if I were guilty of a crime of opinion”.

We should have paid more attention to that first case. It was the first in a long series of attacks on French teachers and schools. Fourteen years later, Samuel Paty has paid with his life, a university professor just received security protection and another had to leave his school after threats. If extremists have managed to intimidate France’s schools and universities, why should they not be able to subdue all of society?

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

The Religious Transformation of French Schools (

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