Budget cut a sign that Doug Ford's contempt for libraries persists - 2019-04-18
If I have a litmus test for politicians, it might be this: if they don't understand the value of public libraries, then I don't trust them. Because a person who doesn't understand public libraries doesn't understand community, and doesn't understand civilization. Libraries are pillars of both. Why, you may ask, do I take the time to mention this now? Well, it seems the provincial budget has slashed the Ontario Library Service budget by 50 per cent, according to a report Thursday from CBC — an immediate cut "that would need to be absorbed into the current 2019-2020 fiscal year."
While this cut was unexpected and unheralded — I cannot recall any campaign promises pledging to fight Big Book or stick it to those fat-cat librarians — it's hard to say it's exactly surprising, coming from this premier. Doug Ford, when his brother was mayor of Toronto, made his pathological disregard for public repositories of knowledge well known.
Asked if he would close library branches then, he said, "Absolutely I would, in a heartbeat." He said anyone who reacted negatively to that suggestion was simply taking their cues from self-interested "library groups." The city was lousy with libraries, he suggested, complaining that there were more branches in his area than Tim Hortons franchises — which there were not — and suggesting that was a bad thing.