While Tories enjoy blaming the Ontario Liberals for the decrepit state of the province’s social services, for Ontario’s staggering deficit, and for the manufacturing sector’s decline, there may be another culprit: pot-head Ernie Eves, formerly the Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario.
While former Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty opted to work as a senior consultant for a business firm, Eves has chosen to become chairman of the bong, sorry, board of Timeless Herbal Care, a medical marijuana company based in Jamaica.
According to Timeless Herbal Care’s website, this is not Eves’ only gig. Considering how well he did governing Ontario, multitasking makes sense. Among others, Eves also works for Parsons Brinkerhoff Canada, Enterprise Canada, and Canada Lithium Corporation.
Eves assured the Canadian Press that he does not presently partake in ganja—as pot is popularly called in Jamaica—and he only tried it during Toronto Argonauts football games, since the team sucked when he was watching in his youth. He joked that marijuana might be appropriate for Toronto Maple Leafs games today, considering how much the Leafs suck.
Eves didn’t specify whether the spectators should light up or if a bong ought to be passed around the locker room. He didn’t even say which type of marijuana would be best to use—maybe something mixed with maple syrup—but did note that there are over 140 types of weed. Timeless Herbal Care’s website lists several types, as well as what they cure, such as high cholesterol, aging, and memory function. Of all the various types, none can raise poll numbers, not that Prime Minister Harper has ever lit up in his life. After all, doing so might make him appear to the Canadian people as relaxed and human.
Despite Eves’ assurance that he hasn’t smoked pot in some time, some of his party’s actions during the 2003 campaign suggest someone was smoking something strong. Particularly when Eves launched an attack on Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty accusing the liberal leader of being “an evil reptilian kitten eater from another planet.” This might actually have been a more flattering comment thrown at McGuinty than one regarding his eerie resemblance to Anthony Perkins in Psycho.
Despite coming from humble beginnings, Eves was called to the Ontario bar in 1972. Unlike in Alberta, when Ontarians say bar, they mean practice law, not ask for another bourbon on the rocks. Perhaps it was because of his working class background, but Eves was always dressed to the nines. He spent about $25,000 per year on clothing! Such extravagance might be viewed negatively while he served as Finance Minister under Mike Harris. He directed the slashing of social assistance by cutting welfare rates by 22%, which kicked hundreds of thousands from the welfare rolls.
Eves left politics in 2001, only to return when Mike Harris stepped down. Rather like Kim Campbell nearly a decade earlier, Eves inherited a crippling deficit, a burgeoning number of scandals, and a cabinet minister who decided to act like Marie Antoinette by calling changes to the welfare system “unnecessary.” His decision to present a budget outside of the legislature—an actual budget not the “update” Joe Oliver found himself in hot water over last year—along with repeated evidence of corruption turned the heat up for Eves. When Ontario’s power system proved faulty and launched the province into the Northeastern Blackout of 2003, the lights went out for Eves once and for all.
Eves wasn’t all bad; he is credited with moderating some of Harris’s policies, and was far more moderate than his rival to replace Harris (the late lamented Jim Flaherty). Without him, things could have been worse. His life was scarred by personal tragedy when his son Justin was killed in a car crash near Parry Sound, Ontario and his marriage subsequently fell apart.
After leaving politics, Eves proved supportive of former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin and proved to not to be bosom buddies with Stephen Harper. Remember, Eves was a Progressive Conservative and a red Tory, for whom the Alliance and CCRAPers had little love for anyway. Thanks to the 2014 spring election, Eves will be the last PC to sit in the Premier’s chair until at least 2018.