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Leadership Lessons for Premier Doug Ford

September 30th, 2023 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, will the hard lessons about leadership sink in for Doug Ford?

The Ford government Greenbelt Scandal has been partially defused by Ford’s announcement that he is backing away from rezoning greenbelt land for development and his accompanying public apology. But the issue is not going away anytime soon as the opposition parties continue to press for a criminal investigation.

I am weighing in this time on the nature of Ford’s apology. He did his best to turn it into a pat on the back for himself by proclaiming that leadership is about admitting when you have made a mistake. Well, Doug, you and I have different concepts of what constitutes leadership. Let me elaborate on our differences on that topic.

Leadership is about keeping the promises you made. Leadership is not about making promises you never intended to keep and trotting out the “things have changed” excuse when the time comes to break them.

Leadership is about listening to the electorate and acting in their best interests. Leadership is not about spewing rhetoric about “being all about the people’s needs” while acting in the best interests of big business who financially supported your campaign.

Leadership is about acting by example by following the rules. Leadership is not about circumventing the rules so you can do as you please.

Leadership is about listening to the experts when they provide their informed advice. Case in Point: The Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario reported way back in March that Ontario’s municipalities already have 85 percent of the 1.5 million housing units needed in their approval pipelines. Leadership is not about ignoring any informed advice that does not support what you want to do.

Leadership is about acting with integrity. Leadership is not about dodging the bullets until there are no more fall guys to offer up.

Leadership is about owning the mistakes you make in a timely fashion and doing what is necessary to fix any damage done. Leadership is not about waiting until you have no other choice – after multiple authorities have called you out and multiple cabinet ministers have resigned – and then staging a photo-op to playact humility.

Being the premier of Ontario is unquestionably a difficult and sometimes thankless job. I do not have what it takes the fill the role. There is no incentive you could dangle in front of me to take on the job even if I did.

But when you do take on that role, it comes with the responsibility of acting honestly, transparently and in the best interests of those who elected you. Continuing with the metaphor from my last post, it should not get the point where the stench of the stinking fish is so bad that everyone is gagging before you correct course.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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