Rankandfile.ca’s readers had no trouble finding scumbags among the healthcare profiteers, union-busters and bought politicians. There’s a big steaming pile of human waste to consider for this year’s Scumbag of the Year awards.
We’ve narrowed the field to 10 candidates. There are five public sector and five private sectors scumbag. As usual, past Scumbag of the Year winners have been excluded, like Jason Kenney and Galen Weston Jr.
Now you have the choice to vote for Scumbag of the Year.
Vote at the bottom of the page. Voting ends on New Year’s Eve.
Meet the candidates
David Albert, Managing Director of Foodora Canada
For the second year in a row, tech turd David Albert is in the running for Scumbag of the Year. Not to be outdone with his union-busting efforts against Toronto’s food delivery couriers in 2019, Albert took it to the next level this year by overseeing the company’s union-busting exit from Canada. Why? In February 2020, the Ontario labour board ruled Foodora delivery workers were (obviously) dependent contractors, not the Silicon Valley lie about “independent contractors.” Despite the pandemic boom in delivery jobs, Foodora’s job-creating geniuses couldn’t stomach a unionized workforce and pulled out of Canada in late April. But thanks to the hard work and solidarity of Foodora delivery workers, we now have some valuable experience in organizing this fast-growing sector.
Mike Harris, Chair of the Board of Directors of Chartwell
Yes, it’s the Mike Harris, the former Premier of Ontario who plowed huge sums of public money into expanding a privatized long-term care system. Having rigged the system for profit in the 1990s, it was pure coincidence Harris found his way on to Chartwell’s Board of Directors. Chartwell is collecting millions in federal wage subsidies while paying out millions in dividends and racking up a long-term care death count in the hundreds. Once again, the guy who spouted off so much about hard work grows fat off other people’s hard work.
Adam Skelly, Owner of Adamson BBQ
Adam Skelly had a public temper tantrum over Toronto’s lockdown restrictions closing his unlicensed BBQ restaurant. By defying Toronto’s lockdown restrictions during a massive upsurge in Covid-19 cases, Skelly became a poster boy for the cult of small business worship. All the anti-mask losers showed up to shake his hand, including infamous neo-Nazis like Paul Fromm. The media made Skelly a national celebrity before bothering to investigate any of his shady business practices. They happily played along with Skelly’s martyrdom grift of collecting donations for “legal defence”. Now sitting on a fat six figure sum for a few days of being a dipshit in the public spotlight, Skelly has earned his place in Scumbag of the Year lore as the first “small business” nominee. This may be the first thing he’s legitimately earned.
Alan D. Torrie, CEO of Extendicare
At the top of the Extendicare pyramid scheme is Alan D. Torrie. This sprawling healthcare profiteer operates over a hundred long-term care homes across Canada, as well as the homecare company ParaMed. The publicly-traded corporation has a disgusting track record of cost-cutting, chronic understaffing, and is one of the big players that has crafted long-term care legislation in various provinces on behalf of both liberal and conservative parties. Extendicare has paid out $30.5 million in dividends to shareholders this year while collecting over $100 million in federal and provincial grants and wage subsidies for Extendicare and subsidiary ParaMed operations. Several hundred people in their facilities have died of Covid-19.
Thomas Wellner, CEO of Revera
Thomas Wellner was among the healthcare profiteers who lobbied hard for protections against class actions lawsuits for negligence causing death in long-term care homes. Doug Ford’s Ontario government obliged with Bill 218. With a documented record of inferior care standards, Revera excels at the art of cost-cutting, understaffing, and low wages. Over 500 people have died of Covid-19 in their facilities since March. The sole owner of Revera is the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, and for this reason unions and health coalitions around the country are demanding Revera be brought under public ownership, and tossing the likes of Wellner and his company stooges to the curb.
Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care
A profiteering doctor and a long-time advocate of privatized two-tier healthcare, Merrilee Fullerton couldn’t be better suited to carry out the Tory vision of healthcare for Ontario. Just because she did nothing to prepare for the inevitable second wave, it’s wrong to say Fullerton has done nothing during the pandemic. She’s worked hard to implement the demands of the healthcare profiteers, like loosening restrictions on management rights and control of workers. She also went to bat for the long-term care profiteers with Bill 218 which protects them from class action lawsuits for negligence causing death. With about 3 out of 5 Ontario Covid-19 deaths happening in long-term care, Fullerton has proven that pro-privatization doctors are unfit to manage public health.
Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education
Human weasel Stephen Lecce’s elite private school background and frat boy antics made him a plum choice for Doug Ford’s Minister of Education. Who better to destroy a public education system? After slandering teachers during tense bargaining and strikes in early 2020, Lecce’s solution to restarting school in September was contracting an American company for seven figures to come up with a completely incoherent and useless plan. Ontario’s schools have been a hotspot for outbreaks, but most outbreaks are likely unrecorded due to pathetic testing regimes. Using the pandemic as an excuse, Lecce overrode seniority rights for teacher hiring, opening the door to even more favouritism. Lecce justified the decision saying it was all about merit-based hiring. Ah yes, another Easy Street Elite selling the fantasy of “merit” to working people.
Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan
Moe’s 2020 started with his behind-the-scenes role in the ugly union-busting lockout of oil workers at Regina’s Co-op Refinery. When the Regina Police first refused to crack down on picketing oil workers, the employer ran to Moe’s government. Shortly after, Moe publicly called on the police to crackdown on the union and uphold “law and order.” Soon, the Regina Police were serving as FCL’s private army, arresting workers, and harassing them endlessly. Meanwhile, anti-union right-wingers were busy making bomb threats and declaring their intent to run down pickets. Then again, Moe has some experience with running over people, so maybe he thought nothing of it. As usual, another elite peddling a myth to working people. In this case, it’s “law and order”.
Brian Pallister, Premier of Manitoba
Steeped in Gary Filmon’s backwash, this full-time Costa Rica vacationer has spent the last five years shredding the province’s damaged and unequal safety net. After closing three hospitals ERs in 2019, Pallister rang in 2020 by imposing new cuts to intensive care. After Manitoba barely experienced the first wave, Pallister was quick to declare the province open for business. His cuts and lazy millionaire ways ensured the second wave would ravage Manitoba. For much of this second wave, the province has registered Canada’s highest per capita Covid-19 rates. During the escalating second wave, Pallister went missing for a critical 72 hour period following a code red declaration for Winnipeg by the Chief Public Health Officer. Eighteen people died before the coward could emerge from his mansion and address the province. Keeping up his record as a bigot, Pallister has since complained about plans to prioritize vaccinations of Covid-ravaged Indigenous communities.
Tyler Shandro, Alberta Minister of Health
In 2019, rookie MLA Tyler Shandro was put in charge of deep cuts and new avenues of healthcare privatization to balance out the billions in tax cuts to oil corporations. Tyler’s first major act during the pandemic was walking up to a doctor’s family home and shouting at the doctor for daring to point out Tyler (and his wife) were still operating a private health insurance company while in office. Through the first wave, Tyler did little to stop it from tearing through long-term care with awful consequences. Over the summer, Tyler oversaw the passage of Bill 30 which opened the doors to much wider an deeper healthcare privatization, and then in early October the announcement of 11,000 job cuts in the Alberta healthcare system. The announcement sparked a huge walkout by AUPE healthcare workers on October 26. Since then, Tyler has presided over the worst second wave of any province, cementing his reputation as a true believer in human misery for the sake of profit and elite rule.