Rob Ford Takes Toronto – Richard Komorowski looks at the possible Implications and Future for the new Mayor – October 30, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON –In contrast to most of the province, especially Ottawa, Toronto voters  opted for the extreme right for the next four years.
.
Rob Ford, the renegade councillor from Etobicoke, handily beat runner-up and former provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman.
.
Ford took 383,501 votes (47.1%) compared to Smitherman’s 289,832 votes (35.6%). Third place went to Joe Pantalone with 95,482 votes, (11.7%) – the other 37 candidates were scarcely footnotes.

Implications of the Election

The consequences of Monday’s Toronto mayoral election affect not only Toronto, but also Ottawa. Ford’s roots dig deep into the Reform Party’s heritage.
.
Rob Ford’s father, Doug Ford Sr., was one of the early quasi-Reform members in the Ontario legislature, representing the riding of Etobicoke–Humber from 1995 to 1999, during the first Harris government.

In 1999, he lost the seat, despite a vigorous campaign on his behalf by then provincial cabinet minister Jim Flaherty, because of redistribution. Since then, Flaherty has remained a political mentor to the Ford family.

Looking at Rob Ford’s election campaign, and his actions during his terms as Councillor for Etiobicoke North, one can see clearly the Flaherty influence.

His stance on homelessness, for example, has always reflected Flaherty’s, who, in 2002, suggested making homelessness illegal.

That same year, when the city was considering opening some homeless shelters away from the downtown core, Now Toronto reported him saying: “This is an insult to my constituents [Ward 2, Etobicoke North] to even think about having a homeless shelter in their ward.”

The Toronto YWCA recently issued an anti-Ford statement, clarifying some of Ford’s homelessness proposals, and claiming that he had seriously misled the issue of the Bergamot shelter in Etobicoke. The plan was for a 68-unit apartment building that would provide affordable housing for women as well as a childcare centre.

The article goes on to say:

“Mr. Ford opposed its construction and refused to meet with the group to discuss the plans. [Ford] also intentionally mischaracterized the building as a homeless shelter to constituents in his riding.

We understand that people have legitimate concerns about what’s being built in their communities, but a good civic leader brings people together and fosters debate and comes up with a strategy that works.”

In the same article, Ford spokesman Fraser MacDonald is quoted as saying:   “[Ford] does not support the construction of new public housing.”

He instead believes that we should use this money to subsidize rent for lower-income people to get them into mixed housing and some of the tens of thousands of vacant rental units in the city. This is a win-win for landlords and people who would otherwise be in public housing.

.

Views on poverty and social housing are not the only planks the Rob Ford campaign has borrowed from the Harper Conservatives.

Road traffic in Toronto will see major changes, if Ford can decide which of his promises to keep.

For seven years, City Hall has tackled Gridlock by declaring war on cars in Toronto. Toronto has eliminated lanes from busy roadways, increased parking charges, ignored roadway repairs and generally made life miserable for drivers.
Toronto’s approach to penalizing drivers has not gotten people out of their cars – it’s just gotten them and their cars out of the city. It’s time to prevent a war between drivers and cyclists. And, it’s time to stop the looming Transit City disaster.

.

The current $60/year municipal car tax will be gone, but the subway expansion will go ahead. According to his election website, Ford promised to cut back severely on the current streetcar network, but more recently, according to the National Post, Ford is now reconsidering this promise.

Big Oil and the Harper government need exactly this sort of policy and denial of reality to stay in business for the next few years, until oil becomes too costly to extract. This is why the federal government is persisting in its Tar Sands development, and its licensing of pipelines across the Rockies, despite the known environment hazards.

In the same vein, Ford has constantly been at war with cyclists, so a big question will be what happens now. Immediately prior to his election, he was proposing:

“… a network of bicycle trails across the city. This will include 100 km of off-road bicycle paths along rail and hydro corridors, ravines and valleys. This system of dedicated 2-metre wide, paved trails illuminated with street lamps will provide a safe, convenient “backbone” for bicycle transportation across Toronto”

Also included in this project are paths for pedestrians.

.

Ford’s loud homophobia is also very much in line with unspoken federal government thinking.  Various Reform MPs are on record for their unashamed stance on the subject.

Art Hanger declared:

“Homosexuality, to anyone who has not been brainwashed by the last decade of effective propagandizing by the gay lobby, is unnatural. It is a repudiation of nature.”

Reform MP Randy White accused gays and lesbians of making up stories about homophobic violence.

Predictably, Ford has spoken and voted against AIDS prevention programs.

It is very preventable. If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line.”

Next Stop – Ottawa or Queen’s Park?

There can be little doubt that the Reform/Conservative Party contributed much to Ford’s victory. His style and many of his actions fit hand in glove with much of the Reform Party philosophy. Had he been born an Albertan, rather than a Torontonian, one can argue that he would have run for a federal seat in Ottawa.

Now, as mayor-elect of Toronto, he has achieved one of the top political positions in Canada, as well as Jim Flaherty’s personal endorsement. Where does he go from here?

Ottawa mayor-elect Jim Watson was a minister in the Ontario government – prior to that, he was Mayor of Ottawa. Former provincial cabinet minister George Smitherman was Ford’s only major opponent in the race to be Mayor of Toronto.

For the next four years, it’s likely that Ford will be content with Toronto. Will he decide to stay in Toronto, or will he set his sights higher up the political ladder, and seek either provincial or federal office?

If Ford can rein in his mouth, not speak without permission from Harper or his successor, (or perhaps Harris/Hudak), and learn to be a “team player”, he might have a brilliant future in Ottawa or Queen’s Park. However, these habits are probably too ingrained to change.

.

If he can get himself re-elected as mayor four years from now, he will be doing well for himself. Certainly, no neo-conservative premier or prime minister, who depends on absolute control of information flow to maintain political power, could survive having such an uncontrollable maverick in any position of authority.

Choose Cornwall

2 Responses to "Rob Ford Takes Toronto – Richard Komorowski looks at the possible Implications and Future for the new Mayor – October 30, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario"

  1. Missy   November 24, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    The only thing I can say to your post is that it is “Fear Mongering” against Rob Ford “The Man”, not the party.

    As most Europeans that came to this great country & contributed above & beyond to its development, we, the offspring of these great hard working people were and are devout Liberal voters.
    Conservatives do nothing but cut, cut & cut the heart & soul out of all their citizens & that is a fact we have all lived thru. But, in the case of Rob Ford “The Man” & not the party, I must say, that the die-hard Liberal voters have had enough of the Liberal Party boys club that spends, spends, spends on outrageous, nonsensical, expensive blunders rather than on building much needed subways these past 50 yrs., and the voter turn out has proven it!

    The Bloor St. subway line was a Blessing to us all and never ever got the bad press that the streetcars & bump-outs, bikes lanes have gotten. THERE IS A WAR ON CARS, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT!

    It’s time to call it what it is. Ban Cars from city streets with double length streetcars with concrete
    bump-outs that will prevent cars from:

    1) no longer making a right turn when the streetcar doors are closed
    2) preventing passing a streetcar
    3) slowing down a streetcar when making a right turn from the track lane
    4) not to mention the slow down caused by the left turn
    5) create more grid-lock bcos now cars will be forced to stay behind the double length streetcars
    6) loss of valuable street parking to accommodate the bump-outs & double length streetcars
    7) forcing cars to get stuck behind this nonsensical double length street cars, forcing the cars to
    stop at every TTC stop with them…..no way to pass them.
    8) removing car lanes to accommodate seasonal bike lanes. WTF are bikers going to do in January?
    9) forcing small business OUT OF BUSINESS by encouraging people with cars to shop at the big box stores that are car friendly. Nice, real nice!
    10) $60.00 Car Tax!!!!

    I am sure more can be added to this list, but these are the points that come to mind at the moment.

    If this is not a WAR ON CARS then I don’t know what is.

    Rob Ford “The Man” not the party……thinks outside of the box & has a panoramic view of the entire picture rather than a select group picture view that has been adopted by the newly elected group of tunnel vision politicians that got the vote bcos of their promise to rid Toronto of cars & cater to the minority.

    SUBWAYS ARE ALL SEASON……..BIKES ARE NOT! STREETCARS ARE & ALWAYS WILL BE GRID-LOCK CREATORS……..PERIOD!

    It’s time people stopped their selfish desires and looked at the bigger picture. Stop lying to yourselves that bike lanes and banning cars is the solution when millions of people use their cars to earn a living.

    I guess bikers expect all of us to just quite our jobs, go on welfare and join the homeless so that the bikers
    can rule the roads!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.