Would Rob Ford be as big a catastrophe as Miller?



He’s the political Luddite of city hall, and like the dead canary in a coal mine, Rob Ford signals the presence of lethal gasses that have all but killed the progressive brand in Toronto. For that you can thank David Miller, who’s matched only by Barack Obama as the greatest elected disappointment of the new century.

“Progressives” at city hall have choked themselves by farting the noxious gases of privilege and corruption that Ford is using to fuel his drive to the mayor’s chair. That’s in addition to taking the label to its doctrinaire ridiculous extremes. George Smitherman would logically be the one to carry a sensible agenda to city hall; he has major government managerial experience. Even though he worked for a neocon premier in Dalton McGuinty (friend of huge corporations), Smitherman is a progressive.

But this council under Miller has ignored its public and serves instead its staff and, of course, its own illustrious members. Many of these arrogant councillors think you’re just here to ratify their meal tickets every four years. And most will indeed be back at the trough in November.

It’s city staff whom they love and they consider themselves the employers of staff. You merely pay the bills. Like so many kind-hearted privileged elites who have billions they don’t earn to spend on their causes, some decide to lavish benefits on their helpers.

They’re especially eager to ensure favoured staff are enabled to upgrade themselves on your dollar so they can get better jobs, even if it’s of no benefit to the city. It might involve easing a workload so a worthy can acquire an advanced university degree. Maybe even a grant.

Or perhaps applauding rather than demanding the revocation of the “leave-of-absence” privilege. That lets a staffer try out another job with another government and have the right to return with no loss of pay or seniority. And the city department that was temporarily abandoned for a lengthy period of time just has to do without someone in the vacated position.

In return for such loving consideration, staff help out in various subtle ways to ensure a councillor’s reelection. Like providing expert, unpaid off-duty assistance from one of the city departments to the home country of a sizeable ethnic group in a councillor’s ward.

Most “progressive” councillors ganged up against the public to spend your money to enable them to sue you, even if that’s ruled illegal. Then these experts at posing to cut ribbons and slice cakes at grand openings gang up to spend your money to appeal the ruling.

They gallivant around the world on your buck. How do citizens of Toronto benefit from having our money spent to see one of the architects of our city’s decline sally forth to posture grandly in some foreign land?

What is the benefit to our city? Is it to trick the rest of the world into thinking what a cool place we are with politicians who think such progressive thoughts and have such good wishes and high hopes for everyone? They certainly don’t have any solutions. And they surely haven’t found any in their travels. Things are worse under their reign.

Your city falls down and your taxes and costs go up. The progressive social engineers ensure our roads are potholed and bumpy, traffic lights aren’t coordinated so gridlock is exacerbated: this is to make drivers hate their cars and take the transit. The TTC, operated badly for years, stumbles along and is the single most-listed trouble that needs to be fixed according to a recent Ipsos Reid poll. And that gripe is followed closely by high taxes, lack of jobs and city spending. Ford’s focus on adding more cops didn’t even show up as a priority in voters’ minds.

So the masses seem to be thinking that if what we’re seeing in this city is progress, maybe we should regress. Let’s fall back to a simpler, saner past. Since the Miller had successfully lobbied McGuinty for more mayoral powers from Queen’ Park, we need a football-coach kind of guy who’ll snap those losers we’re stuck with—those nearly impossible-to-replace councillors—into a winning team.

Forget platforms. It’s all about drama now. It has the hopeful elements of a 1940s epic football movie where the underdogs come together with great will and spunk and capture the title and go to heaven. It’s like Rocky. (The movie, not the mental capacity.) Or maybe the finale of one of those Bollywood epics where the suffering losers finish victorious in a colourful cloudscape with dancing and finger snapping and singing and happiness all around. A world of burfi, jalebi and gulab jamin.

Like that TV commercial for a racetrack, the masses are thinking, we too can be “in the winners circle” if our horse crosses the line first: “You’ve got to bet it to get it,” goes the tag line.

They’re betting Rob Ford will bring us to glory. It has all the makings of an epic. He’s a highly flawed guy. A loser in so many ways, but seemingly with a huge good heart.


His issue is the one created by the villain he might admire: Mike Harris. Along with the other Asses of Evil, Tim Hudak, his wife Deb Hutton and Jim Flaherty were prominent parts of the Tory swineherd that conspired to forcibly jumble Toronto with the suburbs Ford represents in city hall and call the ungovernable mess a Megacity.

Since Toronto voters don’t usually elect Tories, Tories don’t support Toronto and the vicious creeps dragged it down to its current dysfunctional state. McGuinty continued the Harris molestation by retaining most of the downloaded provincial responsibilities the latter dumped on us.

So now in this election it’s the ‘burbs against the city. Just what the Harris crew wanted in order for Tories to dominate and the city to suffer.

But if he’s a genuine conservative, Ford as mayor wouldn’t sell us out to big business by privatizing our common assets. He’d get a grip on city staff, on spending priorities to first do all the “pot-hole fixing” jobs that we expect from a city government. That alone would salve the discontent felt both Downtown and in the suburbs. And he’d focus on affordable things to make life more livable for those in dire straits.

Smitherman as mayor would do likewise. What either should promise is to reverse that costly, unworkable amalgamation that drains us of treasure, representation and peace of mind. A reversion of some sort to the borough system of yore would be a sensible improvement, even if it’s just in practise rather than structure.

The election season is just now getting underway. May the winner become the best man.