Sunday, December 9, 2012

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Engages in Egregious Acts – Gets Tossed Out of Office – Blames Everyone Else

Of Course He’s a Conservative – Why Do You Even Ask?

Canada is a wonderfully civilized country, and its center-right government has been relatively effective.  Good regulation prevented Canada from suffering from the housing industry problems that plagued its neighbor to the south, and in general the country is well mannered, considerate and friendly.

But the mayor of Toronto has been thrown out of office.  Here are some of the things he has done and said.

And Edsel, Not a Real Ford

The mayor was caught talking on his mobile phone while driving (against the law in Ontario), reading while driving on the expressway (also illegal), using city staff and money to run a high-school football team that he skipped out of council meetings to coach, and ordering city staff to mend the road in front of his family’s business. He shrugged off most of these accusations, although he denied giving the finger to a woman and her six-year-old daughter who had gestured to him to stop using his mobile phone while driving.

And it is not like this wonderful city is without its problems.

Stand on the platform at St Andrew subway station in the city centre and Toronto’s problems are evident. The walls are grimy, and sections of vinyl panelling are missing. Renovations begun in 2009 are unfinished. Chronic underfunding of an overburdened public-transport network, and the council’s lengthy wrangling over a new plan have created a shabby and truncated subway that is unfit for the world-class metropolis Toronto claims to be. Although several new light-rail lines funded by Ontario’s provincial government are being built, the lack of public transport means that more than 70% of residents in the greater Toronto area with jobs drive to work. They face longer journey times than commuters in car-obsessed Los Angeles.

A second problem is that, whereas Chicago and other American cities have turned their waterfronts into attractive, accessible public areas, Toronto’s is hidden by a wall of apartment towers and separated from the city by an elevated expressway. Last year Mr Ford withdrew the city’s support for a redevelopment plan endorsed by the previous council as well as the provincial and federal governments, which both own parcels of lakefront land. He wanted to replace a proposed park with a mega-mall and a giant Ferris wheel. After much debate and delay, the city has reverted to the original plan.

And here is the offense that caused a judge to kick him out of office.

The offence that caused Mr Ford’s ejection followed a familiar pattern. While still a city councillor, Mr Ford used his official status to raise C$3,150 ($3,170) for his private charity, a football foundation. He refused to repay the money, ignoring a request by the city’s integrity commissioner that was endorsed by the council. As mayor, he took part in a debate and a vote last February overturning the integrity commissioner’s findings. That was a breach of the law and the mandatory penalty was loss of office.

And just what one would expect from a Conservative?  Well here is Mr. Ford’s response to his ouster.

Mr Ford blamed it on his opponents: “the left-wing wants me out of here and they’ll do anything in their power” to achieve that. 

And the conclusion of The Economist, a sympathetic to the right wing publication.

In fact, Mr Ford was largely the architect of his own downfall. Although there are no political parties at municipal level, his bombastic, polarising manner has prompted remorseless opposition.

But being a Conservative means never having to say you were wrong. 

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