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Actually Mayor, The Campaign Does Not Start Now

March 23, 2012

My head just exploded after reading this article on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s defeat of his pet subway plan. After being defeated fairly 24 – 19 in Council the mayor had this response:

Mr. Ford came out fighting in the face of defeat. “Obviously the campaign starts now and I’m willing to take anyone on, streetcars against subways in the next election. I can’t wait for that,” he told reporters.

 Um, no Mr. Ford, the capaign does not start now because you still have TWO YEARS LEFT AS MAYOR! Are you not planning to try to run the city in that time? Are you just going to spend all your time trying to stop the project that the majority of council wants because it wasn’t your idea? That seems pretty petty. It’s not even like they are proposing something completely different. They are proposing a cheaper, faster alternative to get more people moving in the city. One which has already been approved by the provincial government. You want the slower to build, partially unfunded, more expensive version and now that you didn’t get your way you say you are going to spend all the remaining time trying to foilt he cheaper solution. And you came in trying to cut government spending? Right…
I do not…understand. I know Mayor Ford still has a lot of support in the city but seriously, can we get rid of this clown? He’s not taking the job seriously at all. He wasn’t elected King, he was elected Mayor of a city where the Council rules. Oh and about his “huge majority support” thing.
In this article a former mayor of Ottawa says (and the writer does not correct him)
“The mayor was elected by a very strong majority, so he’s very relevant. But council is very relevant,” said Bob Chiarelli, a former mayor of Ottawa. “We all have to understand it’s council that rules. The mayor has one vote. Council speaks for the city of Toronto.”
Actually that’s not true either, Ford clearly won but it wasn’t a majority and it was actually quite close. He got 47% of the vote, more than half the city didn’t want him. If there were only two candidates instead of 3+ the vote would have been a hair’s breath apart and it’s not clear who would have won.
So he’s relevant, because he’s the mayor. But he doesn’t have a stronger mandate than the council and he can’t overrule the council or fire them, unlike public servants who we seems to love firing when they dare to disagree with him. Mayor Ford, start taking this job seriously or just stand back and let the council do it’s job.
One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2012 1:04 am

    Most cities in Britain let their council elect their Mayor. The “parliamentary mayor,” some people call it. No deadlocks. No situations like Toronto has. Council could just vote no-confidence in Ford and replace him. Sounds good to me.

    Although it would be even better if the council was fully representative; its a little white anglo male for some tastes. Problem is, with a single-tier megacity the wards are already so large that four-seater STV wards would be the size of two federal or provincial ridings. Berlin is not much larger than Toronto but has 12 Boroughs with their own councils. Glasgow has proportional STV wards, but with only 592,000 people, and 79 councillors, a four-seater ward has 30,000 people. Hard to see how to do this in Toronto.

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