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Philip Preville: Ford Nation is not who you think it is

Crackgate revealed that the city’s crippling political divide isn’t between downtowners and suburbanites—it’s between the rich and the poor, and it’s only getting worse

Philip Preville: Champion of the Working Class

What will it take for Ford Nation to abandon their man? That’s become one of the great riddles of our time. In late May, as lurid stories swirled of crack videos, hashish trafficking, murders, firings and resignations—all coming on the heels of Ford’s lawsuits, the alleged ass grab and a reported removal from a military ball for drunken behaviour—a Forum Research poll showed that 40 per cent of Toronto voters continue to be die-hard Ford supporters. Among those who voted for the mayor in 2010, 75 per cent still approved of his job performance. The anti-Ford camp tends to explain this stubborn refusal to accept mounting evidence as a symptom of the culture war between downtown and the suburbs. On one side are the elitist downtown progressives who favour transit, walkability, cycling, densification, lattes and street festivals; on the other side are the suburbanites, who prefer private space, low-density living, commuting by car, Tim Hortons and backyard barbecues.

This narrative doesn’t tell a true story about Toronto. There is a deep divide in the city, but it’s a class-based conflict between haves and have-nots—or, more precisely, between neighbourhoods with improving prospects and neighbourhoods on the decline. And Ford Nation hails largely from the latter.

We know from the 2010 municipal election results that Ford Nation essentially surrounds the old City of Toronto. These outlying areas are also home to the highest concentration of visible minorities in the city and have seen the biggest drops in individual incomes. Ford drew some of his strongest voter support from wards that are the poorest, the most ethnically diverse, or both. Up in the northern reaches of Scarborough-Agincourt’s Ward 39, for example, where Ford garnered 63.7 per cent of the vote, visible minorities make up more than half the population, and English is the mother tongue in less than a quarter of households. By contrast, in Trinity-Spadina’s Ward 19, where together George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone received almost 75 per cent of all votes cast, visible minorities make up only 30 per cent of the population.

Those kinds of numbers extend right across the city. Zack Taylor is an assistant professor of urban politics at U of T who has studied the 2010 election results in depth. According to him, visible minorities made up more than half the population in all the wards where Ford won overwhelming support, compared to just 27 per cent in what Taylor wryly calls “Smitherman Village.”

Wealth plays a role, too. The city’s most affluent areas—places where the average income is $104,000 per year, many of which are located in Old Toronto—generally voted against Ford. And while the mayor did carry some wealthy neighbourhoods, his margins of victory in those areas tended to be smaller.

Ford fared much better in inner-suburban neighbourhoods where average incomes have been on the decline. According to a 2010 study by U of T’s Cities Centre, average incomes in vast swaths of Etobicoke and nearly all of Scarborough dropped between 1970 and 2005 from $29,800 to as low as $22,500. In the city’s 13 so-called priority neighbourhoods—including Malvern, Scarborough Village, Jane-Finch, Weston-Mt. Dennis and Jamestown—incomes declined the most.

  • Lev

    Just like in the US, these idiots vote against their own best interests. Welcome to the city you deserve. Enjoy the continual, unebbing decline of your quality of life.

  • ThisGuyRightHere

    It’s too bad they couldn’t understand that a relief line benefits everyone who uses transit in the city, whereas a subway won’t offer any benefits over what the LRT was offering.

  • Guest

    There are two types of people who vote for far-right Cons: One – the rich, who have what they need and who want to keep their money away from the government. Selfish, but intelligent. Then you have the poor, uneducated people who have no clue what goes on in the world. They think that they can identify with a tough-talkin’, straight guy who tells it like it is. Except, they’re too stupid to realize that he’s actually just saying what he knows they want to hear, and that he only wants to take away the services that they need the most. The middle-class and rich don’t need support services, the poor do. And the poor already pay the least tax. But they’re so unfortunately stupid that they don’t realize that the right-winger they think they love and who will “save them money” is actually the one that cares the least about them. The cons love the rich and hate the poor. Just ask Mitt Romney.

  • Jay Moeller

    There are two types of people who vote for far-right Cons: One – the
    rich, who have what they need and who want to keep their money away from
    the government. Selfish, but intelligent. Then you have the poor,
    uneducated people who have no clue what goes on in the world. They
    think that they can identify with a tough-talkin’, straight guy who
    tells it like it is. Except, they’re too stupid to realize that he’s
    actually just saying what he knows they want to hear, and that he only
    wants to take away the services that they need the most. The
    middle-class and rich don’t need support services, the poor do. And the
    poor already pay the least tax. But they don’t read, and they don’t think, and they don’t realize that the right-winger they think they love and
    who will “save them money” is actually the one that cares the least
    about them, and just wants them to keep working the crap jobs to keep society going. The cons love the rich and hate the poor. Just ask Mitt

  • John Mahogony

    Just like with Transit City, we ask Etobicoke the same questions.
    - Care for an LRT?
    Etobicoke: NO! We want what Ford wants!!
    - So your fine if we build subways that in no way accommodate your wards?
    Etobicoke: Yea what he said!!

  • ryan

    If you have a Backyard to host BBQ’s and you prefer to drive then you are not poor.

  • Brent

    there are two types of people who vote for the far-left: the rich, who have so much money they don’t care about additional taxes; and the poor, who have no clue what goes on in the world as long as they keep getting their welfare cheques.

    see what i did there?

  • Jason Paris

    Indeed, it can be argued that the DRL does far more for Scarborough than the B-D expansion, even though it would never likely enter Scarborough.

  • lukev

    If I may play devils advocate: wouldn’t wealthy people who vote for higher taxes also be ‘against their own best interest’?

  • jamal

    But im poor and liberal and i work, never recieved a welfare cheque in my life. See what I did there?

  • NMull

    You have to think of taxes as payment for services in a way that is very similar to paying a business to offer you services. When you pay higher taxes you are effectively paying for better services you will benefit from in the future.

    If you vote to increase taxes now so the city can afford better transit, then you or your business could end up in much better financial shape in the future as money is made from more customers and clients with easier access to the city.


    Is it me or does this article basically blame minorities for the strength of Ford nation? When did Madame Marois start writing for Torontolife?

  • joshua

    Actually the poor do see a point. Those that are actually working trying to pay a mortgage are most penalized. They don’t have an opportunity to work for a well paying public sector position and fantastic benefits.
    The reality is that government could not afford to provide EVERYONE with those positions. That’s why the disenfranchised have a bitter dislike for ‘far left’ politics. When you take from one group and give it to another (occurs on both sides of the spectrum) you will create Ford nation or Occupy groups

  • joshua

    Yet, the left pretend to care for the poor with a few token ‘gifts’ like TCHC. but they blow it on Single detached homes instead of apartment sized units.. there’s only so much to go around.

  • joshua

    They can’t because it does not serve the people in Scarborough. yes it will be less congested, but they still have to take the bus whereas the ‘downtown’ elite will now have more subway lines.

  • Matt Patterson

    “If we’ve learned anything
    about Ford in recent months, it’s that he’s tight with members of those
    marginalized communities. That’s not the mayor standing with Anthony
    Smith in the infamous photo taken at 15 Windsor Road—it’s Robbie from
    the Block, a local boy who’s gone on to bigger things but has kept his
    roots, showing up to party in his hoodie.”

    There are a lot of questionable claims in this article and the above is one of the worst. With only neighbourhood-level data to go on, we have no good way to tell how the ethnic or class background of individuals affect the way they vote. What we do know is that Anthony Smith is in NO WAY representative of visible minorities/low-income groups as a whole in this city, so the anecdote about Ford taking a picture with him is irrelevant. Even if Ford has established a lot of support among minorities/immigrants within his own ward (keeping in mind the fact that you need full citizenship to actually count as a “Ford voter”), we have no way to tell for sure whether this support was replicated across the city as a whole.

    Just because Ford won more votes in neighbourhoods with lower average income doesn’t mean that it was actually low income people who voted for him. That’s ecological fallacy. It’s just as plausible that wealthier people who live in poorer neighbourhoods would vote for a “tough-on-crime, low-tax” candidate because they feel threatened and resentful toward poor people, and that low-income people just didn’t vote in high numbers to begin with. The fact is that we cannot say which of these explanations is correct without better data.

  • Carolyn in Canada

    always laugh when someone talks about ” elitist downtown progressives who favour transit, walkability, cycling, densification, LATTES ..”

    How about just wanting a well-paying job and making the effort to go to central Toronto for that?

    Matt Patterson says Ford is just going back to his hoodie… Yah Right.. He’s been a druggie for years a very very RICH druggie who was busted in Florida for smoking Pot years ago.

    He’s just a very Typical CON..balance budgets by slashing services .. and as Jay Moeller so aptly wrote ” the poor, uneducated people who have no clue what goes on in the world. They think that they can identify with a tough-talkin’, straight guy who tells it like it is. Except, they’re too stupid to realize that he’s actually just saying what he knows they want to hear” Don’t think Ford got that 400 pound body by being poor….

  • Maxyne Baker

    Further proof to my mind that Lastman’s amalgamation of Toronto was a huge mistake. This one size fits all government cannot serve the various areas of Toronto well. Which of course leads to unified dissatisfaction. I moved from a small Ontario town 35 years ago to rid myself of people like Ford…. Now, although surrounded by culture, the arts, diversity, I have to suffer through a leadership with the same lack of vision and creativity.

  • Maxyne Baker

    In theory, this is how taxation works. We suffer from a ridiculous system that wastes our tax dollars on bureaucracy, and in-fighting…. How much has the subway debate cost us?

  • Maxyne Baker

    I’m poor, and very educated. I simply chose to raise a child with a deadbeat dad.. You try getting rich when you have to pay 1,500 a month for a nanny for 15 years to enable you to be able to work the hours necessary for your freelance career. Brent needs to get out more.

  • skinny dipper

    Ford Nation and the neo-cons play the poker-chip game well. If one is rich and has 100 poker chips, it’s not a great loss if one loses three or four poker chips. If one is poor with only three poker chips, it is significant to lose one poker chip. Ford Nation and the neo-cons play into promising low taxes rather than promising to increase wealth for those who are poorer than the average person. Damn it, if I have only four poker chips, I definitely do not want to lose one poker chip. Meanwhile, the rich neo-cons will lower upper income taxes by three our four poker chips while sneaking through service charges that result in the poor losing that extra poker chip through service fees.

  • skinny dipper

    Translated to Ford Nation, Rob Ford offers lower taxes even though it’s the poor that get hurt because of a reduction in municipal services. The only way that they can be maintained is through increased service fees which the poor cannot afford.

  • Brian Young

    I take exception to the term “idiots”, if not to your point about people voting against their best interests. What Ford is brilliant at (just as the Republicans seem to be in the States) is controlling the public discussion by focusing on highly emotional themes and catch-phrases. This simply and clearly leads those whose lives are more difficult than those in Smitherville to feel cared for and, yes, championed. Ford’s very aggressive and willful misunderstanding of the subway vs. LRT issue, for example, enabled him, despite all the nonsense surrounding his personal life and political shenanigans, to make Ford Nation feel that he cared about giving them the best. It doesn’t matter that the city won’t likely get the funding to build that stub of a Scarborough extension for many years, if ever, or that TTC will continue to underserve those who need it most when an LRT would do the trick pretty painlessly. All of this is just, well, politics and, when you have low paying jobs or none at all, it’s meaningless. Rob Ford has shown he cares. The fact that a majority on Council (including a lefty like Mihevc, if not a righty like Minnan-Wong) has followed the voters to Ford’s side is proof positive that Ford rhetoric works. I live in a corner of Smitherville and i despise Ford for the way he has debased politics and public discourse in Toronto, but I have to say he’s pulled off an amazing, if temporary, resurrection of his fortunes. This goes to show that stopping Ford will be difficult even though its in the best interests of all Torontonians to vote for change.

  • Brian Young

    We have Mike Harris to thank for amalgamation. Lastman merely showed unimaginative leadership in creating a workable organization for the jumble of smaller municipalities that got thrown into bed together. Mind you, it was likely an impossible job. Thanks again for a huge screw-up, Mikey!

  • Alex Langer

    Especially when the lowest-income people tend to not vote at all. Mayoral elections are exceptionally low-turnout. I would love to see data on voting rates in these wards by income.

  • Alex Langer

    A better plan would have been to build an LRT in Scarborough; more stations, and the density of the place is nowhere near high enough to justify another white-elephant subway like we have on Sheppard. Also, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper, we could build it without raising new revenue.

  • joshua

    It was a provincial amalgamation (Mike Garris). But most of the big ticket items where already amalgamated (i.e. TTC and TPS) so that’s a bit of a scapegoat to blame budget troubles.

  • joshua

    I think you don’t really understand scarborough transit patterns. Most of scarborough don’t take transit for a few stops, most are commuters to downtown Toronto. As someone that grew up on college, moved to scarborough for 5 years, and now living in Riverdale, I can totally see why Scarborough would like to see more rapid transit. An LRT if implemented properly can be very efficient, If you add ‘more stops’, then it simply turns into a street car. The most comparable implementation is in Minneapolis. The LRT from the airport is quite efficient, but once it makes it to city center, it’s no better than a street car.

  • Alex Langer

    Interesting. I was comparing the proposed LRT versus the proposed subway line. While it might be nice for the people who live close to the three planned subway stations to have super-rapid transit, for those people who live outside of walking distance, they will be just taking the bus again. The seven-stop LRT proposed strikes what I think is a good balance between accessibility and speed. That said, I haven’t ever lived in Scarborough (midtown kid all my life) so I don’t know a ton about the on-the-ground specifics.

  • Matt Patterson

    Apparently you didn’t bother to read my post before writing about me. The line about Ford’s “hoodie” was a quote from the original article… which I was criticizing.

  • Matt Patterson

    I can’t find those specific data. However, I did find this data on Mayor Ford’s approval rating done by Forum Research in June 2013:

    A few interesting findings: Ford’s approval among people reporting non-European ethnicity is LOWER than among Torontonians in general. Which throws into question the claim that Ford is supposedly popular among visible minorities.

    Second, the data by income is not very conclusive. Ford has higher approval among the lowest income group and the highest income group, but the number of people in those categories are too small to draw any conclusions. He does have a lower approval among the $80-250k income group. However, this may be a function of the much stronger impact of education: people with a university degree are much less likely to support Ford.

    With regard to voter turnout, it’s worth noting that his approval is extremely low among those people who didn’t vote in the 2010 election.

    Anyway, none of these individual-level data lend very much conclusive support to the argument being made in the article.

  • Brandon Myles Wallingford

    There are two kinds of people who vote for Rob Ford: people who are rich who would prefer to stay that way and people who want to be rich but aren’t content to get that way stealing from their fellow citizens.

    The people who don’t vote for Ford = looters, thieves and the same crony ingrates that put this province in a $256 billion debt hole +$32.2 million per day added on top of that.

    If you vote for anyone other than Ford and all those hard right conservatives you are probably an unequivocal moron.

  • Alex Langer

    Interesting. There may be some of the “Southern Strategy” effect in play here. Ford gets major support not only from the poorest areas, but from declining areas; that might mean, and would make sense with his personality and rhetoric, that his staunchest supporters are white and “white ethnic” (Italian, Eastern European, etc.) people living in areas that are increasingly dominated by visible minorities. Poor visible minority people tend to vote at a much lower rate, so areas that are undergoing transition from working-class white neighbourhoods to multiethnic immigrant neighbourhoods would be strongly in Ford’s camp.

  • mono no aware

    Uhh…Agincourt is generally considered a highly upwardly-mobile area, and pretty much ground zero of the city’s (fairly prosperous) Chinese community. Its public schools are ranked some of the best in the city. And they voted Ford.

  • Shaw

    I agree that Ford has really controlled the narrative to his benefit (and ironically to the detriment of many who claim to be part of Ford Nation). Ford is a man who can vote against social support funding dedicated to low income communities AND get away with promoting a subway that won’t even reach the Scarborough communities demanding it.

    However, Preville has a point. How can the mayoral candidates in 2014 change the narrative so that it truly does address the low-income/high-income divide? It’s hard to buy into lofty visions of Toronto transit when you are struggling to pay a mortgage or working pay cheque to pay cheque. Yet we need a mayor who have articulate a vision that addresses the minute details of running a city, as well as the larger vision of what Toronto could and can be. Perhaps futures candidates can look to the New York mayoral race for an idea, because that mayor will also have an issue with the growing class divide.

  • Shaw

    Good point Matt. And keep in mind that immigrants who are non-citizens are ineligible to vote in Toronto; who knows how voting patterns would shift if non-citizens could vote in Toronto?

  • Brian Young

    The right have skewed the discourse to denigrate and demonize the so-called cushy jobs in the public sector and left-wing politics when really it’s private employers who should receive their hostility.
    As we have seen, there is now growing anger at the big-box employers like Wal-Mart for stiffing and patronizing their employees with minimum wages and crazy work schedules (and taking advantage of various social safety nets into the bargain). Does Ford stand up for the little guy when, say, McDonalds tells its employees they can survive on a McDonalds’ wage IF they get a second job?
    At the other end of the spectrum, we still see CEOs, even when they’re ousted from their jobs for poor performance (as may soon happen at Blackberry), getting kiss-off packages that could supplement the low wages of hundreds or thousands of regular workers for a decade.
    Do we see Ford calling out that gigantic GravyTrain?
    The envy game is easy to play. Conservatives use it for their own aggrandizement by endlessly repeating the anti-”pinko” mantra.

  • joshua

    The major difference between the Private Sector salaries vs public is that as an individual, I have a CHOICE to either contribute to their practices or not. If you don’t like ‘Starbucks’ salaries, then don’t buy coffee from them (how many of those have you had this year?) Bank CEOs? don’t bank there – Alterna Savings, and other credit unions have much more reputable practices. On the other hand, I’m forced to pay for luxuries of the public sector with no choice. I understand the need for social services etc, but as it currently stands, the salary/benefits are out of alignment with the rest of the workforce. There needs to be prudence on how the tax dollar is spent. Social services is supposed to be a SERVICE to the rest of the public, not to make cushy jobs for public sector workers.

    P.S. if salaries where more in line with the rest, I wouldn’t mind, but matter of fact, Salaries (including pension/sickdays/job security) is probably about 30%+ better than everyone else. That’s not being ‘left’, it’s simply being unequal. Hence the uprising

  • Brian Young

    The “race to the bottom” is a social engineering concept that’s built into capitalism. Turn as many jobs as possible into McJobs and let society deal with the fallout (welfare, medicare, housing, transit, etc., etc.) So in effect you and I are paying for all the holes in the system that cause unnecessary suffering and as our politicians are willing and able to make our taxes pay for.
    Don’t get me wrong: we need the capitalist spirit to keep society vibrant and healthy. But unions and other labour organizations are needed to provide a counterbalance to unrestrained profit-seeking (remember 2008?) gained partly through minimal pay and poor working conditions (my mind leaps to Bangladesh garment workers, but there are plenty of Canadian examples).

    What you call “cushy”, I’d call reasonably remunerated (I’ll get flak from many unionists on this, but that’s another question). Don’t know where you get the 30%+ calculation, but if corporations paid a fair wage (and their back taxes, I should add), we’d all enjoy lower taxes and better social services. There’s where the inequality comes in. We’re paying to support a system that is laughing all the way to the bank.

  • $31069528

    R. Ford is a disgrace to himself and surely to the city of Toronto

  • Muslimwoman

    Dear Mr. Ford — Step up by Stepping DOWN!! End of story.

  • Mary Ellen Davis

    I wonder how those minorities will feel when they hear the racist slurs on that video?

  • Lee Zaslofsky

    Great article! Preville has put his finger on the real issue in Toronto, which tends to be obscured in public discussion by what used to be called boosterism, but which nowadays takes the form of paeans to diversity and “sophisitication” in our world class city.

    Unfortunately, that boosterism does nothing whatever for the working people in the city, who are squeezed between stagnant wages and heavy debts to the point where the only way they can see to reduce the pressure is to get somebody to lower taxes.

    The Left has not offered a progressive agenda to go up against Ford’s “austerity will save you money” nonsense. Instead, the focus has been on the seemingly limitless personal defects of Rob Ford.

    It looks like Ford will be run out of office, which will be good for the city and for him. But his agenda will simply be picked up by one or more of the “respectable” candidates and pushed ahead as Ford would like to have done. Though in a more “sophisticated” manner more palatable to our “creative class”.

    The problems of inequality, of poverty, of discrimination, of crushing debt and frozen wages will not be raised by Ford’s successors as Tax Cutters.

    We’ve seen how useless the Ford Agenda is in dealing with those problems. We’ve seen also how alienated working people are from the current “conversation” in our city, which ignores their lives. But we’ll have many more years of it unless progressives put forward proposals that are feasible, and that address directly and soon the issues facing working people.

  • Octavian Ian

    Great article!

  • Twiddledidlydum

    Why is it that everyone hates on Ford so much, but forgets about the councilors that voted with him to ax the LRT. He didn’t make that stuff happen on his magical own self, he was backed by other elected officials. If you hate Ford so much, you may want to look into everyone that voted with him, and send them their due share.

    I don’t support him, and I don’t like how the city is heading, but I also live in Etobicoke North, and on my past commutes to sustainable urban planning classes at YorkU, I would bump-up against a lot of people that were fed-up with being ill-served and of always having to transfer 4-6x times one way to get to work. No amount of sustainable urban planning got them to work faster, since all the plans were about 15-20 years in the future. ..and 15 years is a long time to wait when you are living paycheck to paycheck.

    Then along came Ford, who told them, I will fix this quick and get rid of the car licence tax, and you won’t have to fork over more money for downtown subway taxes…and since he was the only one that had “fixed” or at least acknowledged their other problems in Etobicoke, they trusted him, AND he did get rid of the licence plate tax for TO’ers.

    Now a lot of people are calling the Ford voters stupid .. which makes it even worse, because the have-nots who voted for Ford are painted with a broad stroke of “stupidity”. What about all the other councilors that voted with Ford? His budgets don’t get passed unless a bunch of other ppl agree with him, and not all those people were voted in by the Ford-vote.

    The high and might who call everyone stupid because they voted for Ford, are totally in the dark when it comes to the realities of low income families/people. When you are working 40-70 hours a week and commuting for 20-30 per week, and you don’t have a spiffy iPad with a data plan to follow all the progressive media, the information you get is painted by your view of the world, which includes a crap-load of commuting, and not a lot of time to follow sustainable urban planning values. The worst offenders are the media and news outlets like the SUN/talk radio that are suppose to have educated people spill the beans … a lot of those people are the only news sources ppl have access to for a few minutes per day (+ reading level too) and they were HUGE supporters of Ford.

  • worried_58

    How about an I.Q. test to be allowed to vote? Must be in the 40th percentile and pass a basic literacy test in Eng. or French. I think Socrates may have been on the right track.

  • Marilou Hall

    Ford is a simple man. Yes, I know, he’s probably deeply conflicted and possible a danger to himself, but as a public personna, uncomplicated in a way similar to George W., a binary thinker, yes/no, up/down, on/off. And of course, Ford has always projected the idea he would be the kind of guy you could have a drink with. Enough said. His appeal in Toronto is wider than you might want to believe. He appeals to the silent tea party types who believe the city they used to call their own has been over taxed and under represented by real Torontonians. These people live in lots of communities like old Willowdale and Leaside and East York, as well as the more disenfranchised areas of outer Etobicoke. They are the sons and daughters of people who used to have a say in how Toronto the Good was run, and now feel as though the uber wealthy have taken as much of a chunk out of their world as the newcomers. Being Canadian, these people don’t dress up and make public displays of their discontent like their southern cousins, but they do vote. As a coalition, these people occupy enough of a wedge of total turnout to overpower the splintered majority. And as long as the un-Ford candidates look as unlikely to understand their concerns as the George Smithermans did, the Ford knockoffs will continue to win. There needs to be one candidate to represent the majority, be it Olivia Chow, John Tory , or perhaps Bob Rae.

  • Kam Yeek Wu

    This what Ford Nation has accepted. If Ford was a doctor, they trust him in giving them misdiagnosis (misguiding) that tell them they are healthy (saving them money) and what they want to hear (Raise the middle class) because other doctors (politicians) can’t treat them (act directly act in their interest) . When he is sued for malpractice, he fights it and tells others he is being targeted for trying to help them. He obviously doesn’t understand his job. However, his patients will stand by him because they think any other person will not give them hope, so they stand behind him.
    This is Ford Nation, the nation that has been undermined by the political system of Canada. While I cannot guarantee a better mayor, I would at least prefer a mayor who has credibility and understands what his job is or at least legal practices. In this case, education does play a part in him being a mayor. He is not educated enough to know political polices which makes him unfit to be a Toronto Mayor.

  • Javier Salas

    Typical liberal media with their narrative mongering rife with irony, contradiction, oversimplification. In the US, Conservatives = Rich dumb white people so in Canada Conservatives = Poor dumb coloured people?

    I’m not part of “Ford Nation” just an outside observer who is sick of media manipulation and rhetoric. “Ford Nation” has become shorthand for uneducated, poor, misguided in the way that “Teabaggers” has been used pejoratively to paint a certain segment of people as fanatical, racist, rich, uneducated or perhaps it just seems that way because a condescending nickname usually comes along with all the liberal rhetoric.
    You say Ford supporters distrust the agenda driven media? Maybe they’re smarter than you give them credit for. lol

  • Javier Salas

    You heard it here first folks, if you voted for Ford you’re either a poor, uneducated, minority, or the complete opposite. Brilliant insight!

  • Jim B

    It’s funny how many comments below are about income inequality, McJobs and such. The mayor of Toronto’s job is not to fix every social justice issue and income inequality. The mayor’s job is to make sure the city is running smoothly. Garbage is picked up, roads are fixed, transit is running. Social programs are not and should not be under the jurisdiction of the city. Most of the complaints against Ford should be pointed at the province or the feds.

  • Jim B

    Alex, you are correct from what I have seen. My mom and grandmother are in the same ward in Scarborough and they and all of their friends are very strong supporters of Ford.

    But on the other hand I know a few Muslims and Christian Tamils in my area who strongly supported Ford because of the protest vote against the homosexual Smitherman. But I doubt Ford’s crude behaviour has endeared him to those communities for a second time.

  • Alexander B. MacLean

    Finally something readable and intelligible on this topic. The Walrus should take note here, before it goes down in politically correct academic-wank flames.

  • emwatcher

    The Ford/Hudak/Wynne/Harper willingness to throw out years of consultation and planning that resulted in the LRT and other planned and agreed transit for Scarborough have cost $85 million in LRT costs under way, and will cost an extra five years and $1 Billion or more to build subway, subway, subway!

  • emwatcher

    So is it your CHOICE, Joshua, to pay an extra $1 billion or more and wait an extra five years for rapid transit in Scarborough?

  • emwatcher

    Those Muslims and Tamils exemplify what was referred to above as poor Americans who vote Republican. Ford’s good friend and political ally Harper, of course, favours a global jihad against Islam — and what did he do while the Sri Lankan government was butchering Tamils in ‘safe zones’? Nothing, of course.

    But Smitherman was gay, and the federal parties to the left of Harper’s far-right camp favour gay rights. So by all means vote for Ford/Hudak/Harper.

  • emwatcher

    Brian is correct. Amalgamation was foisted on Toronto by hard-right Conservatives who hated the city; an important objective was to force the progressive inner core to slash social service budgets and attack unions; Lastman was the first implementer and Ford is trying to finish the job. I sympathize with Maxyne also: the small-town small minds you fled took over the province in 1995 and Toronto (again) in 2010, and they’re going after the province again.

  • emwatcher

    Even if we don’t care about spending an extra $1 billion or more to ride the Ford gravy subway extension, or about the $85 in work on the LRT that the council (not just Ford, as you rightly point out) voted to throw out, surely those hard-pressed transit commuters should prefer not to wait the extra five years the subway will take to build.

  • TwoFingeredTypist

    An interesting analysis of Ford Nation.

  • bullydefender

    A criminal tries to sell a video, and the media is all over it because
    it allegedly depicts the Mayor of Toronto smoking crack. Thousands of
    dollars are raised, then the guy gets murdered. After a pause, the chief
    of Police initiates Operation McCheese or whatever they called it, and
    says that not only does the video exist, it depicts exactly what the
    press claim it did. He can’t say anymore, because the investigation is
    ongoing. Can’t say more? What did he omit? Oh yes, that it “saddened”
    him as a citizen. Nice work Blair! Way to keep it confidential Protect
    those constitutional rights! Then we saw unprecedented exposure of
    Police investigative information and pics, granted by a judge, no less,
    which contained little more than suspicions, innuendo, and hearsay from
    ex-employees of the Mayor, who gave 3rd, 4th, and 5th hand statements
    which were accepted across the media board as gospel truth! Allegations
    without a shred of proof! And was it supposed to be a secret that the
    cops were looking at Mayor Ford? Because then the helicopters over his
    house were a bit of a give-a-way! He was well aware of it! How does our
    Police force ever hope to fight crime when they are bumbling and
    fumbling around in that manner? Ford then respectively admits to having
    smoked, and bought, crack cocaine, and being in a drunken stupor. The
    fact that he did not immediately rush to put his head in the proverbial
    noose, means he is a crack addict, a liar, and therefore should step
    down as Mayor. And if not, then council will seek approval from the
    Premier Kathleen Wynne to fire him, or remove his Mayoral powers. Only
    an uneducated, unintelligent cretin would not see a conspiracy in all of
    this. This steps all over any semblance of democracy! Rob Ford saved
    out city from the iron grip of the trade unions, that saw our parks
    turned into garbage dumps when the trash collectors went on strike, and
    millions of citizens walk to work or waste money on taxis when the TTC
    did the same. And while the Toronto Community Housing Corporation
    residents lived in dilapidated tenements, the TCHC brass held lavish
    Christmas parties at $75,000 a pop, and gave staff massages, cruises, et
    al, all on the tax payers dime! Ford corrected the problems and fired
    the guilty parties. He has fought for a badly needed subway extension,
    and countless other implementations to serve the tax payers. He rooted
    out the gravy train, and fought to eradicate it. He apparently ticked
    off a lot of powerful people when he did those things, and it now seems
    certain that powerful forces are conspiring to get rid of him, and are
    using his personal problems as the excuse to accomplish it! If we as
    citizens allow them to defeat democracy and get rid of Ford, then we
    will have lost something we’ll never get back again! If we allow
    allegations to frame a man without even giving him a chance to defend
    himself, then we surely will, as the old saying goes, get the government
    that we deserve. And the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer!

  • Brian Young

    This is an excellent run-down of the story from the Mayor’s and Ford Nation’s point of view. As usual there’s always more than one way to look at reality. Yours and mine actually have some points in common, believe it or not, but I still stick to the view that Ford is toxic for all Torontonians, including Ford Nation, by the very fact that he chooses to divide us rather than trying to unite us.

  • Brian Young

    Debate is the lifeblood of democracy, just as is due process in law. Both cost time and money. The sad thing about the subway vs LRT debate is that Ford restarted the fires of dissent and me-too-ism at a time when Toronto had a perfectly good transit solution for Scarborough that had been years in the making and had been debated countless times.

    Now the additional costs for this three-stop line are going to require raising taxes and TTC fares unnecessarily for years to come, neither of which were part of his platform, both of which will limit expansion of Toronto’s deep need for good affordable transit now.

    Had he chosen to go along with the original plan, it’s quite possible he’d stand as a far more appealing Mayor today and might not even have found himself in the same amount of hot water that he’s currently stewing in. Hoist by his own petard, I’d say.

  • christinaarcher

    Ford Nation has blinders on- their Boy Robbie is ALWAYS right! Don’t let facts get in your way, ladies and gentlemen.