Regular guy and budding Los Angeles socialite Rob Ford appeared at city hall on Wednesday afternoon to make his weekly complaint to the media. The difference this time: his complaint wasn’t about the media, rather it was about a major technology firm’s decision to invest $100 million in Toronto over the course of the next decade.
Why would Rob Ford—the self-professed relentless advocate for business—be quibbling with Cisco Systems’ announcement that it will be locating one of its four new global innovation hubs in Toronto’s South Core? Because nobody bothered to thank him, of course.
“I’m the one that made the environment for these businesses to come here. My administration’s done it,” the mayor told reporters. “We have 150 cranes in the sky. We have the lowest tax rate, that was all my hard work.” Ford was responding to news that deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who has been the functional head of Toronto’s municipal government since Ford was stripped of most of his powers in November, had been invited to Cisco’s announcement on Wednesday in the mayor’s stead.
Leaving aside the fact that nobody actually knows how many cranes there really are in Toronto’s skies, and that the building boom predates Ford’s election, and that Toronto’s tax rate isn’t actually “the lowest,” it seems odd that the mayor would take the credit for luring all new jobs to Toronto. No politician is capable of single-handedly steering the economy. They can sometimes be responsible for negotiating job-creation deals with individual companies, but, according to the Globe, Cisco didn’t deal with the mayor; it dealt with deputy mayor Kelly and councillor Michael Thompson, who chairs the city’s economic development committee.
In any case, the Cisco announcement seems like good news for the rest of the city. The new facility will be dedicated to “internet of everything” research, and will be located in Cisco’s new Canadian headquarters, in the yet-to-be-completed RBC WaterPark Place on the downtown waterfront. Songdo, South Korea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and an undisclosed city in Germany will be reportedly be getting similar facilities. Their mayors will presumably be invited to the press conferences.