Dalton McGuinty

The Informer

Politics

5 Comments

QUOTED: Doug Ford on why he may quit city politics by July

If [the premier] calls the election in July, I’m gone.

—Councillor and would-be MPP Doug Ford, on why he may make his leap to provincial politics as soon as this summer, rather than waiting, as he has previously mused, until his term ends in 2014. Ford was fired up after Dalton McGuinty warned that the current provincial budget debates are faltering, which could mean a snap election this summer. If that were the case, Ford says, he would run as a Progressive Conservative and leave the city politics up to his brother: “Municipally, we have that covered with Rob. I’m going to cover the provincial side, and stay tuned on the federal side,” he said. (Apparently that last bit was a joke, though Ford did add, “But we have got a big family.”) [National Post]

The Informer

Politics

1 Comment

Rob Ford invites Dalton McGuinty to hang out—at a community housing building

Two leaders, two leadership styles

When the province decided to delay the city’s decision to sell 65 Toronto Community Housing homes, Rob Ford first took a formal approach, writing a displeased letter to Dalton McGuinty. The mayor’s latest move, however, is pure Fordian populism: he asked the premier to come with him on one of his regular visits to social housing buildings to knock on doors, talk to locals and see the problems firsthand (magnets and business cards will almost certainly be distributed). Ford seems to think if McGuinty sees the level of disrepair, he’ll green-light the sales, which are supposed to net an estimated $24 million to put towards repairs. While many politicians trot out the loosened tie, hey-I’m-wearing-jeans schtick for the campaign trail, Ford’s regular guy image is, like it or not, a huge part of his approach to governing. We’re curious to see if McGuinty will accept the invitation, given their differences in leadership style (for instance, it’s hard to picture McGuinty getting worked up over a giant pile of sand in someone’s backyard). [Globe and Mail]

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

1 Comment

Rob Ford sends a polite but angry letter to Dalton McGuinty

The provincial Liberals annoyed Rob Ford earlier this spring by refusing to override council on the LRT-versus-subway question. Now they’ve raised his ire again for getting involved, after stepping in to delay council’s plan to sell 65 single-family homes to raise much-needed cash to repair Toronto Community Housing properties. Ford and Ana Bailão managed to hammer out a compromise this winter, agreeing to start with 56 vacant TCHC homes rather than the hundreds that Ford originally hoped to sell. However, Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Kathleen Wynne is refusing to grant the necessary approvals to sell even those 56 until a report on the fate of the other 619 TCHC homes goes to council in October. In response, the mayor fired off a sharp letter to Dalton McGuinty that makes ample use of underlines and ends as follows: “In speaking to other matters in the past, you have stated that you will honour the will of council. I urge you to do so again and respect the will of council on this most pressing matter.” At moments like this, it’s easy to feel for the mayor, who sometimes seems to be thwarted at every turn. Still, in a city that just rushed through an abrupt and vague bag ban, maybe it’s best to consider the reports? [Globe and Mail]

(Images: Dalton McGuinty—Jennifer K. Warren; city hall—Joey DeVilla)

The Informer

Culture

2 Comments

Chicago wants something Toronto has: a Luminato-like arts festival (and tons of international tourists)

While Chicago has Toronto beat on virtually every other count when it comes to arts and culture, the Big Smoke trounces the Windy City when it comes to festivals. The Toronto Star’s Martin Knelman picked up that argument yesterday, pointing to a lengthy column from the Chicago Tribune last summer that suggested Chicago needs Toronto’s crazy wealth of cultural mega-events—specifically something like Luminato, which kicks off this year on June 8. Theatre critic Chris Jones has repeatedly argued his city should copy the Luminato format in order to build international prestige (which it desperately wants) and draw international tourists (which it wants even more). As it stands, Toronto attracts roughly 2.5 times as many international visitors as Chicago, so why not steal a few pages right out of the Luminato playbook? Host lots of big, free events; commission attention-grabbing new works by internationally known names; focus on original programming rather than simply knitting together existing events and calling it a festival; and, finally, make it all possible with tons of public funding. Of course, that last bit is no longer the case—which, we suspect, is exactly why Knelman revisited the argument in the first place.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

People

Comments

Where to find Prince Charles and Camilla this afternoon while they’re in Toronto

The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles (Image: Anwar Hussein/WireImage)

Royalists, rejoice! Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are here, and they’re making some very public (and a few private) stops. At 12:45 p.m. this afternoon, Charles and Camilla are expected to tour the Distillery District, which will end with a private reception hosted by Dalton McGuinty in the Fermenting Room of the Thompson Landry Gallery. Later, at 1:50 p.m., Charles will be visiting the Yonge Street Mission to chat with staff, and following that, he’ll be meeting with business leaders and participants in his Seeing Is Believing program. Perhaps they’ll have time to stop for one of Toronto’s best burgers?

The Informer

Features

24 Comments

The weirdest mayoralty ever—the inside story of Rob Ford’s city hall

Loyal councillors have defied him. His approval ratings have plummeted. And his powerful Conservative backers are nervous. How did it all go so wrong? The strange story of Rob Ford’s city hall

The Incredible Shrinking Mayor

On Newstalk 1010, the sly strains of the Hollies hit “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” offered the first clue. Then morning host Jerry Agar burst on the air with a surprise announcement: Rob Ford and his councillor sibling Doug were taking over the station’s Sunday afternoon talk-fest, The City. For the once-staid CFRB, landing the boisterous brother act that Margaret Atwood had puckishly dubbed the “twin Ford mayors” was clearly a coup, but that didn’t answer the more obvious question: why on earth would the Fords want to spend two more hours a week in front of an open microphone when they were hardly suffering from a lack of media exposure?

Rob Ford, after all, ranks as one of the most compelling and exhaustively chronicled figures in Canadian politics, adored and despised with equal gusto. His every pronouncement seems to turn into front-page fodder, his every grimace and belly scratch catalogued by rapt photographers. And who could forget the YouTube footage of comedian Mary Walsh arriving in his driveway, decked out with a velvet breastplate and a plastic sword?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

Comments

Prince Charles will tour Toronto in the most regal of vehicles: a TTC bus

(Image: Esther)

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are coming to Toronto later this month, and the prince will get to sample firsthand the joys of public transit in the city—without the public. The TTC has confirmed that on May 22, an empty bus will be Charles’s chariot for an afternoon: following a Distillery District shindig with Dalton McGuinty, the bus will transport the prince to the UforChange centre on Parliament Street in St. James Town (and he won’t have to fork over any tokens for the privilege). We’d argue that the shiny new subways, with their fancy lighted maps and futuristic announcement system, would be a flashier ride for a royal—and even the chiming streetcar would be a more pleasant experience. No wonder Camilla has opted out. [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Politics

8 Comments

Rob Ford plans to unleash Ford Nation on Kitchener-Waterloo

Rob Ford is now looking outside Toronto’s borders to continue the eternal fight for subways. Ford, an avowed supporter of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, told radio listeners Sunday that he’d to use the powers of Ford Nation in the provincial by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure a certain party does not win,” he said. “We cannot let the Liberals run this province like they are.” See, if Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal party win the seat, they’d clinch a majority government at Queen’s Park and the support for LRT construction would continue. If anyone but the Liberals win the seat, there would still be a chance for the Liberal minority to be toppled, setting the stage for PC leader and Ford buddy Tim Hudak to re-open the notion of subway-building. Sounds like a lot of ifs to play out before Torontonians are riding underground along the length of Sheppard, but Ford is nothing if not obsessed with subways, subways, subways. [Metro News]

(Images: Rob Ford, Shaun Merritt; Dalton McGuinty, Jennifer K. Warren; Sheppard subway station, Kenny Louie)

The Informer

Politics

2 Comments

The 2014 election (or Doug Ford’s election to Queen’s Park) could kill Transit City again

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Rob Ford has been silent since Metrolinx resurrected the LRT-based transit plan he cancelled on his first day in office, but the mayor’s brother Doug (as usual) was less shy. Yesterday, Doug vowed to continue fighting for subways into the 2014 election—even though construction on the Sheppard LRT line is scheduled to start in the summer of 2014. “We are going to run on subways,” he told the Globe and Mail, saying that councillors who voted in favour of the LRT-based plan “are going to be held accountable in the next election” (we can just picture the construction-site press conferences). Moreover, if Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal minority topples before 2014, Doug said he would leave his brother’s side, run as an MPP and try to help direct the transit debate from Queen’s Park. Though that’s several steps off, Doug’s comments do serve as a reminder that this plan is only secure as long as the Liberals maintain their hold on Queen’s Park—the Progressive Conservatives’ Tim Hudak has already shown how much he supports subways. [Globe and Mail]

The Informer

Features

50 Comments

Get a sneak peek at our May cover story: Rob Ford and the weirdest mayoralty in Toronto history

The incredible shrinking mayor

Below is an excerpt from our May cover story, “The Incredible Shrinking Mayor” by Marci McDonald. The full text is now available online. Click here for more »

On Newstalk 1010, the sly strains of the Hollies hit “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” offered the first clue. Then morning host Jerry Agar burst on the air with a surprise announcement: Rob Ford and his councillor sibling Doug were taking over the station’s Sunday afternoon talk-fest, The City. For the once-staid CFRB, landing the boisterous brother act that Margaret Atwood had puckishly dubbed the “twin Ford mayors” was clearly a coup, but that didn’t answer the more obvious question: why on earth would the Fords want to spend two more hours a week in front of an open microphone when they were hardly suffering from a lack of media exposure?

Rob Ford, after all, ranks as one of the most compelling and exhaustively chronicled figures in Canadian politics, adored and despised with equal gusto. His every pronouncement seems to turn into front-page fodder, his every grimace and belly scratch catalogued by rapt photographers. And who could forget the YouTube footage of comedian Mary Walsh arriving in his driveway, decked out with a velvet breastplate and a plastic sword?

But by the time Agar announced the show’s February 26 debut, the mayor was none too keen on his press clips, which aptly mirrored his increasingly bleak political fate. Ever since the new year, a small band of independent councillors had been leading an open revolt, dealing him a series of humiliating defeats, first on his budget, then on his cherished subway-building agenda. No matter how he tried to spin it, one conclusion was unavoidable: the mayor was increasingly isolated on his own council.

In Conservative backrooms across the city, there was undisguised consternation. Ford’s predecessors, David Miller and Mel Lastman, would never have allowed themselves to lose such key power struggles, especially so early in their first terms. Ford was becoming an embarrassment—one who could do lasting damage to the party as a whole. “There are only so many votes you can lose,” says a prominent Tory advisor who asked for anonymity, “and then you end up becoming sort of neutered.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Business

Comments

Some notables earning six-figures (or more!) from Ontario’s annual “sunshine list”

Dalton McGuinty made $208,974 last year (Image: Communitech Photos)

Once again, Ontario’s sunshine list has spotlighted the public servants who made $100,000 or more last year. A list of rich people is always a delight, and this year’s disclosure—released late last week—set the stage for today’s release of what will likely be an austere provincial budget, given Ontario’s troubling $16-billion deficit. The full group of six-figure earners is 79,000-strong, so we’ve compiled a cheat sheet of a few of the most high-profile.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Informer

Politics

10 Comments

Tim Hudak wants the province to step into Toronto’s transit wars (and build subways)

(Image: Ontario Chamber of Commerce)

As if Toronto’s transit planning, with its many hirings, firings and re-hirings, wasn’t slow enough, Tim Hudak tried to throw more sand in the gears yesterday. The urban planning expert Progressive Conservative leader moved for the province to force through Rob Fords pet subway project and axe the council-backed light-rail plan. (A hypocritical move, Dalton McGuinty pointed out, considering Hudak was part of the PC government that killed the Eglinton West subway back in 1995.) Hudak’s arguments in favour of subways sounded familiar enough to make us wonder if he’s joining Ford in some early campaigning. If that’s the case, even the motion’s quick defeat doesn’t matter much: according to the Ford handbook, what supporters think you’re trying to do counts more than what you actually accomplish. Read the entire story [Globe and Mail] »

The Informer

Politics

Comments

QUOTED: Dalton McGuinty threatens to take the transit fight to the airwaves

Dalton “Boring Machine” McGuinty (Image: Communitech Photos)

I gotta get a radio show, obviously.

Dalton McGuinty musing on ways to more effectively deliver the message that he’s siding with council on its recent transit vote. The premier and his team have already made their position on the issue abundantly clear, but Rob Ford is doing his best to suggest that the city’s transit plan is still up for debate. We have to admit, all this sabre rattling is making us a touch nervous: the city already has enough painfully dull talk radio without Dalton “Boring Machine” McGuinty taking up air space. [Globe and Mail]

The Informer

Politics

3 Comments

Rob Ford’s re-election campaign seems to be off to a good start, continuing the imaginary fight for subways

The Globe and Mail says the conflicting messages from Dalton McGuinty and Rob Ford on the transit file are enough to make the two politicians “sound like players in a game of broken telephone.” The premier maintains that the province intends to follow the lead of city council, while the mayor, who claimed council’s decision to revert to a light rail–based, Transit City–esque plan earlier this month was “irrelevant,” suggests it’s “political suicide” for McGuinty to side with council (i.e., Toronto’s elected body of political representatives). However, we suspect that the disconnect is less about miscommunication than it is about misinformation. Ford seems hell-bent on running a re-election campaign—yes, already—on the idea that he’s fighting the naysayers at city council to give the people the subways they so dearly desire. And if he can take that fight to Queen’s Park’s doorstep too, we figure by his own (likely flawed) logic that can only help his chances. Read the entire story [Globe and Mail] »

(Image: Rob Ford, West Annex News; Dalton McGuinty, Communitech Photos; tin cans, Fairy Heart ♥)

The Informer

Features

6 Comments

Confidence Man: how Glen Murray is positioning himself to grab the reins of political power

The famously gay former mayor of Winnipeg was lured to Toronto by a group of backroom nabobs and remade as an influential member of Dalton McGuinty’s inner circle

Glen Murray | Confidence Man

(Image: Markian Lozowchuk)

Glen Murray had never failed before. Here was a politician with an unblemished record of triumphs—elected three times as a city councillor in Winnipeg, twice as mayor. Then, in 2004, he lost his campaign for a seat as a Manitoba MP, a race he fully expected he’d win. The loss especially hurt because it was so close: by fewer than 1,000 votes.

That summer, happy to have the distraction, he agreed to travel across the U.S. and study regional economic development for the American State Department. The trip gave him time to work out his frustrations and reflect on the vagaries of political life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement