Before being elected mayor, Rob Ford enjoyed a weird sort of moral high ground. His outsider status on city council meant he had nothing to lose by antagonizing then-mayor David Miller, so that’s what he did. Ford’s own time as mayor seems like it should have destroyed his credibility as a political critic, and yet here’s the National Post declaring him city hall’s new unofficial “leader of the opposition.” What did councillor Ford do to earn himself this distinction? According to the Post, he wowed reporters by criticizing John Tory for raising TTC fares and property taxes. “I was honest with taxpayers. John’s not,” Ford said, dishonestly.
Getting around the city, by public transit or by car, has become a perpetual nightmare of sardine-tin crowds, endless queues and construction bottlenecks. Gridlock is the lightning-rod issue of this mayoral race, with candidates sparring over which transportation fix—underground subways, surface subways, LRT, more buses, more bike lanes, no bike lanes, more speed bumps, no speed bumps—is best. But to voters, who’ve endured a generation-long succession of false starts, bad decisions and political interference, it’s all empty promises. Toronto’s epic infrastructure fail has put commuters in a fury and brought the city to a halt. Here’s a list of the most egregious scandals in recent memory—and who’s to blame.
Monday was quite a day for Porter Airlines. The company’s bid to start flying jets out of the Island Airport not only earned rebukes from both Davids (former mayors Miller and Crombie, both of whom are opposed to what they see as runaway waterfront development), it also managed to draw official criticism from the city’s Board of Health, which voted unanimously to oppose the plan because of its possible negative impact on the wellbeing of residents. Read the rest of this entry »
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Rob Ford says the 2014 mayoral election is going to be a “bloodbath” (which he, apparently, sees as a good thing). The prospect of a dirty fight hasn’t scared off TTC chair Karen Stintz or businessman David Soknacki, who have both already made their mayoral ambitions public. Who else should join them in a political death match? Choose your would-be candidates of choice in our fantasy ballot below. Your favourite candidate isn’t on the list? Let us know in the comment section.
Party Pages: Steven Page performs and David Miller makes friends with a bear at WWF Canada’s annual gala
While no actual furry animals attended the World Wildlife Fund’s Panda Ball at the Four Seasons on Friday night, there was a human-sized plush bear tottering about the pre-dinner cocktail to pose with guests. (Even former mayor David Miller cuddled up to the night’s mascot.) Elsewhere, the Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page charmed Adrienne Clarkson and her husband, writer John Ralston Saul, while special guest Chris Hadfield revealed that the popularity of that “Space Oddity” cover has its drawbacks. “You become an engineer, a tactical fighter-pilot, and an astronaut, but nobody says anything,” he told us, “but you sing one song, and suddenly, that’s all everybody talks to you about.” The message: he’s much more than a one-David Bowie-hit wonder.
Former mayor David Miller is taking over as president and CEO of WWF-Canada (that’s the World Wildlife Fund, not the wrestling outfit) starting in September. Since handing the city off to Rob Ford more than two years ago, Miller has kept a low profile—most of the time—with gigs as Counsel for International Business and Sustainability at law firm Aird & Berlis and the Future of Cities Global Fellow at NYU. So, while the current mayor is fighting allegations that he smokes crack, the former mayor will be fighting to save Canada’s cutest and cuddliest.
Ignore, for a moment, all the sideshow antics that have hijacked his mayoralty. Rob Ford has made some big changes at city hall that we’ll all feel, in a good way, long after he’s gone
You could be forgiven for believing that Rob Ford’s first two years as mayor amounted to nothing more than a riveting insignificance. He’s provided quite a spectacle. Talking on his cell while driving. Reading while driving. The Cut the Waist Challenge (and its dismal failure). The altercation with a Star reporter near his property. Allegedly flipping the bird to a kid and her mom. Calling 911 (three times!) to save himself from a Marg Delahunty bit. Yet none of these incidents tells us anything about his record as the city’s chief magistrate.
Olivia Chow would make David Miller look like a fiscal conservative … Olivia Chow is no Jack Layton, and if they want tax-and-spend government, they’re going to elect Olivia Chow.
Rob Ford is in court this week over a $6-million defamation suit filed by Boardwalk Pub owner George Foulidis, a high-profile case in which David Miller, Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy and deputy mayor Doug Holyday are all potential witnesses. Those big names, however, have been completely eclipsed by the appearance of a lowly audio tape otherwise forgotten in the home files of former Sun writer and editor Rob Granatstein. Until yesterday, everybody involved with the inquiry believed no recording remained of a pivotal 2010 meeting between Ford and the Sun’s editorial board—everybody except Granatstein, who left the paper last year. He had a copy all along and had been anxiously deliberating about whether or not to come forward with the evidence. (He catalogued his painstaking struggle to make a decision in a column for Canada.com that’s so heady it almost seems like it could’ve been ripped from the pages of a Dostoyevsky novel.) After talking it over with lawyers, he eventually turned the tape over to the Sun, and it’s scheduled to be played in court tomorrow. Sure, the whole fiasco isn’t on par with the Watergate tapes, but it does feel like a twist worthy of a courtroom TV drama.
GALLERY: The Stop’s annual What’s on the Table fundraiser brought out Toronto’s top chefs—and their biggest fans
For philanthropists with a gourmet bent, What’s on the Table, the big annual fundraiser for The Stop, is kind of a big deal. Every year, a slew of the city’s top chefs come out to support the community food centre and hobnob with some of their biggest fans. The 2012 edition, which took place on Wednesday at the Artscape Wychwood Bars, featured chefs from Beast, Cava, George, GwaiLo, Hooked, Nadège, Noce, Parts and Labour, Paulette’s, Pizzeria Libretto and The Harbord Room, among many others. We spied former mayor David Miller enthusing with Cava’s Chris McDonald over their shared love of Spanish cuisine, and GwaiLo’s Nick Liu politely fending off nosy questions about where his still-not-yet-open restaurant will be located. In the end, after two auctions (one live and one silent), The Stop came away with $270,000 to support their mission of increasing everyone’s access to good, healthy food. The 500-odd donors, meanwhile, left with full bellies and rosy cheeks, having kibitzed with their chef-idols for a few hours. Read the rest of this entry »
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The explosive allegations that Rob Ford has been using city resources and staff for the youth football team he coaches have kept Toronto’s columnists busy over the past week. While perusing the rants, accusations and commiserations, we couldn’t help but notice that they nearly all fell into one of five familiar categories: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In other words, the five stages of grief (we’ll leave it to you to decide what they’re grieving: Rob Ford’s persecution, his alleged misdeeds, or the fact that he’s mayor in the first place).
1. Denial: Rob and Doug Ford
As promised, the Ford brothers used their first radio show after a hiatus to launch a verbal attack on the city’s media in general, and the Globe and Mail in particular. Near the end of the show, a caller asked Ford to justify his use of city resources; Doug interrupted him, saying, “No, we haven’t—that’s a lie.” Rob tried to calm his brother down, and responded to the caller: “Okay, but it’s just not true, sir,” he said. “It’s not true. With all due respect, I haven’t been using my office resources. That’s where the misnomer comes in.” Read the rest of this entry »
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…I coach my daughter’s soccer team and I’m able to catch my son’s events as well, and that was something I couldn’t do as mayor.
Rob Ford supporters clashed with Councillor (and likely 2014 mayoral candidate) Adam Vaughan yesterday, in an entertaining, though dishearteningly spiteful, war of words and tweets. Vaughan started things off by slamming Ford for shirking his mayoral duties—a charge that journalists and politicos have also made in the past. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
After a very public rift over transit, Rob Ford and Karen Stintz are back on the same side, and it’s all because of the plastic bag fee. The Toronto Sun reports that Stintz plans on voting with the mayor to kill the 5-cent plastic bag fee during Wednesday’s city council meeting (Ford vowed to scrap the fee last month). Not that Stintz will likely return full-time to her former place in the Ford fold—the fee is a smallish matter and one Stintz never liked in the first place, having voted against the so-called bag tax when David Miller introduced it in 2009. [Toronto Sun]
—Councillor Shelley Carroll, targeting Rob Ford for spending too much time gadding about instead of staying at his desk and building consensus with the rest of council. We’re not totally convinced that Carroll, a vocal critic of Ford, is genuinely interested in building a close working relationship with the mayor, and her examples don’t quite work anyway: Ford cancels nearly as many weigh-ins as he shows up to and does his dull and offensive radio show on the weekend. Meanwhile, Ford supporters, including Doug Holyday, pointed out the mayor conducts much of his city business outside the walls of city hall. More on the mark was Carroll’s criticism that Ford is focused on making promises for the 2014 election instead of working with council now. That said, Carroll, the budget chief during the David Miller years, has suggested she wants the mayor’s job come 2014—which would explain why it seems like Ford’s not the only one engaged in some pretty obvious (and early) electioneering. [Toronto Sun]