If only the provincial government always worked this swiftly. In just under two weeks at Queen’s Park, ranked-ballot voting for Toronto has gone from a vague policy announcement to an actual bill, under consideration by an actual committee.
Reaction Roundup: the seven top responses to yesterday’s Liberal victory in the Toronto Centre byelection
“Liberal candidate wins in Liberal stronghold” is not a very exciting statement, but you wouldn’t know that from reading the avalanche of coverage from yesterday’s byelections in Toronto Centre and three other ridings.
Sure, the turnout in the downtown district was only 38 per cent, and sure, history shows that byelections are rarely harbingers for future polls, but that didn’t stop the flow of opinion. Pundits and columnists seem to agree that last night was a victory for Justin Trudeau (although not a huge one), while party hacks continue to read the byelections’ entrails for glimmers of hope for their party.
We read through all the commentary on the races so that you don’t have to. Here, the seven key takeaways.
Campaign wizard Nick Kouvalis won’t help Rob Ford in the next election—unless the mayor goes to rehab
Nick Kouvalis, the mastermind behind the “gravy train” and with it Rob Ford’s 2010 election win, won’t help with Ford’s reelection effort unless the mayor goes to rehab first. Sources close to Kouvalis told the Globe and Mail that he’s concerned about what the pressure of another campaign would do to Ford’s health. (Asked to comment, the political strategist was predictably politic: “I love the Ford family, and I will do everything I can to help them.”). With Kouvalis out, the dream team Ford assembled for his 2010 mayoral run is in shambles: the mayor fired director of policy-turned-chief of staff Mark Towhey for his attempt to get Ford to seek addiction treatment, while executive assistant Kia Nejatian, who also played a key role in the 2010, resigned a week later. Ford, however, hasn’t let the exodus or the long wait until the 2014 election stop him from hitting the campaign trail as hard as ever. [Globe and Mail]
Between a libel suit, a conflict-of-interest case and an election audit, Rob Ford is spending more time in court than Lindsay Lohan. But with news yesterday that the mayor won’t be prosecuted for improper campaign spending, Ford is free of serious legal challenges for the first time in more than a year. (That said, don’t shelf the #FordCourt hashtag just yet—he still has almost two years left in office, after all.) Below, we look back on the mayor’s biggest legal snafus and why he always seems to get a little lucky when it comes to the law.
A very, very long-awaited audit of Rob Ford’s 2010 campaign finances released late this afternoon found the mayor blew the authorized spending limit by $40,168, or approximately three per cent. The report also says Ford illegally accepted accepted 11 cheques, totalling $6,000, from corporations. So what happens next? Toronto’s compliance audit committee must decide if the alleged contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act merit hiring a special prosecutor, who would then consider non-criminal charges against Ford. If they do, and Ford is found guilty in court, there’s a small chance he could—once again—find himself in a fight to remain in office. Read the full audit report [Toronto.ca]
being turfed retiring from federal politics last year, Michael Ignatieff has been on an intellectual crusade against political partisanship. In the last month alone, the former Liberal leader waxed academic on the subject during a lecture at Stanford University, on a BBC panel discussion and in an interview with Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway. Apparently, Ignatieff’s upset that excessive partisanship and political nastiness is eroding democracy—precisely the kind of ivory tower preaching we expected from Iggy before he went from talking about politics (which he’s good at) to actually doing politics (which he’s not so good at). Below, a recent collection of Ignatieff’s most high-falutin’ assertions on democracy’s end days.
• Iggy says: “In a democracy, I think, we have no enemies. We have rivals. We have opponents. But we don’t have enemies. Enemies are people you want to destroy. Enemies threaten you. Adversaries are simply people you compete with.” Someone please send this vocabulary lesson to Doug Ford.
We’ve been wondering how Frank Stronach has been passing his days since he took a step back from Magna International and his race horse IPO project was shelved. Admittedly, we didn’t expect this: the auto-parts tycoon is planning to launch a new political party in his native Austria. Stronach told European news agencies that the party will take on the “cronyism and corruption” in the current government and will call for Austria to step away from the Eurozone. His ambitious goal for the 2013 elections: 10 per cent of the vote (Stronach will be a candidate, natch). As for his chances, Stronach is savvy and is one of Austria’s more famous success stories—never mind that he has more than enough cash to fund a campaign. [Toronto Star]
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
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?
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After stalling and stalling and stalling some more, Rob Ford has a radical new tactic for dealing with his campaign audit: just do it. A statement from the mayor says that he has asked his legal team to stop fighting the audit and to let it proceed immediately, a move that has been confirmed by Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler of Fair Elections Toronto, who pushed for the inquiry. Ford’s reasoning behind his change of heart: “It now appears that the way to have this matter addressed fully without delay is to proceed with an audit.” That’s very true—and would have been even truer back in May, when this audit business was first raised. Read the entire story [Torontoist] »