Rob Ford’s enemies are jubilant today. It’s as if Christmas came early and they won the lotto to top it off. That’s because Rob Ford’s enemies finally got the better of him. The man who seemed untouchable and could do no wrong as the Mayor of Toronto was reigned in on a cold Monday in November by Judge Charles Hackland for violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
His crime? Soliciting for donations to a charity during council meetings. This is pretty much the equivalent of using your office’s printer to print out some flyers for a local neighborhood fundraising event. Considering the wasteful spending by councillors that think they are entitled to self appointed raises and write offs, this seemed pathetic by all standards of corruption. Add to the fact that Ford sought funds for a charity has been lost on the powers that be.
Nevertheless, the judge has decided that Ford willfully broke the law by participating in discussions about the charity and consequently voting for it. This “reckless” violation was noted by eagle-eyed Toronto resident and self appointed Ford monitor, Paul Madger. Madger who clearly didn’t vote for Ford then brought a lawsuit to city hall. Ford didn’t help matters too much either by being defiant and reckless in his response to the charges. Currently Ford plans to appeal the decision and will most likely succeed in delaying the proceedings and thus keeping him in office for a bit longer.
The last few months have not been pretty for Ford either. Caught up in a frazzle with Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, giving people the finger, being caught reading while driving, skipping council meetings to attend football games, redirecting TTC buses to haul his football team around have given his opponents ammunition to orchestrate his eventual removal. This is because when you have as many enemies as Ford does, it is only a matter of time before someone catches him doing something “wrong”.
Down at city hall, Ford is really an outsider. The majority of city hall councillors can’t stand the sight of Ford, and to have to call him mayor only further disgusts them. At one point, they had decided that they will ignore Ford and run Toronto by their own chosen committee. At every turn, on every move, Rob Ford’s actions have been countered by city halls efforts to rebuke him. For example, when Rob Ford called for the ending of the 5 cent plastic bag tax, council ganged up on Ford by banning the use of plastic bags altogether. What these councillors don’t understand or care about is that their petty attempts to rebuke Ford affect the actual people of Toronto. The majority of Torontonians use plastic bags for a variety of reasons including garbage, storage, and lunch to name a few. But they are being taken away because council doesn’t like Ford and anything that spites him is good. When you are in a position of power for so long, you get used to it and start taking things for granted. The councillors that see Ford as an obstacle are too used to the fact that they can do what they what and not have anyone oppose them. Rob Ford threatens their entitlement, and he is to be removed at all costs.
Let’s not forget that Rob Ford was appointed by the will of the majority of Toronto. Torontonians sick of city hall’s constant barrage of user fees, new taxes, and ballooning deficits came out in droves in October 2010 to bring Rob Ford into office as the successor to the regime of David Miller. Known around city hall as the clueless rebel without a cause, Rob Ford was hated and avoided by most other councillors. So having Ford come into power is something like a nightmare come true for these people.
So where do we go from here? If city hall decides to vote for a new mayor, they will obviously vote for one of their own and the atmosphere of entitlement will once again reign strong and true. If a call for another election is required, it will cost the city about 7 millions dollars. Ford has the right to run for mayor again, however his tarnished reputation and image will be the downfall of him. Ford borders on being a buffoon half of the time, which is so great seeing his opposing councillors squirm whenever they have to deal with him. Torontonians will certainly not vote for Ford again as he is much too reckless to be voted back into office. The only problem with this is that our choices as who to vote for will be severely limited. Remember our roster of candidates from the last election were full of undesirables inlcuding Tim Hudak, George Smitherman, Rosco Rossi, and Joe Pantalone.
This new election may be interesting as perhaps Olivia Chow, widower of Jack Layton may be the winning candidate if she decides to run. Jack Layton’s death adds an aura of appeal to voting for the wife of a man who became a legend only after his death. This would be great for all of Ford’s opponents, but will most likely push Toronto back into its days of reckless spending and large deficits. Torontonians still can bring Ford back to power by voting for Ford in the next election, but this is likely the end of the road for Mr. Ford. His buffoonery outweighs his effectiveness for the taxpayers of Toronto.
This lesson for Ford here may be that doing the right thing is not necessary the best thing to do. In a Toronto that is run by shady politics, Ford’s ideal views of fairness and respect for the taxpayers clash and simply do not fit. As such he was removed like a festering cyst. We can only hope that someone will champion Ford’s ideals and properly carry out the changes that all of Toronto desires. But don’t hold your breath.