Ford’s Focus

Contrary to popular belief, Toronto Mayor-elect Rob Ford is not a populist.

Ford’s “stop the gravy train” mantra used throughout his mayoralty campaign to put an end to wasteful spending at Toronto City Hall was one concocted by political strategists, not himself, working for the former Etobicoke councillor.

This whole idea that somehow Ford represents the backlash of urban voters to the David Miller years of taxation (land and vehicle registration tax) and that he stood up for “Joe Public” is a farce and I want to address some of these misconceptions.

First elected to Toronto city council in 2000, Ford is a reputable businessman who quickly made a name for himself by denouncing councillor perks and even called on Revenue Canada to audit their spending habits.

Reprimanded time and again by the city for paying office expenses out of his own pocket, Ford used his family company Deco Labels and Tags to print materials and not abide by the city’s policy of reporting it. This gave Ford an image in the media as someone who wouldn’t waste tax dollars which some voters unfortunately bought into.

During the Miller years, Ford become a vocal critic of bike lanes, but supported the idea of funding public transit. Now he’s saying he’d make the TTC- Toronto Transit Commission an essential service, something I don’t see him ever sticking to.

Somehow he was able to keep a few mishaps out of the spotlight. A drunken night at a Leaf’s game where he was thrown out, which he denied then admitted to afterward. Ford was also arrested and charged in Miami, Florida for a DUI and on drug charges, which he tried to play off as nothing. This makes me wonder how anyone can believe a word this man says.

Then there’s the infamous “fat fuck” video circulating on YouTube.com, where Ford is asked by a Globe and Mail reporter why he misled them on a story (featured in ‘Hogtown: the Politics of Policing’). When confronted Ford tries to play off the questioning and explodes after an insult is mouthed by the reporter.

Now that Toronto voters have given Ford the chance to run one of the largest governments in Canada (bigger than most provinces) everyone will have to wait and see how he plans to reform City Hall’s great grey clam into a great big gravy ladle, scooping out all the excess fat, which he plans to start by firing most city councillors once he takes office.

I sense big trouble for little TO.

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About

Adam Bemma is a journalist and media development advisor.

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