I really wanted to give Rob Ford a chance. I worked hard to make sure he never became Mayor back in 2010. I truly believed his tenure as Mayor would be something Torontonians would live to regret. But this is not an ‘I told you so’ moment. Rob Ford deserved this chance. After all, he received the votes. And in pure quantity, he did receive more votes than any other candidate in the history of Toronto’s mayoral elections: 383,501. (We would be remiss if we did not mention Mel Lastman’s 80% of the popular vote in 2000 or David Crombie’s record 84% of the popular vote in 1976.) However, after nearly four years as head of the country’s largest municipal government he has done little demonstrate that he has what it takes to leave this city better than he found it. Unfortunately, to the detriment of the City, few others on Council have done little to prove that they can be a viable alternative.
To date, Karen Stintz, Rob Ford’s hand-picked Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), is the only current member of Council who has announced her run. An absolutely deplorable record as Chair leaves her as an unattractive option to many. Her role as enabler of Rob Ford’s abuse of power is not helping any either.
However, nothing more exemplifies the sorry state of affairs in Toronto than the very public dueling between Rob Ford and Norm Kelly, his personally appointed Deputy. In the midst of a snow storm the likes of which Toronto had never seen Toronto’s ‘no-Mayors’ spent much of their time fighting each other for air time and credit for a job well done.
I grew up in Markham and lived in Sudbury before settling in Toronto. I cannot remember living under a municipal government that I truly took pride in. But following the week that was, I can honestly say there is no government of which I have ever been more embarrassed.
As I write this Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 72,200 customers without power. Does that sound like the world class city we all claim Toronto to be?
Norm Kelly and Rob Ford have been forced to announce that their power struggle has not impeded relief efforts, but I cannot help but feel in an alternate universe in which John Tory beat David Miller in 2003 and the rise of Rob Ford had never been possible Torontonians would not be living in the proverbial darkness that we are guaranteed to be stuck in until 27 October 2014.