Decisions, decisions, decisions

I am really starting to be concerned about the future of the Province of Ontario for the next four years. On June 7, the citizens of Ontario will elect a new Premier (our version of a state governor).

The leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is Doug Ford, brother of the late mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford. When Doug was a city councillor during his brother’s term as mayor, he proved himself to be a bully toward other councillors and had some very different views. Among his pronouncements was an idea to close libraries to save money. Apparently Doug had never read a book and could see no reason why anybody should. Another instance that springs to mind was his opposition to a proposal to put a home for autistic children and young adults in his neighbourhood. His objections to this proposal were that it would lower property values in the area and that these people would be allowed outside.

Doug Ford has said he admires Donald Trump and some of his ideas and comments during this election campaign so far seem to show he’s taken a page from the Trump campaign playbook. (In comments on Facebook, I’ve referred to him as “Trump North”.) Like Trump, Doug likes to portray himself as “a man of the people”, but he counts his wealth in the millions. He claims he can save the province billions by finding “efficiencies”. No plan, no exact amounts disclosed, just “efficiencies. Sound familiar to my American readers? Figures pulled out of thin air, proposals to reduce business taxes, all the while not revealing how exactly he’s going to save this money that won’t involve raising taxes and cutting people. During a leadership debate yesterday, in response to a question on hiring immigrants to work in northern Ontario, Doug said “We should take care of our own first.” I think I heard all this stuff sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign in the US. According to the polls, Doug Ford and the PC party are leading by about a 14 point margin, so obviously there are people who like what he has to say. Oh yes – one more thing. It is tradition that the party leaders also provide a press bus. Doug isn’t doing so which is one way of controlling what the media reports on his campaign.

There is one thing that gives me hope he won’t be able to run unfettered over Ontario. In Canada, both federally and provincially, the leader of the party must win a seat in the legislature. Doug is running in a riding (electoral district for my American readers) that includes the city ward the Ford family considers a fiefdom and is the headquarters of “Ford Nation”, so it seems unlikely he will lose. But, in the Canadian political system, both federally and provincially, there are three major parties, In Ontario those parties are the Progressive Conservatives, led by Doug Ford; the Liberal Party of Ontario, led by Kathleen Wynne, the current Premier, and the New Democratic Party led by Andrea Horwath. This is what gives me hope. With three major parties and only a fourteen point lead, it appears to me that if Doug does become the next Premier of Ontario, he will have a minority government. Having the most seats will make him Premier, but not having a clear majority of those seats means he’ll have to offer some concessions to the other two parties to get legislation passed.

Personally, I have no idea at the moment how I’m going to vote. As I wrote, Doug Ford scares me. While Andrea Horwath and the NDP are saying some interesting things, the last time the NDP formed the provincial government during the ‘90’s, they almost destroyed the province. Auntie Kathleen and Liberals are also saying nice things, but they also have had some problems during their reign. Further complicating my decision is that the MPP for my riding, a Liberal, was of great help to me when I had some problems with my documents a couple of years ago. So, do I vote for the local representative who helped me as a form of reward for his help, knowing the spotty record of his party, the NDP who did so much damage in the past, or take a chance Doug won’t turn out to be a Trump clone?

I have about three weeks to decide, so I’ll be paying close attention to both the provincial and local campaigns.

I don’t care if you vote PC, NDP, Liberal, Green or some other party. But, on June 7, you must vote.

Cat.

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The name’s the same

Yesterday Rob Ford, Mayor of all subway-loving Torontonians, withdrew from the seemingly never-ending election campaign for personal reasons.   Earlier in the week, he was admitted to hospital where a tumour was found in his abdomen.  The results of a biopsy are expected next week.

Now, pay attention here, for there may be a quiz later.  Rob Ford, the current Mayor has withdrawn from the race for Mayor.  Current city councillor Doug Ford, Robbie’s big brother, decided to be Rob’s campaign manager rather than run for reelection in Ward 2. A nephew of Robbie, Michael Ford, was running in Ward 2. Here is where it gets complicated (or weird – your choice): Doug yesterday evening, announced his intention to run for Mayor in his brother’s place (more on this later).  Rob decided that rather than leave municipal politics all together, he will run for city councillor in Ward 2.  This was the ward he represented for 10 years before being elected Mayor.  Nephew Michael has withdrawn from the race for city council in Ward 2 and will instead run for school trustee.

Now, Doug has several problems.  First, the election is about six weeks away, so he’s getting a late start (the campaign officially began in January, hence my “never-ending” comment.  He cannot use Rob’s campaign war chest, but must raise his own money.  Neither can he use Rob’s campaign office, but must find his own.  It seems the only bright spot for Doug is that he can use Rob’s “Ford for Mayor” campaign signs.

Interviews conducted by local media seem split.  Some people – usually members of what is called “Ford Nation”,  those who have blindly followed Robbie – believe Doug will do just as good as Robbie.  Those who think believe he would be worse than this brother.

Based on what I’ve seen of City Councillor Doug Ford over the past four years, I personally think he would be just as much a disaster as Chief Magistrate of Toronto as was Rob.  Doug seems to be more of a loose cannon than was Rob.  For example, a man filed a complaint against Doug over some comments he made regarding a group home for autistic children.  Doug claimed the home had “ruined”the neighbourhood where the house was located and called all the residents “criminals”.  All of this without proof of course, as seems to be standard operating procedure for the Brothers Ford.  The man who filed the complaint is the father of an autistic child and felt Doug’s comments unfairly maligned the residents.  Doug’s response was to tell the man to go to hell.  Doug appears to shoot from the lip, often insulting reporters and the public without justification or even reason,

I sincerely hope Toronto voters come to their senses and see that four more years of having a Ford as mayor will be a disaster of the first magnitude.  But, he won’t be releasing a platform until Monday at the earliest so we’ll have to wait to see if he’ll be his own man or Rob Ford the second.

Enjoy your weekend and remember to hug an artist, we need love too.

Cat.

One final thought: The biopsy on Rob’s tumour is about a week away, yet to hear Doug, he seems to think it will be cancerous.  At least that’s the impression Doug’s comments about chemotherapy would give.

I told very few people, but last December, I had to have a tumour removed from my stomach.  Nobody went around talking about chemotherapy or anything like that.  My friends and family adopted an attitude of “we’ll wait and see what the biopsy says, then deal with it.”  Wouldn’t that be a more sensible attitude for Doug as well?   Oh, silly me – I used “sensible” and the name of a Ford in the same sentence.

C.

Robbie, take a break

I wasn’t going to write about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford because I didn’t feel I could add anything.  Before I start, I don’t live in Toronto so have no personal axe to grind. I do however think it is sad to watch a life spiralling out of control, especially when that life is that of a public figure.

A little recap first.  Back in May the Toronto Star and the website Gawker were offered – for a six figure sum – a video tape of Robbie smoking crack.  He stated he did not use crack cocaine and had never used crack cocaine and further stated the video in question did not exist.  About a week ago Bill Blair, the Chief of Police for Toronto, announced they had recovered a video tape from a hard drive and when asked by reporters, said the tape was consistent with earlier media reports. In other words, it appeared to show Hiz Honour smoking crack.  After a few days of typical Ford denial, during which his lawyer said that it may not have been crack in the pipe,  Robbie finally admitted that yes, he had smoked crack, about a year ago, but said it was “probably while in a drunken stupor.”

Yesterday another tape surfaced, this one showing his rotundness ranting and jumping about while he demonstrated how he was going to kill someone and dropping the f-word many times.  This time he had the grace to come out early and admit that yes, it was him on the tape, but he was “extremely inebriated,.”

So, from his own mouth, we have admissions that the mayor of all subway-loving citizens of Toronto has used crack and is a drunk.  Or do we?

CP24, the Toronto all-news station, was granted an exclusive interview with the rest of the Ford family yesterday.  During this interview, his mother tried to defend Robbie by saying something along the lines of he isn’t a drunk although he does engage in binge-drinking every two or three months.  Excuse me?  As I understand it, binge-drinking involves pouring back the alcohol until you are absolutely blotto. And if you drink with the express purpose of getting hammered, doesn’t that make you a drunk?  Of course the Fords seem to have their own method of quantifying alcoholic influence.  Is being in a drunken stupor and smoking crack better or worse than ranting about killing someone while extremely intoxicated?  Or are both states roughly equal?

Rob Ford has consistently lied to the citizens of Toronto.  Yet his brother Doug, a Toronto City Councillor, stated on the Ford radio show last Sunday that “Rob is the most honest person I know”.  Doesn’t say much for Doug’s standards, does it?  Doug has been defending his brother for years and when the police announced they had the now infamous crack tape, called for the police chief to step down as he had a bias against the mayor.  In a move more worthy of children in a schoolyard than elected municipal officials, neither Ford attended the annual Police Gala two nights ago and withdrew their donation for the charity auction that forms part of the Gala.  I understand it was  dinner with the mayor, so perhaps withdrawing it was the wise thing to do under the circumstances.

Robbie, listen to your advisors and all of city council and take a leave of absence and enter rehab.  You know the situation is dire when even Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” turns serious and urges you to go to rehab.  And do us a favour and take mini-mayor Doug with you.

Finally, while not confirmed, rumours in the area of Toronto where the first two tapes were supposedly shot are that yet another tape exists.  That should be interesting if true.

Cat.