Doug Ford trolls Toronto’s left, press takes the bait

Doug Ford trolls Toronto’s left, press takes the bait

My name is Margaret, and I’m a author (Image: Mark Hill) 

By now it’s pretty clear that Doug Ford is, as Ivor Tossell noted on Twitter, “trolling us and having a great time doing so.” The gasps of outrage that accompanied Ford’s admission that he didn’t know who Margaret Atwood was were almost as loud as the pearl clutching when he suggested he’d pay more attention to her if she ran for public office (which is both obvious and a nice break from the normal Ford line of answering every phone call). We also liked Rob Benzies quip this morning: “Must say it’s gutsy of the Fords to risk their CanLit base in the Annex with this Atwood tiff.”

More important than Doug Ford’s apathy towards Atwood is the fact that he doesn’t seem to have developed a particularly good grasp of his ward since moving back from Chicago, where he helped run the family business. He told the Globe and Mail that “there are five or six library branches within a two-mile area near his ward”—one he referred to specifically as being in an “industrial area”. The Toronto Star dispatched a reporter to that branch and found something else entirely:

Fadumo Elmi had a message for Doug Ford Tuesday night. “I gave him my vote,” she said sternly outside Northern Elms.

“If he closes the library, I want back my vote.”

If Ford’s comments raised eyebrows at City Hall, they raised blood pressure among patrons of this supposedly disposable library.

Statistics from the Toronto Public Library show that usage is rising at the branch, with 15 per cent more checkouts in June 2011 compared to last year.

That Doug Ford doesn’t care to know about a Canadian literary icon is mostly irrelevant to the politics of this city. That the councillor for Ward 2 seems mighty incurious about the demand for services in his ward while he goes gravy-hunting is much more relevant. Finally, that his constituents are upset now that they’ve discovered that they’re the gravy is probably most relevant of all.

Constituents to Ford: Lose our library and lose our votes [Toronto Star]
Library cuts will happen ‘in a heartbeat,’ Doug Ford says [Globe and Mail]