When the mayor is Rob Ford and the issue is garbage collection, high approval ratings apparently aren’t necessary for victory

When the mayor is Rob Ford and the issue is garbage collection, high approval ratings apparently aren’t necessary for victory

Image: Christopher Drost 

Mayor Rob Ford made good on a campaign promise yesterday with council’s vote to contract out city garbage collection between Yonge Street and the Humber River. Lefty and centrist councillors spoke out against the proposed contract, from Green For Life Environment, saying that they lacked sufficient information to conclude whether it will turn out to be too good to be true. But in the end, the vote passed 26-16—naturally, along predictable ideological lines.

The Globe and Mail has the details:

The $186.4-million contract to pick up garbage at 165,000 households between Yonge St. and the Humber River was awarded to Green for Life Environmental East Corporation. The deal’s approval Monday by city council means that private collection could begin as early as next summer. A private company already does curbside collection in the former city of Etobicoke.

“This is a campaign promise that I have fulfilled – another one,” Mayor Ford said Monday on the eve of his one-year mark in office. “We are doing exactly what we said we were going to do and a lot of people are very happy about that.”

The Globe also reports that in Hamilton, $1.16 per home is all that separates the houses served by private collectors and those served by public employees. So the request made by dissenting councillors to look more closely at the GFL contract doesn’t seem off-base, especially when millions of dollars of public funds are at stake (what was Ford’s campaign slogan, again?).

The vote to grant councillors an extra month to pore over the financials was a close one (20-22). It’s somewhat surprising, then, that while 20 councillors felt they needed more time to mull things over, 26 of them were prepared to vote in favour of accepting the contract. This could mean a few things for Ford. For one, it might signal that while some councillors oppose the way he does business—like rushing a contract through council—they don’t necessarily oppose the business itself. And although it might be surprising that Ford can still get things done with such low approval ratings, the garbage collection vote yesterday could be further evidence of the political impact of the 2009 municipal workers’ strike.

City approves private garbage pickup [Toronto Star]
City’s rubbish goes private [Toronto Sun]
Ford’s push for private trash collection pays off [Globe and Mail]
City council votes to expand private garbage collection [National Post]