Reformed commie—and now avowed red hunter—Giorgio Mammoliti breaks rank and returns to his union roots
Giorgio Mammoliti, apparently a political chameleon of the highest degree, has once again found a labour cause that he can get behind: the usually right-wing and always outspoken councillor wants to make sure frontline workers—namely, paramedics and firefighters—keep their jobs. That amounts to a big break from the party line for the man who essentially serves as Rob Ford’s de facto party whip inside the council chambers.
According to the Globe and Mail:
“[I] will not be recommending any grassroots layoffs, you can count on that,” Mr. Mammoliti, chair of the Community Development and Recreation Committee and a member in good standing of Mr. Ford’s executive inner circle, told The Globe and Mail. “If there are any cuts, they will not result in job losses for grassroots firefighters or paramedics. I will not let that happen.”
What’s more, the long-time York West councillor and former mayoral candidate vowed to counter the prevailing belt-tightening mentality at City Hall and push for a mass hiring of paramedics.
Of course, Mammoliti is not the first right-wing councillor to speak out against the mayor’s proposed cuts: Frances Nunziata and Karen Stintz—both Ford allies—said they wouldn’t support cuts to libraries. But Mammoliti isn’t just a councillor who votes with the mayor—he’s the one who reminds everyone else to vote with the mayor, too.
For our part, we’re curious if this is further evidence that the tide is turning against Ford at city hall. Councillor Janet Davis says that as Ford drifts from his campaign promise of no service cuts, he’ll start to see an erosion of his base. That may be true, but Mammoliti also has a history of bucking the party line when he feels moved to do so (at the same time, Hot Wheels also wants to see EMS designated an essential service, a move more in line with Ford’s agenda). Still, those interested in getting the rumor mill churning will note that Stintz was absent from Ford Fest, Friday’s gathering of Toronto’s conservative movers and shakers (and smart-mouthed bloggers).
We’re also curious about how Ford will respond. Mammoliti is a powerful ally who’s proven himself willing to take the pressure off the mayor by distracting reporters with bizarre comments and Facebook stunts. He’s called himself the mayor’s quarterback—but, really, he’s more of a defensive player, and a valuable one at that. As for how Ford responds, we’ll stay on the lookout for passive-aggressive moves at council to see if this sort of thing becomes a pattern.