Kristyn Wong-Tam blasts Rob and Doug Ford for shooting down the Toronto Olympics bid—but do the brothers deserve it?

Kristyn Wong-Tam blasts Rob and Doug Ford for shooting down the Toronto Olympics bid—but do the brothers deserve it?

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Image: JoeyS4B) 

Downtown councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam released an open letter yesterday calling out Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug for, among other things, rejecting a bid for the 2020 summer Olympics without so much as a nod to council. We also noted the Ford’s dismissal of the Olympics at the time, but we have to point out that we agreed with the Fords on this one. Of course, Wong-Tam’s argument isn’t simply about wanting the Olympics—frankly, we’re a little puzzled about why she chose that decision as a springboard for her diatribe—it’s about wanting a better, more democratic process for council.

According to her letter:

I am concerned with the health of our local democracy. The decision about the Olympics is only the latest in a worrying pattern. On your first day in office, you declared “Transit City is dead” despite the fact that a Council decision declaring it our first priority has never been revisited, and have since been operating on the premise that your unilateral decree overrides the democratic processes of civic government.

Media reports also reveal that detail financial and technical plans are not required by the IOC until February 2012.  There was sufficient time to engage all Members of Council and even more broadly the general public about the feasibility of hosting the 2020 Olympic Games.

The thing is the Fords’ tendency to assume that their opinions are as good as law in this city isn’t entirely irrational. With council only tentatively starting to exercise the slightest of a spine when it comes to disagreeing with the mayor, it’s difficult to blame Ford for assuming that he’d get his way (which is probably why the activists who were trying to get his blessing for an Olympic bid didn’t go to wider council). Ford can be fairly accused of not bringing this issue to council—but then, neither did the Olympic hopefuls.

One last note: we applaud Wong-Tam’s use of the word “fiat” in her letter. We encourage other councillors to get in to the habit of employing it. We suspect there will be plenty of other opportunities in the future.

Councillor Wong-Tam slams Fords over Olympics “decision by fiat” [Toronto Star]
Ford blasted for shelving Olympics bid [Toronto Sun]
Toronto councillor slams mayor’s unilateral decision on Olympic bid [Globe and Mail]
Wong-Tam open letter blasts Doug Ford’s ‘special privileges’ [National Post]
Councillor accuses Ford brothers of ‘decision by fiat’ [CBC]