Things Margaret Atwood likes: libraries, book clubs, strong language; things Margaret Atwood does not like: Doug and Rob Ford

Things Margaret Atwood likes: libraries, book clubs, strong language; things Margaret Atwood does not like: Doug and Rob Ford

(Image: Marco Secchi/ Getty Images Entertainment/ Getty Images) 

We’re guessing by now the Brothers Ford know exactly who Margaret Atwood is. After Doug Ford caused a bit of a brouhaha amongst the city’s class of left-leaning latte sippers by claiming he wouldn’t recognize Atwood if she passed him on the street—and that she should run for office if she wants to weigh in on matters of public interest (like, say, library closures)—Atwood decided to go on the offensive. First, the CanLit icon sparked something of a social media maelstrom, including our favourite, an “Atwood for Mayor” campaign on Facebook, before taking another swipe at the powers that be at city hall by cheekily offering to meet with book clubs at their local Tim Hortons as part of her campaign to spare Toronto’s libraries from the Rob Ford budget knife. But the author’s latest salvo in the lopsided war of words between her and the Fords is arguably her strongest: an interview with the Toronto Star in which she offers a cutting condemnation of the mayor, his brother and the current political climate in the city.

A few choice quotes from yesterday’s Q&A:

• “Who pays for those people? They represent every citizen, every inhabitant of the city. Are they going to say they don’t represent three-year-old kids? They don’t pay taxes? Flipping them the bird? Old people in nursing homes? They don’t much like them either.”

• “Expressing contempt for creative people turns people away from Toronto as a venue, and that’s a pretty serious consideration….You start with tossing off latte drinkers, gay pride and bicycle riders and me, what’s the message? The message is ‘We don’t want you people here.’ ”

• “My question to the council would be: ‘Are people like me welcome in this city?’ And that includes a lot of people.”

We certainly hope Atwood’s welcome. But we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest that there’s not much of an overlap between Atwood fans and hardcore Ford supporters (in fact, one Ford supporter was so outraged by Atwood’s involvement in politics that he staged a YouTube book burning). Of course, Atwood is pretty popular and definitely an outspoken critic—probably not the kind of public and political enemy the Fords need right now.

Margaret Atwood on libraries, graffiti and democracy [Toronto Star]