Rob Ford is still running against his predecessor—only this time, it’s himself
Thanks to an equipment malfunction, mayor Rob Ford was an hour late for a $100-a-ticket luncheon speech before the Economic Club of Canada. “I want to thank the Economic Club of Canada for hosting today’s event and getting me locked in the elevator for 45 minutes,” he said once he took the podium before a room full of businesspeople who had already moved on to dessert.
What followed was the first formal policy address of Ford’s 2014 mayoral campaign, which officially began on January 2, when he registered as a candidate. The one and only remarkable thing about the speech was that most of the substantive parts of it could have been delivered during the 2010 race. Four years later, Ford is still running against David Miller.
Amid a long litany of questionable economic claims, Ford identified a few issues he sees as being critical to the 2014 mayoral campaign: instituting private garbage collection, replacing planned LRT lines with new subways, phasing out the Land Transfer Tax, preserving the Gardiner Expressway and constraining property-tax increases. Without exception, these are issues he ran on in 2010.
Ford also claimed to have achieved “90 per cent of what I said I was going to do.” Which was a curious thing to say, considering the fact that he’d just finished reiterating last term’s to-do list. What’s more, in this fledgling campaign, he has no predecessor to run against. The reason these things haven’t been accomplished isn’t that some free-spending lefty was too busy going to cocktail parties to get them taken care of. They haven’t been done because Ford himself hasn’t found a way to get them done.
During his 15-minute speech, Ford also took some time to lambaste his executive committee for approving a 2.23 per cent property-tax hike at a meeting on Wednesday. “Councillors are already going back to their old ways,” he said, suggesting that council’s decision to strip him of some of his mayoral powers was part of a ploy to return the city to its allegedly out-of-control, pre-Ford spending habits. Except, as at least one of Ford’s rivals on council has pointed out, the city’s 2014 budget was crafted under Ford’s leadership, well before he lost his powers.
Without an enemy to blame, Ford appears to be stuck on repeat.