Battle of the columnists: Mallick, Blatchford and Goar take on Rob Ford

Battle of the columnists: Mallick, Blatchford and Goar take on Rob Ford

Last Friday, Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford wrote a piece calling Rob Ford “the gadfly Toronto needs,” and today she’s followed it up with a shopping list of grievances against councillor spending that could have been cribbed directly from one of Ford’s anti–gravy train rants. The first column was a bit more interesting, if only because it gave us a glimpse of Blatchford’s friends and the arguments of “downtown Torontonians”:

All my downtown friends have their knickers in a complete knot over Mr. Ford, who has been leading much of the polling for a while and who continues to lead despite a wonderful series of gaffes and gotchas and consistently more scrutiny by the press than any other candidate.

“Christie,” one of my pals said the other day, horror in her voice, “can you imagine him actually representing the city?”…

I suspect what my friend meant – her head was in the process of exploding, so we didn’t continue the discussion – was that she doubted Mr. Ford would be a dignified representative of the centre of the world at those dreary Big City Big Mayor meetings or whatever they’re called, or when he goes a-begging for funds to Queen’s Park and Ottawa, or when he travels internationally.

Well, it looks like Blatch’s friends aren’t the only ones whose heads are exploding at the prospect of a Ford victory. Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star has a column in which the third sentence is, tellingly, “Have we taken leave of our senses?” It gets better from there, with comparisons to George W. Bush and a regrettable line comparing the adult voters of this city to babies. It’s hard not to see these two columnists almost shouting directly at each other through the opinion pages.

Meanwhile, opposite Mallick in the opinion pages of the Star, Carol Goar takes a wider perspective on city spending and, in the process, rebuts Blatch’s latest offering. As Goar notes, all of council spending amounts to less than 0.5 per cent of the city’s $9 billion budget.

What a wet blanket. Isn’t it so much more fun to have one side yelling about gravy trains and the other yelling about loud-mouthed drunks, regardless of the facts at hand? Really, who wants an election decided on facts and reasoned argument?

Rob Ford: The gadfly that Toronto needs [Globe and Mail]
The logic behind Rob Ford’s bid to derail the ‘gravy train’ [Globe and Mail]
Mallick: Rob Ford as mayor? Are we nuts? [Toronto Star]
• Goar: Voters in the dark about finances [Toronto Star]