In a marathon session, council gives Rob Ford everything he wants
Despite some early bets that the mayor wouldn’t get everything he wanted out of council, Rob Ford has so far gotten everything he wanted and then some. Car tax? Gone. TTC strikes? Gone (pending provincial action). Councillor office budgets? Slashed. And in not a single case was the vote particularly close—the votes were 39-6, 28-17 and 40-5, respectively. In order to clear the decks in one sitting, council ran for 12 hours almost uninterrupted, sitting until after 9 p.m. last night.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, was just the first meeting of the new Ford order (Forder?).
There was much talk throughout the sitting of how, this early in his mandate, the mayor should to be given some leeway to meet his election promises. This could sometimes go too far, like when Michael Thompson made us sad by repeating the zombie “fact” that Ford won “more votes than any Canadian politician in history,” something that has the twin faults of being over-the-top and untrue.
There are some troubling signs of the way the mayor runs his shop: any and all questions about the costs of the elimination of the car tax were simply waved away by the mayor as something that would be dealt with at budget time. So could council consider the tax cut at the regular budget time instead? No. And when Janet Davis tried to move just that it went down 29-10. What happens if and when council has to approve changes to the TTC that are likely to be very, very expensive? Will cost questions be waved off then, too?
One last note—a councillor we paid some special attention to yesterday was Mary-Margaret McMahon, who replaced Sandra Bussin representing Ward 32. Despite representing a ward that voted overwhelmingly against the Mayor (2:1 for either George Smitherman or Joe Pantalone), McMahon voted with the mayor on every single important matter, including shooting down motions that would have simply slowed down the Ford steamroller. Wonder what her constituents think of the rush to dump Bussin now?