Reaction Roundup: what the pundits are saying about Rob Ford’s humiliating Sheppard defeat

Reaction Roundup: what the pundits are saying about Rob Ford’s humiliating Sheppard defeat

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Though Rob Ford did everything he could think of (short of making a pie chart, at least), his dream of a Sheppard subway extension finally died yesterday afternoon when city council voted in favour of a light rail line. After a brief sulk, Ford came out as pugnacious as ever, vowing “the campaign starts now and I’m willing to take anyone on, streetcars against subways in the next election.” Fine, but how will the mayor manage for the more than two years to go before then? We rounded up what the pundits think about the circus transit vote, and what it means for the mayor.

1. Ford has no one to blame but himself
Ford failed to understand that his plan vague idea of a subway on Sheppard required the support of his colleagues and a workable funding plan, argues the Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee. Instead, he tried to rally support using bravado, slogans and simplistic speeches.

2. The mayor is reverting back to his role as an outsider on council
After hearing Ford speak at council yesterday, it’s tough to deny that he truly believes light rail transit has the potential to ruin the city—and he’s not interested in being persuaded otherwise, write the folks at Torontoist. Rather than showing the leadership his colleagues expect of him, Hamutal Dotan argues, Ford is retreating into the role he played as a councillor: the outsider.

3. If Ford were game, he could still do some good over the next two years
If Ford wants to get some work done, he could fire some of the staffers who helped create this mess, reach outside his group of allies and assemble a working group “to develop some kind of high-level agenda for the balance of this term.” That was John Lorinc’s advice, at least. But his piece for Spacing Toronto hadn’t been online long before he had to attach an addendum: Ford pledged to keep fighting against LRTs and said the province should withhold money from the city. Not exactly the olive branch Lorinc was looking for.

4. Ford’s allies very cautiously jump ship
The Globe and Mail takes a look at what support Ford might still have on council and finds, well, not much. Though they’re stopping short of outright attacks, even some of council’s staunchest conservatives are lamenting Ford’s lack of leadership on the transit file.

5. Or Toronto could just have no transit at all
Always looking to elevate the discourse, the Toronto Sun‘s Mike Strobel takes Doug Ford’s “monkeys” comment and spins it into an entire column. After a raft of primate puns, Strobel writes that the province should withdraw its $8.4 billion in funding and that Toronto needs to seek private financing for transit. We’re pretty sure that similar thinking was at the core of Rob Ford’s failed strategy.

Ford’s leadership failure killed his own subway dream [Globe and Mail]
LRT for Sheppard, Fighting Words for Ford [Torontoist]
LORINC: Mayor Ford fumbles for third time on transit [Spacing Toronto]
Transit defeat leaves Ford on rocky ground [Globe and Mail]
That’s our $8.4 billion they’re wasting on LRTs [Toronto Sun]