Power Moves: six city councillors making early political plays following Rob Ford’s ouster from office

Power Moves: six city councillors making early political plays following Rob Ford’s ouster from office

Since a judge took the unexpected, unprecedented step of kicking Rob Ford out of the mayor’s office on Monday, city hall watchers have alternated between pontificating and head-scratching. It seems that the only things everybody can agree on are that Ford definitely did something wrong and that nobody is quite sure what will happen next (and that transit is still a really, really big problem). Meanwhile, a handful of city councillors, who are ultimately going to be responsible for guiding Toronto through the turmoil, have already begun early jockeying for position in the brave new post-Rob Ford world. While Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam and other left-leaners have used the opportunity to loudly blast Ford and call for a new era at city hall, Ford’s supporters must negotiate the most delicate political manoeuvring. Below, we look at how Ford and six of city hall’s other power players are responding to the bombshell news.

• The players: Rob and Doug Ford
• The play: A three-part plan that includes a brotherly switcheroo
• The details: Soon after the judge’s decision, Ford’s inner circle gathered in Etobicoke to strategize. The best-case scenario for the camp is that an appeal, which could be heard as soon as January 7, will be successful, meaning Rob gets to keep his job. The second scenario is that the ruling stands, council calls a by-election and Rob runs and wins. (Toronto’s solicitor said the decision bars Ford from running in a by-election—he’d have to wait until 2014—but Ford’s lawyer believes Ford can run again in 12 days.) In the last option, Rob is barred from running, so Doug will run in his place. Rob, meanwhile, will take on Doug’s plan to move into provincial politics. No matter what, Doug told the Toronto Star, “Our team is ready” for a by-election. Judging from Rob’s recent admit-nothing apology, the spin machine is up and running.
• The aspiration: To keep one of the Ford brothers in the mayor’s office, no matter what. They’re virtually interchangeable, after all.

• The player: Erstwhile loyal Ford ally Giorgio Mammoliti
• The play: A swift step away from the Ford camp
• The details: Citing calls from constituents and a feeling in his gut, Mammoliti quit the mayor’s executive committee almost immediately (Doug Ford said Mammo was mad because he didn’t get the committee appointments he wanted). Mammoliti also said Ford should allow Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday to lead the city while the appeal is ongoing instead of seeking a stay on the penalty.
The aspiration: When asked if he would put his name forward for the mayoralty, Mammo responded, “I may decide to throw my hat in the race eventually. Who knows what’s going to happen?”

• The player: Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday
• The play: A cool agreement to take over as mayor if needed
• The details: Holyday said he was completely surprised by the decision, but hasn’t exactly stuck up for the big guy. “If he’s finally tossed out,” Holyday said, “then council will have to decide how to go forward.”
The aspiration: Holyday will step in as interim mayor if Ford’s stay isn’t granted. As for whether he would run to keep the job, the former mayor of Etobicoke said he’s not ruling anything out.

• The player: Right-leaning councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong
• The play: A newfound passion for making nice with the left
• The details: When the executive committee member appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning with vocal Ford critic Shelley Carroll, he was pushing a PR-friendly message of bipartisanship. Minnan-Wong rejected Ford’s assertion that he was removed because of left-wing politics, stating, “I think that’s false and not entirely appropriate.” He also refused to answer repeat questions about whether he still supports Ford, confirming only that he still backs Ford’s “agenda.”
• The aspiration: Minnan-Wong told Matt Galloway, ”I’d consider being a candidate [for mayor], but I’m not making any announcements today.”

• The player: Centrist and executive committee newbie Josh Colle
• The play: A flight from the mayor’s executive committee—for family reasons, of course
• The details: Like Mammoliti, Colle decided to step down from the executive committee. Unlike Mammoliti, he was never actually on the committee. Colle’s appointment was scheduled for approval yesterday, but the councillor said that, with a young family at home, he wanted to be sure his ”time was focused in the right area.”
• The aspiration: None voiced as of yet.

• The player: Budget chief Mike Del Grande
• The play: An admission that he never liked Ford all that much
• The details: Like other executive committee members Peter Milczyn and Michael Thompson, Del Grande said he still supports Ford’s agenda. However, he said “the jury is still out” on the mayor and admitted that he had reservations about Ford during the last election. “At the time when he was a candidate, he was the best of the worst.”
• The aspiration: None voiced as of yet.

(Images: Rob Ford, Doug Ford, Giorgio Mammoliti, Doug Holyday, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Josh Colle, Christopher Drost; Mike Del Grande,