Is Rob Ford a “radical conservative”? The truth: probably not

Is Rob Ford a “radical conservative”? The truth: probably not

(Image: Christopher Drost)

This week, left-leaning city councillors have been throwing the term “radical conservative agenda” around like a football at a Ford family barbecue. The phrase is being used to describe Rob Ford’s proposed budget cuts, and while we think it’s probably safe to describe many of the cuts as, say, unnecessary, or even ideologically driven, we have to wonder if this clearly concerted push by council’s left may be slightly off the mark.

The Toronto Sun has the details:

“Radical conservative” has become left-leaning councillors’ newest weapon in the war of words with Mayor Rob Ford.

Ford’s foes started deploying the phrase in the first week of January as the debate over the 2012 budget heated up, with them dropping the term in one-on-one interviews, scrums and even committee meetings.

Councillor Gord Perks, who described the 2012 budget as part of the “radical conservative” agenda again on Monday, defined the term as “a deliberate attempt to destroy public services and to mislabel that as being absolutely necessary for financial reasons.”

We’ve said time and again that Ford appears more intent on reducing the size of government than on curbing spending—his budget cuts are often motivated by ideological considerations rather than pragmatic ones. But that doesn’t necessarily make him radical.

The Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee also argues that evidence of Ford’s radicalism is, in fact, pretty weak. School nutrition programs are safe, no library branches are going to be closed (at least not yet), and while the city is closing some wading pools, it’s doing so only to save others, or so says Team Ford. So we’d wager that Ford’s allies should have an easy time painting council’s lefties as a wee bit hysterical over this.

Toronto budget committee votes to chop library, but save two pools in Ford allies’ wards [Toronto Star]
Budget bartering saves two pools, but libraries still face 10-per-cent cut [Globe and Mail]
Ford not the ‘radical conservative’ opponents make him out to be [Globe and Mail]
Rob Ford’s budget committee sends library back to books [National Post]