Rob Ford says no to (free!) nurses, once again turning down (free!) provincial dollars for health

Rob Ford says no to (free!) nurses, once again turning down (free!) provincial dollars for health

(Image: State Library of South Australia)

A pattern appears to be forming when it comes to Rob Ford and public health resources: first, the province offers the city something for nothing, and then the mayor says, “No, thank you.” The first time, Ford voted against HIV and syphilis screening money, pointing out that the province wasn’t offering provincial dollars, but taxpayer dollars. Then, earlier this week, Ford’s executive committee voted to defer (read: ignore forever) Queen’s Park’s offer of two nurses for Toronto Public Health.

The Toronto Sun reports:

Health board chairman Councillor John Filion called the committee’s surprise decision bizarre, distressing and unprecedented.

“I can only assume the decision was based on a jumble of ideology and misunderstanding,” Filion said Tuesday.

He stressed the $170,000 in provincial cash would have been ongoing funding, not a one-time cash injection.

“This won’t cost the city a cent,” Filion said.

It’s one thing to get a noted Ford critic like Filion in a tizzy (he also appeared on the CBC’s Metro Morning with Matt Galloway, who seemed just as puzzled as we are). But even members of Ford’s executive committee disagreed with the move. The Sun quotes Denzil Minnan-Wong as saying the provincial offer “made sense to me.” Of course, this isn’t necessarily the end of the debate (procedure alert!): it’s possible for city council to “seize” an item from another committee if two thirds of the votes on council agree to reverse the decision. But that’s a tall order at city hall these days, considering how lock-stepped Ford’s allies are on any given day. But if the Ford honeymoon really is ending, it may just be possible. In the meantime, all we can do is stay tuned.

Free nurses? No thanks, says Mayor Rob Ford [Toronto Star]
Ford’s decision on nurses ‘bizarre, strange’ [Toronto Sun]
Metro Morning: “Beyond Strange” [CBC]