John Filion wants to curb Rob Ford’s mayoral powers fearing he’s going to do something impulsive
A municipal politics lesson courtesy of the Toronto Star: the employee and labour relations committee, made up mainly of Rob Ford’s allies, has the power to lock out city workers—without council’s approval. So, in an effort to add a little more consultation to the bargaining process, John Filion is proposing making council approval necessary. His proposal—which, really, will probably never get beyond the Ford-friendly executive committee—would lessen the city’s bargaining power while also keeping the mayor on a shorter leash, because apparently rumours have him worried that Ford “might be planning to do something impulsive.”
The Star has more:
Mark Ferguson, president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 416, which represents outdoor workers, said a “very highly placed individual” had confirmed to him that Ford plans a lockout.
“It would be hard on residents, and hard on the people who care for our kids and collect our garbage…Knowing that council could potentially insert itself in the process is a very good thing, in my estimation,” Ferguson said.
For Ford to lock out city employees certainly wouldn’t be out of character, but the Star’s sourcing regarding the alleged “rumours” here is admittedly thin (relying on a second-hand, anonymous account). That said, Ford’s brash personality and anti-union reputation appears to be working against him.
Filion, for his part, is a left-leaning councillor—but he’s not exactly an ideologue. He voted in favour of privatizing garbage collection and making the TTC an essential service. Although Filion might know something we don’t, he appears to be making the proposal at least partially based on his distrust of Ford. (For the record, Filion did say that he was unaware that the committee maintained the same power to lock out workers when David Miller was mayor.) Still, this could be another example of Ford’s reputation creating his own opposition—perhaps councillors wouldn’t be trying to shorten his leash if he wasn’t already known to be rather brazen around labour issues.
(Images: Christopher Drost)