Rob Ford wants money from Queen’s Park now that the ice storm crisis is essentially over
Last week’s ice storm put Rob Ford in an awkward position. He lost most of his emergency-management powers in November, when city council voted essentially to demote him as a result of his crack scandal. During extreme weather, there’s not much he can do now, other than allow others, including deputy mayor Norm Kelly, to do the brunt of the work.
There’s evidence that he struggled even with his lightened duties. A Star report cites sources who say Ford was nowhere to be found on the day after the storm until his press conference at 1:30 p.m. A routine visit with electricity-deprived TCHC residents a few days later turned into a debacle, as some of them took out their frustrations on the mayor. Throughout the week, he was criticized for not declaring a state of emergency—a move that would have given deputy mayor Kelly increased decision-making power. (Kelly faced his share of criticism too.)
And yet now, with the cleanup underway and fewer than 1,000 Toronto Hydro customers still without power, Ford seems to have found something to do with himself. He’s calling for a special meeting of city council on January 10 for the sole purpose of asking the province for relief funding. It’s not a bad idea. Aside from expenses borne directly by the city—including cleanup costs and possible insurance claims by residents—Toronto Hydro has reportedly spent about $1 million a day on repairs to Toronto’s electrical grid. Plus, many Torontonians lost entire refrigerators’ worth of food. Yes, Ford has argued against accepting money from higher levels of government in the past (he believes there’s “only one taxpayer”), but on the other hand, he voted with the rest of council to ask the province for flood relief after July’s rainstorm.
One of the few things Ford still has the legal authority to do is gently cajole other politicians into helping the city. In this instance, he seems to have realized this in the nick of time.