Unsurprising headlines of the future, “Rob Ford battles the TTC” edition

Unsurprising headlines of the future, “Rob Ford battles the TTC” edition

What will be Rob Ford’s first battle after he drops the “-elect” in mayor-elect? Will it be over multi-storey skating rinks? Will it be over the million-dollar bill the city is racking up for pandas? If Paul Wells’ first rule of politics—the least exciting outcome will happen—is right, then so is the Toronto Star’s prediction that the big fight coming Ford’s way will be over the TTC. At the heart of it all is Ford’s pledge to make it an essential service.

With negotiations set to begin in February between the TTC and the transit workers’ union, commuters could face a strike, in theory, as early as April 1. (In such an event, Wheel-Trans would continue to operate.)

Councillor Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport) says he’s prepared to quickly reintroduce a motion to make the TTC an essential service, which failed in 2008.

“I feel very confident the motion will pass,” he said Monday.

The Star article also mentions two important facts about this debate that may or may not be familiar to readers. First, if Ford and Palacio succeed, be prepared to pay more for transit (essential services get higher settlements). Second, and less commonly understood, is that the province might not even be able to declare the TTC essential without a fight—and Rob Ford knows how much court battles can cost the city. What will win out? Rob Ford’s desire to stop unionized gravy? Or cost-cutting?

Meanwhile, can we stop a second and ask why the Star is busy queuing up a fight over something that won’t happen until February at the earliest, and probably not after April Fool’s Day? The paper must have a lot of free time ever since Ford stopped talking to them.

• TTC labour talks loom over Ford’s ‘essential service’ pledge [Toronto Star]

(Image: Ford, Shaun Merritt)