The Solution to the Rob Ford Circus? Let the People Decide!
Apparently Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s new PR media strategy is to get on as many American television networks as possible in the bizarre belief that somehow that will get his message across to the folks back home. If that’s true, he may want to work on his talking points just a tad. His approach on CNN wasn’t significantly better than it is with the local media in Toronto.
After being asked questions he didn’t really like he blurted out:
“It’s typical media: you guys are the same, you’re all cut from the same cloth, you guys can spin it any way you want.”
That certainly isn’t going to win him new friends and influence the media nor is this:
“I don’t look at myself as the mayor, I look at myself as just a normal, regular person.”
I think that’s precisely the point Mr. Mayor. An overwhelming number of people don’t look on you as the mayor either. The latest poll indicated that 75% of the people of Toronto want you gone.
The federal conservatives have been fairly quiet about it all and who can blame them? The Prime Minister did work up the courage to call the Ford situation ‘troubling’ but only after his office released a statement that somehow managed to work Justin Trudeau into it. The guys in the PMO are so good at this stuff that I’m surprised actually that they didn’t blame Trudeau for the hurricane in the Philippines.
One of the few bright lights in the Conservative Cabinet these days; Jason Kenney called on Rob Ford to resign and calling his actions dishonourable to himself and to his office.
You’ll remember that Jason Kenney was also the first conservative to publicly defend the character of the PMO’s former Chief of Staff, Nigel Wright, after the Prime Minister tossed him under the bus when things got a little heated in Question Period.
The provincial government has tiptoed around the issue which isn’t a bad thing. The premier was not elected to her office by the people and it would set an unfortunate precedent for her to oust a duly elected official from office for anything less than the most egregious behaviour – although I believe Rob Ford is probably getting close to egregious if not disgusting.
The media continue to write and talk about it but you can tell that their hearts aren’t really in it anymore. I think a lot of them would like to move on to cover news that doesn’t leave them wanting a shower after filing their piece.
After promoting their ‘World Wide Exclusive’ on Monday, Sun News announced late in the day yesterday that they were pulling the plug on the Rob and Doug Show they ballyhooed with so much enthusiasm the day before. The official reason given was cost overruns based on the fact that there was five hours of taping and editing for the show. The show did pull in their highest ever audience so you kind of wonder why they wouldn’t try to trim costs while maintaining the audience but let’s go with cost cutting. I’m sure that the criticism and mockery of the first episode of Ford Nation, along with the serious hit to Sun’s credibility had nothing to do with the cancellation.
The whole Ford thing reminds me more of a cult than anything else. You have a sitting mayor who has admitted to breaking a string of criminal laws, lied about it, has a drinking problem, smokes marijuana and crack but his diehard supporters think he’s a great guy. Integrity, ethics, principle, dignity, even legality mean nothing to them. It’s not Rob Ford’s fault, it’s the media, it’s the elite, it’s city council and for some – well – there’s always the Liberals to blame.
Sort of sounds like the same drivel and adoring rationalization that come from David Suzuki’s or Justin Trudeau’s most rabid followers doesn’t it?
So it appears to be a stalemate. Despite increasing calls for his resignation, Rob Ford refuses to recognize that he has crossed the line and no longer has the moral authority to govern. He is like a spoiled kid who kicks and screams and threatens and bullies until he gets his own way.
Only, he isn’t going to get his own way this time.
Personally, I think the solution lies in taking him and his brother at their word and call a special election. Turn the decision over to the people of Toronto and let them decide.
Oh, I know, there are all kinds of issues like giving candidates the time to prepare and finance a campaign but what the hell, why not have the province give each registered candidate a specific amount of money and enact one-time legislation that they can only spend that amount on their campaign. I know it’s more taxpayer money but the Liberals have squandered billions so another $10 million or so isn’t going to matter much and if it ends this train wreck, it would be money well spent – certainly better than what McGuinty spent on full-day kindergarten and cancelling gas plants.
Of course, a key issue would be whether or not there are other candidates.
There’s been lots of hemming and hawing on the sidelines from people like John Tory, Olive Chow and Adam Vaughan but none of them have actually declared yet. They’re still doing that coy, ‘coax me’ dance that politicians do after they’ve decided to run but before they’re prepared to announce their decision.
No matter. Call the election and let candidates come forward – or not – as they choose. The people of Toronto should be no more delayed in deciding how to resolve this by candidates who ‘might’ want to run at some point than the current evil Muppet they already have.
Of course, I don’t really have much experience with organizing elections and maybe it would require more than sixty odd days to get ‘er done. No worries; hold a referendum. Put a simple question to the citizens of Toronto:
“Do you support the removal of Mayor Rob Ford from his position and having the Deputy Mayor fill the role of Acting Mayor until after the next municipal election?”
Either way, it is the people that would decided the issue.
There wouldn’t be any difficulty passing the legislation even though the Wynne Government is a minority government. The Conservatives under Tim Hudak have already announced they will support legislation to oust the mayor and calling an election would be more palatable to them than voting to kick a fellow conservative from office.
An election or a referendum is a win-win for everybody. Rob Ford is already on the record that he wants one so call his bluff. A vote by the people lets all politicians provincially and on Toronto City Council off the hook by transferring responsibility for the outcome to citizens. It would give the media something new to talk about (much to their relief). There is no loser if the people make the decision – other than the people, of course, if they don’t choose wisely.
But then, that’s both the strength and weakness of democracy – in a democracy the people have the right to be wrong and – well – we often are.
But despite our poor batting average in the voting booth; let’s give it another go and have an election at the end of January or a referendum even sooner. There’s nothing much happening after New Year’s anyway and having Rob Ford and his brother continuing this gong show all through the Christmas season would be like having to listen to the Grinch sing Christmas carols off key all month.
Let’s have an election or referendum and let the people decide. If they vote to toss him out – well – at that point, Rob Ford will have no more arrows in his quiver and we can all go back to whining about Justin Trudeau.
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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