Me Myself And I

April 12, 2012

There’s safety in numbers
When you learn to divide
How can we be in
If there is no outside
All shades of opinion
Feed an open mind
But your values are twisted
Let us help you unwind
You may look like we do
Talk like we do
But you know how it is
You’re not one of us
Not one of us
No you’re not one of us

– Peter Gabriel, Not One Of Us

“My advice to the taxpayer would be don’t send us anymore activists, don’t send us anymore unionists, don’t send us anymore cyclists.” Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday

While Mayor Ford quietly reclined, lost in his own thoughts as his team was about to lose another key vote at council yesterday, his deputy mayor was not about to do down so tranquilly. With Councillor Ana Bailão’s motion – ostensibly to secure more city council oversight of the terms and conditions by which city services are contracted out – Councillor Holyday simply could not mask his dyspeptic reaction to the proceedings, noisily heckling Councillor Bailão to the point of tears as she told her own private story of cleaning office buildings as a teenager.

“My mom had to have two jobs,” Bailão said. “At age 15, I was cleaning offices downtown for two years. I know this industry, and these are new immigrants coming to this country. These are the most vulnerable people in this city.”

“You’re just protecting jobs for your union friends,” Holyday badgered. Repeatedly.

At which point, what had been a fairly orderly, amicable meeting, at least by Ford era standards, broke down into the usual rancor and disorder with Speaker Frances Nunziata moving to call an early lunch break to let matters simmer down some. It didn’t come to that. Council tussled through the last 20 minutes before recessing at its usual 12:30 time.

The deputy mayor then hustled up the chamber stairs to the press gallery where he continued to rant out loud about all the activists, unionists and cyclists who were, evidently, making his life at council damn near unmanageable. (The Toronto Sun’s Don Peat must just love the sight of Councillor Holyday walking toward him, spewing forth. It’s a bottomless pit of content.) Evidently, in his earlier life as a Etobicoke politician in pre-amalgamation Toronto, Mr. Holyday never had to contend with anyone who wasn’t just like him. Simpler times.

I can’t be alone in seeing the deputy mayor as that uncle everyone has who you inevitably wind up sitting beside at big family functions and he can’t stop talking about how things were in his day. When you didn’t have to ask for respect, you just got it. Where everyone knew their place, every one. And the surest entry into politics was through the Kiwanis club.

In other words, eminently unqualified to be anywhere near the levers of power for a major metropolitan city of 2.5 million people with an annual operating of over $9 billion. Yeah, taking care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves is a governing philosophy that simply doesn’t cut it.

The dubious and short-sighted economics of saving the city money by contracting out work at reduced wage rates and decreased benefits – god bless `em – aside… I mean, how could it possibly hurt the local economy in the long run, having people in the community make less money and need more social assistance to offset a loss of benefits?… the politics of the deputy mayor’s manner is mind-boggling.

Never mind his dismissal of the usual suspects since it’s hard to imagine his natural constituency is made up of many activists, unionists or cyclists. But his treatment of Councillor Bailão seems not only callous and cold-hearted, which smacks of overkill since Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong is a teammate who traverses that territory much more regularly, but ultimately self-defeating. While the deputy mayor very likely sees the world in the same black-and-white terms as Mayor Ford and anyone with differing opinions must be a union affiliated bike rider who hangs out in hash cafés where the NDP hold their municipal nominations, most others see Councillor Bailão as a moderate voice at council. Shit, the mayor tapped her to chair a special task force on the Toronto Community Housing Corp. and there he is, sitting back and watching the deputy mayor go all Abe Simpson on her?

It just seems like terrible politics.

In the end, Councillor Bailão’s item won and won big. Once more, the mayor found himself on the losing side of a two-thirds vote, flirting ever so close to further irrelevancy, he and his brother’s dream of selling off anything not nailed down suffering a severe setback. Yet, neither one said anything in an attempt to sway any of their colleagues their way. Only the deputy mayor spoke up and in the process did their cause no favours.

If anything, Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday reinforced the exact opposite example of what he suggested would help serve city council. Maybe taxpayers and citizens should stop sending angry, out of touch old guys to City Hall whose ‘common sense’ toward city building began and ended with regular viewings of Mayberry RFD. Given their dwindling numbers, it would be much easier turfing them then it would be the ever increasing activist councillors that they’re helping to create.

calmly submitted by Cityslikr


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