Disrespect For Democracy

Phee-ew. That’s a relief.

It seems when Sideshow Doug started spewing forth his twisted vision of a Disneyland waterfront earlier this week, he wasn’t just flying by the seat of his pants, making shit up as fast as the words could tumble from his mouth. No. We hear tell today that, in fact, this has been in the works for months with developers and designers already chiming in with their thoughts and ideas. There has been a plan taking shape, quietly out of public view…

Wait, what?

I thought the Ford Administration was going to be all about openness and transparency. Out there on the campaign hustings last year, fresh-faced candidate Rob promised if elected that he would put an end to all those backroom, sweetheart deals that were, apparently, going on around City Hall during the Miller era. I have no idea if the waterfront plans he’s concocting will qualify as a sweetheart deal but they certainly are looking awfully backroom-ish at this point.

Where have you gone, honest Rob-io? Ford Nation turned its lonely eyes to you.

Try as you might to parse it favourably but it’s damn near impossible to see this as anything other than backroom wheeling and dealing, and another broken campaign promise to toss in pieces onto the ever growing list of broken campaign promises. During the campaign, the mayor said Toronto couldn’t afford to develop the waterfront. Now he’s looking to assume control of a portion of it from the senior levels of government so the city can develop away. But it won’t cost us a thing, of course, as everything will be left up to the magic of the private sector. So I guess that technically doesn’t count as a broken campaign promise. Just slightly altered with a pinch of wishful thinking.

How many times does this have to happen, this easy discarding of platform planks that got the mayor elected, before there’s a significant bleeding of support by those who had put their hopes in Rob Ford not being just another dishonest politician with a disregard for those who voted for him? Accountability, he pledged. Respect, la la la. Now, in a desperate bid to keep from inflicting massive services cuts that he guaranteed wouldn’t happen, Team Ford has set its greedy sights on a sellable city asset, fucking with a plan for the waterfront that’s already in place and that has the support of more than just simply left wing kooks and the downtown elite. What’s that you say, John Tory?

During this week’s hubbub over Doug Ford’s backroom vision for the waterfront, a minor set-to bubbled up when Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam sent a letter to the mayor, decrying his kingly decree that Toronto would not express any interest in hosting the 2020 Olympic Games. Whether or not it was a good idea to pursue such a venture is entirely beside the point. It’s the manner in which the mayor decided, by ‘fiat’ the councillor wrote, that should be of concern. Hardly the open or democratic style the mayor promised his administration would be. Another thumbing of his nose at Ford Nation.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was dutifully summoned to defend Mayor Ford in the obtuse, petulant styling that is his trademark. “… if the mayor actually had said he was supporting it [an Olympic bid], she would be the first one to criticize the fact that he was moving forward with this without going to council to begin with.” Uhh, yeah councillor, she probably would. That was the point of the letter. The unilateral way the mayor’s office announced a decision on an Olympic bid from Toronto. Did you actually read it before publicly popping off?

The mayor didn’t say that he was against pursuing a bid but if council thought it was a good idea, well hey, that’s how democracy works. No. He and his brother and the deputy mayor simply stated we couldn’t afford it. End of story. But how about that ferris wheel, folks?

Isn’t that the very antithesis of the openness, transparency and accountability the mayor promised he’d institute if elected? He’s not even pretending that he’s listening to the voters at this point. Gone is the usual claim of receiving hundreds of calls from taxpayers demanding we not try for the Olympics or that we put a monorail and shopping mall in place of the waterfront plans that have been in the works for a decade now.

It would appear that the trappings of power have gone to our once humble, folksy, just one of youse guys mayor. He’s become quite comfortable regally pronouncing policy, avoiding debate and votes when he can, bullying the necessary numbers at council when he must. It’s disconcerting that so many councillors have simply accepted their role as nothing more than fawning courtiers but the real tragedy is if the once feisty and outspoken Ford Nation falls submissively in line as His Worship’s loyal subjects.

in a (Gar)funkely submitted by Cityslikr

4 thoughts on “Disrespect For Democracy

  1. With Brazil holding the Olympics in 2016 & South Korea; Winter Olympics in 2018. It would be the turn of a North American country vs the 6 announced! Plus we would have the Pan Am Games facilities that have to be developed on the Waterfront by 2015.

    Wong Tam knows first hand and soon those 47% who voted for Ford will realize the law of unintended consequences…

  2. Populism is popular because it is paternalistic. No one who supports Ford, I think, really cares that much about democracy or trusts their intelligence on public matters.

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