Ask Mikey

I write not to disparage the Ford Brothers’ weight loss contest. Good for them using their very public profiles to set an example for making a positive lifestyle choice, getting healthier, and to do so so openly, declaring this tough goal in front of millions of people. Although, to play devil’s advocate for a moment, the mayor has a history of making public claims and not living up to them. No service cuts, guaranteed springs immediately to mind. That said, good luck to him and his councillor brother, Doug, in their endeavour. No one’s going to be hurt if they do shed some pounds.

No, my scepticism about the whole exercise is purely based on timing. Yes, it’s January, the time of year when such attempts are resolved. But it’s mid-January. Newly purchased gym memberships have already been abandoned by many. Why this particular Monday in the month to kick off such a high profile PR stunt resolution?

How about this?

Cut The Waist

See, with the tape measure wrapped around the CN Tower? Waist. Waste. Cut the Waste. Cut the Waist.

Oh, that’s right! I almost forgot. It’s budget week here in Toronto. With the axe hanging over bus routes, community centres and programs, swimming pools, libraries, etc., etc., Mayor Ford wants us all to know that he’s concerned not just about his weight but our collective weight, as it were. The weight of waste and the heart stopping habit of over-spending. Heavy indebtedness is a recipe for a short life.

It’s mind-boggling in its blatant transparency only made that much more startling in how we’ve all fallen for it. Here I am writing about it. In another tweet from this morning’s press conference, the Star’s Daniel Dale said he’s never seen so many reporters outside the mayor’s office as there was for the official weigh in. Hey everybody. Cut the waist. Cut the waste.

A distraction? A misdirect in the sleight of hand magic of averting the crowd’s eyes away from where the real action is happening? Momentarily, perhaps. But I think the bigger intention in all the hubbub is to try and recapture a little of the olde tyme campaign magic and re-humanize Mayor Ford. Remember the plain spoke candidate, just one of youse folks who promised to be looking out for the little guy? Yeah, him. A year plus in, and he’s not changed. He’s not that nasty ogre who’s threatened to close libraries and community centres, bus service, swimming pools, the hardship fund, the Christmas bureau. He’s just one of us, struggling with the same things we struggle with like weight loss and living a healthy life. Mayor Ford is simply doing what needs to done, am I right?

He’s not a monster, people. The mayor isn’t some hard-hearted ideologue bent on reconfiguring the city into a place more fitting to his world view. Where hard working people like us always prosper and the poor get what they deserve which is nothing because they insist on taking the easy route of remaining poor and dependant on the goodwill of others. That’s not our mayor as proven by his decision to lose weight.

That’s our budget chief.


If it wasn’t obvious before, it couldn’t be clearer now. (And truthfully, we’ve put forth the following supposition previously here.) Councillor Mike Del Grande was not instilled as Mayor Ford’s budget chief because of his mad accountancy skillz, yo. His appointment to the post had much more to do with his ready acceptance of the role of the sour, hideous face of the far right, radical conservative bent of this administration. He wears the badge with honour. He truly believes himself to be brave in the tough choices he’s making. Yes, Budget Chief Del Grande thinks it’s brave and honourable to attack the most vulnerable of this city’s citizens.

Why wouldn’t you make him your budget chief if that was your intention from the outset and you didn’t want to get your hands dirty?

The remarkable thing about his frank August chit-chat with a constituent that was furtively recorded and published in the Toronto Star last week was that it caused any kind of ripple at all. Some specifics might’ve been new but none of the budget chief’s views on display were. He riffs on the same themes openly and frequently.

Being poor, or at least, remaining poor is a lifestyle choice? Check. Welfare cheques=beer and/or cupcakes? Check. Widows and orphans need tough love not handouts. Check.

Uncharitable, shall we call it? No problem. The budget chief views it as being realistic.

“Yes, there are poor people in the world, okay, but poor people will be with us forever, like it’s been from the moment of time.”

What drives an individual with this kind of belief system to become a public servant? It’s clearly not for the betterment of society. They aren’t trying to make the world a more equitable or benevolent place. Do people really go into politics just to keep taxes low? What I’d really like to hear from someone like Mike Del Grande is how Toronto would look, if he were to have unfettered control of municipal governance, after he was done.

As we head into the final leg of the 2012 budget process this week, he’s really the person we should be posing that question to. Not because he’s actually making the decisions, no, but because he will, in all likelihood, give you an honest answer. It may not be pretty or in the least bit comforting but it’ll be unvarnished, free of spin and the distraction that the mayor and his brother will offer up.

We’re just cutting waist, cutting waste. Get it?

weighing inly submitted by Cityslikr

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