The Mayor Of Small Things

June 7, 2012

Just a quick update before heading back to City Hall the day after what can only be described as the craziest fucking spectacle I have witnessed in my short time council watching.

Follow the bouncing ball with me on this one:

On the campaign trail in 2010, candidate for mayor Rob Ford had no real problem with the 5¢ plastic bag fee except for the fact it went into the pockets of retailers. What he wanted instead was to see the fee go into some environmental program. Which is exactly what councillor and Executive Committee member Michelle Berardinetti proposed to do, have merchants submit the money to the city’s tree canopy program. But in 2012, now mayor Rob Ford had decided the plastic bag fee was a tax. Tax is bad. Tax must go.

With the maladroit, anti-Midas touch he’s exhibited over the last 10 months or so, Mayor Ford managed to elevate a largely inconsequential matter into a titanic, monumental struggle, blowing up a mountain to a molehill to die on. After nearly 7 hours of largely eye-splittingly mundane debate – oftentimes focusing on the proper material to pick up after your pet with – the mayor beat back Councillor Berardinetti’s motion (and by beat back, I mean wrestle into submission with a draw) and have the fee rescinded only to watch a total plastic bag ban motion by another member of his Executive Committee, Councillor David Shiner, win handily.

Ludicrous,” is how the mayor referred to the ban as if it’s not a course of action a growing number of municipalities are taking from megalopolis Los Angles to heart of the Alberta oil sands Fort MacMurray.

The rumblings have started that this is the exact kind of wedge issue Mayor Ford was looking for in his bid for re-election in 2+ years hence. Certainly all the angry populist ingredients are there. Little guy mayor fights to remove the onerous 5¢ (6 if you include the HST, the mayor and his supporters like to point out) from off of the backs of Ford Nation but an out-of-control council swoops in and delivers a kooky, elitist blow to deprive hard working families of their right to free plastic bags.

But 2014 is a long way off and as more and more cities ban plastic bags, it may well be the acceptable norm by then. And really, what kind of winning ring does Mayor Rob Ford, Champion Of Plastic Bags have?

Stay tuned and until tomorrow…

on locationally submitted by Cityslikr