I won’t be the first to say this but perhaps what we’re witnessing right now with Mayor Ford’s shout out to NDP leader Andrea Horwath to withhold her party’s support of the proposed provincial budget and trigger an election is something more of a family psychodrama than it is any sort of political strategy.
Granted, outside of the campaign trail, no one’s ever suggested that the mayor and his crack team of operatives conduct business with any sort of long view in mind. No, that’s not true. All of Team Ford’s focus is on one long view: 2014. Everything they do stems from the desire to get the mayor through to the start of the 2014 campaign not impossibly unre-electable in the belief that they are wizards of campaigning and that all the elements of 2010 will once more coalesce in their favour.
Outside of that, it’s pretty much m’eh to any sort of tactical manoeuvring that exceeds a 10 hour news cycle. It’s little more than drive-by slightings and feigned indignation. Translate “Here’s What Gets My Goat Today” into Latin and you’d have the Ford administration’s official motto.
Under normal circumstances, a mayor’s urging of an opposition party to defeat the government at Queen’s Park would be something of an eye-popper. Such partisan involvement can turn counter-productive in future relationships between a municipality and their ultimate bosses at the province. Circumspection might be a better hand to play.
We are hardly living in normal circumstances, however. This is another Hail Mary pass flung up by the Ford camp in the hopes that an Ontario election in the next couple months or so will see the election of Tim Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives to power. With a winning roll of the dice (mixing of my sports metaphors duly noted), all of Mayor Ford’s dreams will come true, and there will be a magical appearance of subways, subways, subways in time to bolster his own re-election chances next year.
And what if the PC’s don’t win? Previous administrations might’ve worried that there’d be some retribution handed out by any other party that formed the government. As long as a mayor who openly pulled for the losing side remained in power, cooperation from the province would be at a minimum.
But maybe Team Ford realizes what we all pretty much know at this point. That aside from Hudak’s PCs, no one really sees this mayoralty as relevant to the actual running of this city. A minor nuisance perhaps; a raging megaphone of no, no, no, can’t that produces little more than noise and increasingly easily surmountable obstacles. So if not Hudak now, when?
Just another impetuous outburst in a long list of growing list of mental belches.
Of course, it’s no coincidence that Mayor Ford’s closest confidant is the one person in the province who wants an election like nobody’s six sigma business, councillor-brother Doug. Having quickly grown bored with the daily trifling matters of local politics, the mayor’s older brother wants to take his non-politician act up the road to Queen’s Park where, presumably, he’s told his little brother once installed there, they’ll rule this city like kings. No more will they have to bend to contend with the plebes on city council. Mayor Rob. MPP Doug. The Dynamic Duo.
Maybe the mayor actually believes his brother. That the PCs are a cinch to win the next election if it happens soon. That Doug will have no problem unseating a well established incumbent who has had little trouble winning and defending the riding for three straight elections. That once elected, Doug will automatically ascend to the levers of power at Queen’s Park and call the shots of what happens in Toronto.
It’s possible the mayor actually believes all that. After all, he remains adamant that the private sector will happily build public transit and it won’t cost taxpayers a dime. Wishful thinking constitutes much of his approach to governance.
Or maybe, Mayor Ford would happily see the end of his brother’s time at City Hall. For all the initial hope that Doug would be a moderating influence on his brother, that maybe he was the smart one, it’s kind of proven to be the exact opposite. If anything, Councillor Ford has provided an even more extreme element to this mayoralty, an unhealthy nudge away from consensus and collaboration with council colleagues. The deal-breaker not the deal maker.
A successful run for a seat at Queen’s Park by Doug could provide a beneficial distance between the brothers, a more productive work environment. Too much right wing ideology in one room can make it impossible for anyone to breath. Even those comfortable with the smell of sulphur.
But maybe I’m putting altogether too much thought into this.
The mayor pops off as regularly as he shows up for work after noon. Exhorting the NDP to defeat the Liberal government and trigger an election was just something he said. No more thought put into than it took to string the words together. Analyzing it or sifting through it for a deeper meaning is a fruitless exercise.
And there’s about 850 words and a few hours I’ll never be getting back.
— should-know-betterly submitted by Cityslikr