Our Profligate Mayor (No, Not That One. The New Guy)

Hey. All you hard-ass, union haters out there. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the indignation? Yoo-hoo! Why so silent?

The city just rolled over and gave the Toronto Police Services an 11.5% wage increase over the next 4 years. My math is a little fuzzy but that doesn’t exactly work out to the 5% cut the mayor has demanded from all city departments, does it? “The police will give us concessions elsewhere,” Councillor Doug Ford said. Specifics to come, of course, but the TPS isn’t really known for its concessionary tactics.

“Of the thousands and thousands of doors I’ve knocked on,” the brother-councillor went on to tell the Globe, “there was not one complaint of how the police were paid.”

So instead of demanding across the board budget cuts we’re now selectively determining who deserves increases and who doesn’t, based on Councillor Ford’s informal door-to-door polling? The mayor and his team have been rigid in their insistence that any budgetary increase must be balanced with a corresponding cut. If the police services don’t provide such an offset to compensate for these new wage hikes, it’s got to come from somewhere else according to the mayor’s math. Does Doug then go out canvassing neighbourhoods asking folks who they think are overpaid by the city?

Ford scoffed at suggestions by Councillor Adam Vaughan (Councillor Ford regularly scoffs at anything Councillor Vaughan says) that the mayor had caved on the deal. “I find it ironic that the only people [on council] complaining about this deal are the ones responsible for a previous police contract that included a far larger increase than this one,” Mr. Ford said.

If memory serves, the expiring contract was a 3 year deal with a 10% wage increase. ‘A far larger increase’, Councillor Ford? That’s about a .4% difference. You guys are supposed to be the belt tighteners, aren’t you? An increase is an increase.

More to the point, anybody remember the outside workers’ strike in the summer of 2009? The one where Mayor Miller handed the keys to the city vault to the greedy unions and greased the rails for his exit? Yeah, I though you might. The wage settlement went like this: 1.75% in 2009, 2% in 2010 and 2.25% in 2011. That would be 6% over 3 years, nearly half of what Mayor Ford just conceded to the TPS.

So I ask again. Where’s all the chatter and clucking (aside from Councillor Vaughan) about the mayor caving into greedy union demands and breaking the bank? Where’s Budget Chief Mike “There. Is. No. More. Money.” Del Grande yelling and harrumphing about a lack of fiscal discipline? It seems in a Mayor Rob Ford’s Toronto, widows and orphans can get stuffed but the police? How much would you like, guys?

Do these imposters really deserve the dignified name of ‘fiscal conservatives’? Really, it’s more like fiscal ideologues. They are perfectly willing to spend money hand over fist with no regard for the bottom line when it suits their fancy. Just like their federal brethren that the mayor worked so hard to get elected to a majority government on Monday. Last year’s G20. Prisons. Engineless F-35s. Money is no object if it means conservative values are being upheld. Anything else is deemed special interest gravy.

curiously submitted by Cityslikr

Get A Job

A friend of mine was commissioned to paint a mural onto one of Toronto’s underpasses a couple years back. He told me that everyday during the week or so that it took him to complete it, a guy on a bicycle would ride past him in the morning shouting ‘Get A Job!’ Then again a few hours later, seemingly on his way back home from work the same thing. Get A Job!

An enduring schoolyard taunt meant to heap scorn, derision and contempt upon its intended target. And one used this past week by Councillor Doug Ford when he was aggressively confronted by a raging protester outside a budget committee meeting. It’s a Ford family favourite apparently, thrown around at least once before by the then councilor and now mayor, Rob Ford, during a 2005 meeting that was similarly besieged by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

Now I don’t begrudge Councillor Ford a response to someone who was literally in his face. I would’ve preferred to see him try and reduce the heightened tension by calmly listening to the protester and explaining what he was trying to do as a member of the budget committee. Failing that, I’d even be OK if the councillor simply told the guy to go fuck himself.

But the ‘get a job’ retort reveals an absolute lack of empathy or understanding toward a point of view that is different from the one Councillor Ford possesses. He clearly has no concept of what drives people toward protesting against what they perceive as injustice. Just like his brother who couldn’t understand what people were doing downtown during the G20 meeting last summer and thought their mere presence justified the police over-reaction. Nor does Councilor Ford get what people would be doing in the middle of the day, disrupting his business. Shouldn’t they be just like him, off somewhere doing a job?

What makes his ‘get a job’ shot even more disturbing is that it comes from a daddy-made millionaire who, in all likelihood, didn’t have to look very far to get work or spend much time polishing up his resumé. It’s a Marie Antoinette ‘let them eat cake’ (yeah, yeah, I know she probably didn’t really say it but it’s the sentiment I’m going for here) moment that reveals a stunning degree of cluelessness and callousness toward people struggling to get by especially in these dire economic times. Or toward those who have designated themselves defenders of the underrepresented underclass.

That Councillor Ford lied about having made the remark suggests somewhere in his consciousness he recognizes the inappropriateness of it although I haven’t seen or heard him issue an apology for doing so. So maybe he knows he shouldn’t have said it from an optics point of view but ultimately can’t understand why. This bodes ill for those he doesn’t agree with or whose plight the councillor isn’t sympathetic to. An age of nasty that seems to be the trademark of modern conservatives everywhere.

work like a doggingly submitted by Cityslikr