Shooting The Messengers

March 27, 2015

What the fuck is up with city council?

Just days away from yet another sanctioned apology from Rob Ford by the Integrity Commissioner for yet another ethical lapse on his part while serving as mayor wtf– What for this time? The use of ethnic/racial slurs – and a lobbyist registrar’s report of improper lobbying of then Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, then conuncillor, Doug, by one of their family business’ clients, a couple freshman councillors are bringing a motion to next week’s council meeting that would diminish the oversight of all four accountability offices through amalgamation.

It’s as if, seeing the slime trail left behind by the Fords (and a few other councillors) from last term, the response is to lessen the ooze by checking the investigative process instead of changing the greasy behaviour.

What exactly these new councillors, motion mover, Stephen Holyday, and seconder, Justin Di Ciano have against the accountability officers is difficult to fathom. They’ve been in office for less than four months. Some sort of pre-emptive axe grinding? Who knows. metooBut it is another full frontal attack on the accountability offices that began at the last budget committee meeting with a Councillor Michelle Berardinetti walk on motion to reject all increased funding requests by the Ombudsman and Integrity Commissioner. A motion supported by Councillor Di Ciano and another rookie Etobicoke councillor, John Campbell (not to mention the budget chief himself, Gary Crawford).

Mayor John Tory managed to walk that one back ever so slightly, pushing a motion at the following council meeting to partially restore the funding request a slight fraction. A gesture which amounted to little more than seeing the Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, announce she would not be seeking reappointment, fearing the `divisiveness’ would do long term harm to the office itself. Good job, Creanie, is essentially how the mayor greeted that news, and then his Executive Committee passed a motion to keep future Ombudsman’s gigs to just one, 7 year term, replacing the current 2 term, 5 years each, the 2nd, renewable at council’s pleasure, thereby reducing the politicking of the appointment process to just a one-time thing. Probably pragmatic politics but for the absolute wrong reasons.

I mean, what reason is there to resist strengthening oversight of the operations at City Hall, both the public service and elected officials? There’s been no credible criticism of the job any of the accountability officers have done. Report after report from them has been accepted by city council and city staff, many recommendations implemented. pokeintheeyeThis has never been a question of competence or performance.

So, what then?

There is no good or satisfying answer to that. Various councillors, including one currently under criminal investigation for accepting $80,000 from a fundraiser back in 2013, have seen the accountability investigations as some sort of witch hunt. During the hyper-partisan years of the Ford Administration, the work done by the Ombudsman, Integrity Commissioner, Lobbyist Registrar became characterized as some sort of left-right issue, non-elected bodies trying to undermine the democratic will of the voters of Toronto. These weren’t misdeeds or missteps being committed, but acts running contrary to the sore losers on the left.

Such were dynamics of the day.

Yet these motions seem intent on dragging this past fractiousness forward, keeping the matter alive. The mayor, councillors Campbell, Di Ciano, Holyday had nothing to do with any of it. Now they seem to want to join the fray. (Matt Elliott has his usual excellent insight into the seemingly passive-aggressive role Mayor Tory’s playing in this sad melodrama.) suffocateIt’s not even clear whether the motion will be in order, if it contravenes the City of Toronto Act, which had established the accountability offices or would require changing that act.

With so much else that needs tending to in Toronto, we all know the list: infrastructure, affordable housing, transit, why are councillors wasting their time, as well as ours, and, undoubtedly, threatening to further dig a partisan divide, by attacking and diminishing the accountability offices?

We need to listen very carefully to each and every councillor who rises to speak in favour of this motion next week at city council. They must spell out clearly and concisely why they think folding 4 offices into 2, 4 offices which overlap only in the function of providing oversight, will help to increase transparency and public scrutiny of the job City Hall is doing. Because, right now, I can’t think of one compelling reason to do what councillors Holyday and Di Ciano are proposing to do. Not one.

Moreover, Mayor Tory needs to step up to the plate and lead the charge killing this thing. He is too back-roomed up, too chock full of potential conflicts of interest through his continued affiliation with the likes of Rogers, brooma senior staffer of his and former lobbyist already tsked tsked by the Registrar for a lobbying transgression back in 2012 and raising eyebrows in his current capacity for talking up a Toronto Library Board candidate for the chair, to be seen as anything other than unequivocal in his opposition to any potential weakening of the accountability offices. The mayor cannot shy away from this this time around. Otherwise, he will establish the tone at City Hall that oversight is negotiable.

dubiously submitted by Cityslikr


A Matter Of Accountability

March 24, 2015

If John Tory, upon taking over the mayor’s office, had really wanted to signal a break with his predecessor’s administration, he’d have gone all in in supporting City Hall’s accountability offices. hulksmashSerious breaches of city council’s code of conduct were numerous and investigated by the Integrity Commissioner. Public complaints about ‘the administration of city government’ to the Ombudsman’s office skyrocketed. Both offices were overwhelmed with work and requests without the proper resources to fully respond.

Yet, he didn’t. His support for both offices through his first budget process was tepid, at best, calculated at worst. At the budget committee wrap up meeting, a motion was passed to cut requests for increased staff in the Ombudsman and Integrity Commissioner’s offices to zero, none, zip. Public pushback resulted in Mayor Tory’s motion at city council the following week to restore, ever so slightly, a fraction of those requests, including 1 new staffer (of the 6 asked for) for the Ombudsman. Just enough to be able to say publicly, We love the work these offices do! while still being able to keep a straight face.

The current Ombudsman, Fiona Crean, was so grateful and impressed by the gesture that she subsequently decided not to seek reappointment to her post in the fall, a reappointment that should’ve happened two years ago, a full reappointment denied her by city councillors not happy with some of her findings. thanksfornothing(That is another sad, sordid story completely.)

“Council is not living up to the commitment of fairness and independent oversight that was promised in the City of Toronto Act,” the Ombudsman said during yesterday’s announcement. “The debate on my reappointment next week promises to be divisive, and I feel this will hurt the office, and its efforts to ensure fairness for the city’s residents.”

Mayor Tory could’ve stepped up and championed the Ombudsman, tried to dampen the divisiveness. He didn’t, only applauding Ms. Crean for a job well done with “gusto and determination”. Don’t let the door hit you… Here’s your hat. What’s your hurry?

Now, I’m not going to impugn the mayor with questionable motives for his lukewarm support of the Ombudsman but I will say, just in terms of optics, you’d think Mayor Tory would want the perception of his defending of the city’s accountability offices rock solid and airtight. whatsyourhurryGiven the number of potential conflicts of interest he might be subject to, largely through his connections to Rogers, (I mean how many votes did he sit out for that very reason at last council meeting?), the last thing he’d want is to appear lackadaisical in his views of the oversight officers. Last term was beset with the tumult such an attitude from the mayor’s office established. Mayor Tory could’ve delivered a real break with that.

He didn’t, and my best guess is that he (or his staff) is listening to all the wrong people on the issue. Councillors with an axe to grind with either or both the Integrity Commissioner or Ombudsman. Councillors unhappy with being under the oversight microscope, and taking their findings personally rather than professionally. Thin-skinned public servants unhappy with public scrutiny of their performance.

The company you keep, am I right?

“I had hoped, following the recent election, that the political climate surrounding the ombudsman’s office would have changed,” the Ombudsman said. stainedshirt“When I saw the divisive nature of the debate at budget committee, I made the decision over the past week that I would not seek reappointment.”

Mayor Tory had an opportunity to change the tone between city council and its accountability officers, from adversarial to a more cooperative one. He didn’t. He merely shrugged, unwilling to spend any political capital on the matter as if it wasn’t really that important to him. Now he gets to wear the Ombudsman’s departure because it’s all on him.

warily submitted by Cityslikr


… And Speaking Of Resigning

July 4, 2014

Think there’s no party politics at play at the municipal level? Look around at what’s going on at City Hall right now, folks. pitypartyTell me we aren’t awash in one great big Pity Party.

According to the mayor’s councillor-brother-campaign manager, there’s a “full out jihad” against the Fords now in response to yet another complaint registered with the integrity commissioner, this time about Councillor Ford’s comments made about autistic kids under care at the Griffin Centre. This jihad comes on top of the media jihad that’s been waged upon the mayor since his planned triumphant return from rehab this week.

Happy Ramadan, Muslims. The Fords feel ya.

Not to be outdone in this woe-is-me parade (never to be outdone when it comes to grandstanding), Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti wants everyone to know that he was sick, very, very, gravely ill, so, you know, don’t be pointing the finger at him about some ‘illegal fundraiser’ as alleged by an obviously ‘unfair and biased’ Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, yesterday.

mybrainhurts

How can anyone have done anything wrong that was in a hospital bed with his head carved open?

If there was some improper, shady shit going on in terms of this so-called ‘illegal fundraiser’ – and that’s a big ‘if’ since the integrity commissioner is obviously out to get Councillor Mammoliti as she is always, always ‘breathing down his throat’ – he’s blameless due to medical reasons.  “Some short term memory loss during this period of time.” “I can barely remember any of it.”

The claim, as full of holes and leaky as it is, might hold some water if this was the councillor’s first ethical lapse in judgement. countingfingersI don’t know. The surgeon must have cut out the moral compass of my brain! But it isn’t. Giorgio Mammoliti has come under scrutiny for at least a couple other violations. He’s currently in court facing campaign finance irregularities. There’s the below market value rent he’s received for an apartment owned by a company that does business with the city. Never mind the illegal re-election signs that have popped up.

That’s just this term alone. Let’s not forget the oldie but goodie from way back when the councillor got the city to pay his legal defense against a challenge of his campaign financing in 2006. So either, the thing that was wrong with Councillor Mammoliti’s head was long term and slow growing or the guy simply operates under the premise that The. Rules. Apply. To. Other. People.

Perhaps the most egregious bit of conduct the Integrity Commissioner laid at the councillor’s feet in her report was his accepting of $80,000 from the fundraiser that was attended by lobbyists and companies doing business with city. whome1Even if he was non compos mentis at the time, wasn’t there anybody surrounding the man, family, friends, staff not busy planning the event on the city dime, who thought such a gift might be, I don’t know, a little out of bounds? I’m not a politician, Councillor Mammoliti, but accepting money while you’re in office seems… not quite right. Especially when it’s from people who might benefit from such a transaction with an elected official.

Even when the councillor had seemingly recovered from his brain affliction and returned to his normal state of assholery, he didn’t bother to respond to the integrity commissioner’s offer of allowing him to return the money. Money? What money? Short term memory loss, remember? Remember what? Money? What money? Short term memory loss, remember? Remember what? Money? What money?

And here’s the real kick in the nuts to any and every right-thinking resident of Toronto (and beyond). Even if the integrity commissioner’s recommendations are adopted by city council and Councillor Mammoliti is docked 3 months pay, slaponthewristthe maximum penalty that can be dealt out to him by the city, he’d still walk away with over $50,000 in his pocket. Money paid to him by registered lobbyists and companies doing business with the city.

“This is as offside as you get when you come to a code of conduct violation,” said Brian Iler, the lawyer who brought the original complaint to the integrity commissioner.

Is it any wonder politicians like Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford continue to disregard the rules put in place to ensure ethical behaviour from our elected officials? Why wouldn’t you if you can still come out ahead of the game. It’s a twisted realm of thinking that, if there are no deterrents to your questionable conduct, if there are no tangible repercussions to your actions, like jail time or being chased from office, then clearly, you did nothing wrong. If you did, where’s the appropriate punishment?

getawaywithit

The system as it’s currently set up at the municipal level may not exactly encourage bad behaviour. I can confidently declare that ethical, upstanding councillors heavily outnumber those who aren’t. Those so inclined to disregard the rules, however, are hardly dissuaded from doing exactly that. Ethics preferred but not required should go with the job description. Cheaters sometimes prosper.

cleanly submitted by Cityslikr


An Ethical Leave Of Absence

July 25, 2013

Whenever a political dust-up occurs, a contretemps that leads to much partisan Did Not-Did So back and forth, I ask this question: didtooWhat if the party/politician you don’t support were to do the exact same thing the party/politician you do support did? Would you be cool with that, shrug it off as being all part of the game, yo?

So Conservatives pulling for Doug Holyday in the Etobicoke-Lakeshore provincial by-election, you’d be easy-peasy if the city’s “on unofficial leave of absence” Deputy Mayor’s opponents in the race did the same thing? Just called up the city’s waste collection company and asked for one of their trucks to swing by for a campaign photo-op? Totally fine, yes?

“… when the deputy mayor calls and asks for a truck, we supply it,” said Green For Life’s chief executive, Patrick Dovigi.

I am trying very hard to avoid stinky-garbage language here but that statement alone should set off alarm bells to anyone concerned with political propriety and rule bending. dougholydaypcPage 7 of the Integrity Commissioner’s Code of Conduct for City Councillors contains 3 violations the Deputy Mayor may have committed using the garbage truck as part of his campaign. (h/t Jude MacDonald). VI, Use of City Property, Services and Other Resources. VII, Election Campaign Work. VIII, Improper Use of Influence.

But Conservative defenders were quick to point out that since Green For Life is a private company, contracted out by the city to pick up garbage, it’s all good. No harm, no foul. Technically speaking, this isn’t a technical breach of conduct by the technically (maybe) on leave of absence deputy mayor.

From Article VI, “No member of Council should use, or permit the use of City land, facilities, equipment, supplies, services, [bolding ours] staff or other resources (for example, City-owned materials, websites, Council transportation delivery services and member of Council expense budgets) for activities other than the business of the Corporation.”

Waste collection is a service Green For Life provides to the city, isn’t it?

From Article VII, “No member shall use the facilities, equipment, supplies, services [bolding ours] or other resources of the City (including Councillor newsletters and websites linked through the City’s website) for any election campaign or campaign-related activities… No member shall use the services [bolding ours] of persons for election-related purposes during hours in which those persons receive any compensation from the City.

Again, if Green For Life isn’t delivering a service to the city, what exactly are we paying them for?

From Article VIII, “No member of Council shall use the influence of her or his office for any purpose other than for the exercise of her or his official duties.

“When the deputy mayor calls and asks for a truck, we supply it.” That seems like a pretty straight forward ‘use of influence’, doesn’t it?

Unless of course you want to argue that Doug Holyday’s campaign staff called Green For Life as representatives of a provincial candidate not the deputy mayor. technicallyspeakingIt’s just unfortunate Mr. Dovigi didn’t say that when a candidate running for provincial office asks for a truck, they’re happy to oblige. But he didn’t. “When the deputy mayor calls and asks for a truck, we supply it.”

But hold on, the deputy mayor PC candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore defender’s say, it’s not as if anyone pulled a truck off collection duty for the deputy mayor PC candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. It just magically appeared at no cost whatsoever to the company, I guess. Free gas, free of charge for the person driving it.

Let’s chalk it up to a campaign donation from a private company to a provincial candidate who just so happens to also be the city’s deputy mayor. He’s also the politician who helped spearhead waste collection contracting out, first as the former mayor of Etobicoke and then as deputy mayor of Toronto. Contracting out that, ultimately, benefited the company supplying their garbage truck as a campaign prop.

Regardless of your partisan political stripe, it’s something of an ethical quagmire, wouldn’t you say?splittinghairs

We’ve come to expect such lapses in judgement from the mayor but until he decided to enter the by-election race, Doug Holyday had a straight-shooting, no bullshit reputation when it came to using taxpayer money even for legit reasons like office budgets.

“Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday said regardless of whether Ford pays for fuel, city vehicles should be used for city business alone.” This from a Toronto Star article last fall in response to Mayor Ford’s staff using city vehicles to attend Don Bosco football practices. To now defend the deputy mayor’s use of a Green For Life garbage truck during his provincial campaign as different because it’s not a ‘city vehicle’ seems like mendacious hair-splitting.

All this coming less than week after the Integrity Commissioner’s annual report to city council. Never mind the backtracking now in progress to justify the deputy mayor’s actions on this. How could he stand in front of a truck his staff had ordered up, festooned with the City of Toronto logo, to make a campaign speech and not for a moment think to himself, something about the optics here smell? (There. My one garbage reference.)

ignoranceisbliss

And how can anyone, beating the drum of ethical bad behaviour on the part of the provincial Liberals, look at this circumstance and shrug? It’s no gas plant boondoggle, costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. As if ethics are simply about the amount of money involved and not the conduct it engenders.

demandingly submitted by Cityslikr


Whose Integrity Is In Question?

July 8, 2013

Another year, another Ford Fest with the inaugural east side version in Scarborough last Friday, fordfestfollowed, in all likelihood, by a round of complaints lodged with the city’s Integrity Commissioner. A budding Toronto tradition.

And once more we will divide into opposing camps, with the mayor’s supporters insisting he’s doing nothing wrong using city resources, on city property to promote what is essentially his own personal cause: re-election in 2014. Everybody does it, they’ll yell, pointing to councillors’ newsletters and sponsoring of local teams as proof. Bussin’s Bluejays! At least, Mayor Ford uses his own money for the Ford Fest rather than the taxpayers’, as if there are no ethical concerns with that.

They will be directly opposed by those who see all sorts of glaring problems with the mayor’s actions with Ford Fest. History, of course, will be on their side as the mayor has run afoul of the Integrity Commissioner since his early days as a councillor. wristslappedConflict of Interest is pretty much his middle name and no court has cleared him of it, only council’s ability to sanction him fully for his transgressions.

A third group will rear its head up, somewhere between the two. They will think it very likely the mayor is breaking rules in hosting Ford Fest but worry that bringing it to the Integrity Commissioner only serves as more ammunition for him to use in his out to get me defence. A nuisance complaint by a bunch of sore losers simply trying to overturn the mandate bestowed at the ballot box. Advantage, Mayor Ford.

Of the three groups, the latter strikes me as the most troubling.

It varies little from the most ardent of the mayor’s supporters in using election outcomes as the ultimate moral compass. shrug1Ends justifying the means, and all that. While not an official sanction of rule-bending, it certainly gives it a pass under the guise of the greater good and the long game.

In suggesting we simply shrug off the mayor’s iffy practices for fear that calling him on them actually increases his popularity, we just get in the goo with him and muddy the waters of ethics and morality. He bends the rules because he gets away with doing so. At this point, it’s almost as if he’s just daring you to go to the Integrity Commissioner.

Failing to do so only endorses the view that the office is toothless and without the power to enforce the rules it was established to oversee. It enables flagrant disregard of any attempt to keep a level playing field for all members of the council and to reduce the influence on city business by unelected outside entities. turnablindeyeAllowing the administration to continue conducting its dubious practices in order to not enflame the mayor’s base is as big an affront to democratic oversight as assuming the rules don’t apply to you is.

It’s pretty straight forward.

If Mayor Ford used the resources of his office and the city to host a gathering that had nothing to do with city business, that’s a potential conflict. If Ford Fest was used to campaign for the mayor’s re-election, if a database of potential voters was collected there, that seems like a clear violation of the city’s campaign laws.

It’s bad enough that his most ardent supporters don’t see it that way. It’s inexcusable for the rest of us to shrug it off as part of the game.

mea culpaly submitted by Cityslikr


Salting A Pound Of Flesh

February 25, 2013

Judging from the questions put to her by a number of councillors last week, the city’s Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper doesn’t owe anyone any apology. notaclue“So, if this guy comes up to me, totally out of the blue and offers me tickets to, I don’t know, the Leafs’ game, am I supposed to say ‘no’ just because he might be a lobbyist?” If that’s not your first instinct in that situation, councillor, I find it surprising you haven’t already been written up by Ms. Leiper yet.

No one more than Councillor Doug Ford – except maybe his brother the mayor – should have been in their seat listening to the Integrity Commissioner’s report to council. Instead, he made his way up to the press gallery to launch an all out media attack on her, demanding satisfaction for the injuries her office inflicted upon the duly elected mayor of this city and his family. You see, folks. The courts proved it was all just one big left wing conspiracy after all.

“Because of the lack of her [Integrity Commissioner Janet Leiper] due diligence,” Councillor Ford’s quoted as saying, titfortat“the results have had major ramifications for my brother, it hurt his family, it hurt him financially, it hurt his kids and most of all, it hurt the city.

“If it was up to me, I’d ask her to step down. She has almost destroyed a family over her lack of due diligence.”

Hopefully, Councillor Ford was just playing politics with such statements because if he wasn’t, if he truly believes that, well then, he’s not only displaying a profound misunderstanding of the conflict of interest legal proceedings his brother just went through but, I’d say, reality itself. Normally, I’d shy away from drawing such an extreme conclusion but it is Doug Ford we’re talking about here. It’s not like he and reality haven’t parted company on previous occasions.

To honestly think that his brother went through what he went through because of the decision the Integrity Commissioner made about then Councillor Rob Ford soliciting donations to his private football foundation using official City of Toronto stationery is to ignore every other stop along the way. pissingmatchThat Ms. Leiper hadn’t sought a multitude of ways to help him back out of the situation before it came to any sort of official sanction. That it is was Rob Ford himself that really kicked off the conflict of interest proceedings by participating in council’s move to quash a previous council’s decision. That a lower court judge had no issue with the penalty the Integrity Commissioner recommended. That the appeal didn’t exonerate Mayor Ford but questioned the penalty that was brought to bear on his actions.

If Councillor Ford is demanding an apology from the Integrity Commissioner in the wake of his brother’s successful appeal, shouldn’t he also be asking for an apology from Charles Hackland, the judge who ruled against the mayor originally? Maybe Judge Hackland ought to resign as well. Good judges who know their shit never have their decisions overturned by a successful appeal.

Councillor Ford does realize that Janet Leiper was not responsible for taking his mayor-brother to court, right? She didn’t force the previous city council to vote in favour of her recommendation against Rob Ford. outoforderHer role in this whole sad spectacle didn’t extend beyond her initial ruling.

You might think the Fords have bigger fish to fry at this point. Best to close the book on this particular chapter and put it behind them. If they can’t bring themselves to bury the hatchet with the city’s Integrity Commissioner, at least they might want to quietly move on and stop reminding everyone that Mayor Ford kept his job by the mere skin of his teeth.

You would think.

But it seems Councillor Ford bears a grudge noisily. By-gones? What by-gones? For a guy who is all about business, he takes his politics awfully personally.

Of course, given these guys’… ummm, unorthodox approach, let’s call it, to governance – laywasteRules? For me? Really? – their dealings with the Integrity Commissioner might not be in the past. Neither Ford has really shown any propensity to learn from previous missteps and reprimands, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility to imagine their paths crossing again with Janet Leiper before all is said and done. So maybe Councillor Ford is simply conducting some pre-emptive strikes in case there’s anything new brewing. Detonate a little intimidation bomb.

Mounting an offensive in the hopes of fending off the need to defend their council conduct once again.

tit-for-tatly submitted by Cityslikr


Every Four Years Whether You Need It Or Not

October 29, 2012

What is it with conservatives these days and their loathing of democracy? I know theirs is an uneasy history with the concept but they seemed to have come to terms with it through the last half of the 20th-century or so. But recently…

Republicans in the United States are intent on suppressing the vote in order to try and steal a state or two and secure their nominee the White House. Our Conservatives prorogued themselves out of a couple of minority jams, unable as they were to cope with the parliamentary insistence that you have a majority of the seats before attempting an unimpeded run of the table. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals in Ontario (conservative in all but their red ties) liked what they saw in that manoeuvre and shut down Queen’s Park in order to conduct a leadership convention, free from the unruliness of two opposition parties that actually hold down a majority in our provincial parliament.

And here in Toronto, Team Ford has gone to war with some of the city’s Accountability Officers who have had the temerity to question the mayor and his brother’s actions. Apparently there can be too much oversight from watchdogs like the Ombudsman and Integrity Commissioner even for an administration that pledged more openness and transparency than any previous administration in history. Of the world. Ever.

What conservatives seem to believe is that, once elected, they are free to do whatever it is they see fit to do until the next election. That’s what they refer to as a ‘mandate’. If you don’t like what they’ve done, then vote them off the island the next opportunity you get. Until that time, sit down and shut up.

Democracy in four year installments. Citizen engagement and accountability to the taxpayers begins and ends with casting a ballot. Any questioning of motives or actions is nothing more than cheap partisan politics, driven only by a refusal to accept the previous election results. Whining not winning.

Thus rigorously supervised, what’s the need for all these political babysitters? A part time democracy only needs part time overseers surely.  “In Mississauga they have one person,” Mayor Ford claimed last week,” a lawyer on retainer, who does all their jobs.” What’s that they say? As goes Mississauga, so goes Toronto. (Although, unsurprisingly, the mayor might not have had all his ducks in a row on that. “[Deputy Mayor] Holyday said Ford may have misconstrued information that he gave him, about a lawyer on retainer as Mississauga’s integrity commissioner. The lawyer has no ombudsman or lobbyist registrar duties.”)

You know what happens when we have too much oversight? Bounds are overstepped. Our elected officials start having their non-public lives over-scrutinized. Like when they host their own Sunday radio talk show.

But the Fords did what talk show hosts usually do: they mouthed off, they were derisive, they personalized their attack. Should a public servant be empowered to condemn elected officials for the manner in which they exercise their free speech?

Errrrrrrr, what the fuck, Globe and Mail?!

What we really should be concerned about is a couple politicians having unfettered media access to foist their highly slanted views on the public, unchecked and uncontested.  “Hi, I’m Rob Ford, that traffic report would have been a lot better without streetcars.” That you let pass and choose instead to lambast the city’s Integrity Commissioner impinging on the free speech of our mayor and his councillor brother to play AM shock jocks?

The thing is, Globe and Mail, the Fords aren’t just talk show hosts although their administration is largely conducted as if they were.  Just because it’s Sunday doesn’t mean their listeners think of them as Humble and Fred and not the mayor of Toronto as his right-hand man. When they — how’d you put it again? — “…ridiculed [Medical Officer of Health] Dr. McKeown’s nearly $300,000 salary as ‘an embarrassment’…” and asked “Why does he still have a job?”, they did so as mayor and councillor not just talk show hosts. To suggest that the Integrity Commissioner had no place to write them up for such ‘a shameful performance’ is astoundingly narrow-minded about the office’s role in the functioning of an open and transparent government.

Still, it isn’t necessary to have an integrity commissioner say as much. It is best left to voters to determine whether the Mayor is exercising his free speech responsibly. Members of council may rebuke the mayor if they wish. And he’s accountable to voters once every four years for his behaviour.

Oh, I’m sorry. You also have an astoundingly narrow-minded opinion of how democracy should work too.  I guess I expected a slightly higher standard from the editors of the Globe and Mail.

confoundedly submitted by Cityslikr