Shit my mayor says Rob Ford’s victory in Toronto is sad but not surprising

This guy is now the mayor of Canada’s largest city:

To quote Jon Stewart talking about late Alaska senator Ted Stevens being third in line for the presidency: “No joke here, just thought you should know.”

Yup, that’s right, the Tea Party has come to power in Toronto. With the election of Limbaugh-esque (and not just for his appearance) loudmouth Rob Ford as the city’s mayor, Toronto has turned a page, actually a few pages, back in its evolution.

If you thought his call to lynch the homeless was shocking, his thoughts on the rights of cyclists:

or immigration:

aren’t much better. Neither are his actual policies. He has very loudly proclaimed plans to curb the power of unions, privatize sanitation services and support tax breaks for the Bay Street clique while breaking the backs of those who work for them.

The fact that someone so entrenched in pro-financial elite, ultra right-wing ideology who doesn’t get that alternatives to the private car are the way of the future could actually come to power in a supposedly progressive city is sad. It’s also not all that surprising.

While my instant reaction was to think that recent G-20 police state antics on the part of the Toronto cops scared all the lefties away from going out to vote, I realized that this electoral disaster had been brewing for a while.

You see, Toronto is no Montreal (Gerald Tremblay’s no peach himself, but at least he gives lip service to some good ideas). While Canada’s former largest city clearly has its own personality and style (European flair mixed with American culture), Toronto has always tried to be American, like a New York of the north, only about ten years behind the times.

They haven’t strayed from that course. Seriously. If you’re thinking that this election means that hogtown gave up its Big Apple aspirations to become Atlanta with snow, take a look at some of NYC’s recent political history.

While always maintaining its progressive sorta lefty cool on the national stage, New York has gone in a very different political direction locally. Bush never had a chance in the five boroughs, but Giuliani and then Bloomberg did, transforming what was once a great city filled with new ideas and liberated people into a middle-America friendly, pro-corporate police state that doesn’t like dancing.

This at least gives hope that NYC’s Canadian copycat won’t suddenly turn pro-Harper. I feel there is still just as much chance that the cons will get a single MP elected in the 416 as there is that Rob Ford will bike down to the homeless shelter and offer some poor immigrant down on his luck a sandwich and a place to sleep in his guest room.

Unfortunately, on a local level, Toronto is now saddled with a bigger embarrassment than the Maple Leafs. One can only hope that they break their American addiction as soon as possible and tell Ford to have his tea party somewhere else.

3 comments

  • He’s better than Ottawa’s mayor.

  • Well, what fascinates me about these elections is the fact that I only know very few people who voted for Ford (and I believe I know many people, really). From what I have read online it seems like he is extremely unpopular, too. So how comes he won? That indeed is a mystery to me.

  • I believe that he won for the same reasons the nazis came to power in Germany in 1933: In fact, the nazis only had about 1/3 of the people’s support but all the other parties in Germany were so fragmented that this was unfortunately the largest cohesion of any political party at the time. It was paradoxically a political minority and majority both.
    Similarly with Rob Ford, there are probably a relatively small number of citizens who endorse him, but all the other candidates failed to capture anyone’s imagination and couldn’t effectively mount an opposition. And so we have a buffoon for mayor.

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