The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the appeal of Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford’s much-publicized conflict of interest case—and rightly so in my opinion. No reasons for dismissing the appeal were provided by the court. The dismissal, however, did not seem to surprise legal experts who reportedly say the court only accepted 12 per cent of appeal requests made last year.
There seems to be an influential—and, apparently, well heeled—left-of-centre faction in Toronto, including one major newspaper, who seemingly will not accept the democratic election of Rob Ford in late 2010. Since then, their holding of the mayor to account has shown excessive zeal to the point of downright harassment—such as spying on the mayor when he was at home in his backyard.
Of course, Ford’s lot is not been helped—as I have said before—by him providing one silly, mainly avoidable, controversy after another: reading while driving on the highway; illegally chatting on his cell phone while driving; passing the rear door of a streetcar, while its front door was open; to name the most avoidable. I say “avoidable”, because, as mayor, Rob Ford is entitled to a driver and car, but has chosen to turn down the city-provided benefit.
In my view and despite the controversies, Rob Ford has done a great job of tempering the fiscal appetite of Toronto City Hall, slowing down its tendency towards waste and an attitude that public service unions know best and should be catered to. For that he’s a winner and Torontonians should feel grateful for his efforts.
For his part, though, Mayor Ford needs to learn how to act like a big-city mayor. He’s got the right ideas to be one, and he’ll walk the talk. He’s already demonstrated that. But he needs to loosen what seems like a “mental block” when it comes to implementing his ideas. He needs to smooth out his public demeanour. And it wouldn’t hurt to be seen as being a bit more sophisticated.
Mayor Rob Ford has the right message, namely, “Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Remember his 2010 campaign, “Stop the Gravy Train!”? Large numbers of voters agree with Ford’s contention that Toronto politicians had lost respect for the city’s taxpayers and that there was far too much wasteful spending at City Hall. With Ford in charge, labour unions—who for decades were pretty much calling the shots in Toronto’s municipal politics—would take a backseat to taxpayers and their families.
The news of the Supreme Court’s decision will be welcomed by the mayor and his many supporters, I’m sure, and lets hope it’ll help stop—or, at least, slow—the ebbing away of personal goodwill felt by local taxpayers and other resident voters.