By PATRICK HUNTER
So, at the last moment, the Fords did another number. At this stage of the game, with all that have transpired with this family, we should not be surprised at this maneuver. In case you missed it, Rob Ford has withdrawn from the mayoralty race due to illness, but he will seek his old seat in Ward 2. That seat was being vacated by his brother, Doug. Mike Ford, their nephew, has withdrawn from contesting that council seat to run for trustee at the Board of Education. Are you with me so far? It’s not done yet. Now, sliding in to take challenge for the mayoralty is Doug Ford.
I do hope Rob Ford gets well with no serious repercussions. But I do hope he is defeated in his bid as councillor. I do hope that Doug Ford is defeated in his mayoral bid. And, I do hope Mike Ford is defeated in his bid for the trusteeship.
I have not yet decided finally whom I will vote for as mayor. One thing is clear; I am on the ABF team (anybody but Ford – any Ford, at this point).
It seems to me that the plan is to have Doug run for mayor while Rob recuperates. Remember, Doug was on his way out of elected politics (at least for the time being). At his brother’s request, he did an about-face with the aim of becoming mayor for about a year or so while his brother recuperates. Then, he would resign, and with his brother supposedly still on council, would either contest a by-election or somehow maneuver himself into replacing Doug. Both are long shots and depend on the willingness of voters to follow this plan.
Ward 2 – Etobicoke North, based on the 2011 Census, shows that nearly 47 per cent of the population list English as their mother tongue. The next highest by language is a tie between Italian and Panjabi at 5.7 per cent. The Fords have, between them, several years representing the Ward so, realistically, it would be tough to dislodge Rob. Doug Ford won the councillor’s seat in 2010 by about 10,000 votes over his closest rival.
One of the more high-profile challengers to the Fords as councillor in Ward 2 is Andray Domise, an articulate and passionate young man who is apparently entering politics for the first time. Not too long ago, Domise wrote an open letter to Mayor Ford, challenging him to apologize for his references to the “n” word and “hug-a-thug” in the context of being a saviour to Black boys in the community. Of course, Ford did not and has not responded.
Yet, we are bombarded by new clips of Black people who continue to express their support for Rob Ford – one of those “SMH” (shaking my head) moments. There are times when one hopes that these people don’t vote.
There is no clear indication that the support that Rob Ford may have had, going into the mayoralty election, will translate to support for Doug. The Ford team is counting on that translation but Doug, especially as a one-term councillor, has not had the same sort of relationship with the wider community except as Rob’s biggest supporter on council and in life. To expect that block of support to move with the change is to expect too much.
But there is more to the election than we, as a Black community, may be willing to admit. We have seen elections in which one would think the respective party or individuals would never be re-elected, yet they were. It is no secret that many did not count Rob Ford out of the mix, before his withdrawal, in spite of the history, baggage and disrepute he brought to the office as mayor. In fact, that seemed to spur on some of his support.
As you can probably tell, I have had my fill of the Ford shenanigans. One can only hope that on October 27, the voters in Toronto will come to the same conclusion.
What are the issues – what is it that we want to see in this city?
High on the priorities list are public transportation, reliable and affordable housing, reliable utilities and fair taxes. We also want our police service to be respectful and accountable and to recognize that even if we did not swear an allegiance to the Queen to become citizens, we reside here and pay taxes.
Let’s be clear, we expect our potholes to be filled, our sewerage treated, water in our pipes and our garbage picked up. We expect efficiencies with our public transportation and, most of all, we expect that the people we elect to oversee things will do so with the understanding that the city is expanding and plans should anticipate that expansion. We also expect them to be aware that there are vulnerable people in our community; that racism exists which denies equity and equality. Let us be adamant in demanding answers of our candidates and to let them know that this is not a free ride.
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