Working hard to make Mayor Mel look good.
October 25, 2010 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Rob Ford (previously, sort of previously) has won Toronto's mayoral election.

With votes still being tabulated, Ford will likely walk away with over fifty percent of the popular vote, thus decisively beating both George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone. However, city council elections have also turfed out a number of incumbents that were Ford-friendly, so the future of the city is still in many ways unwritten.
posted by unSane (141 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The 44 Councilors matter a lot too, and things don't look too grim on that side. Now Magazine's picks won 19 of 44 wards. Of the most bicycle-friendly councilors, 8/9 are on the way to re-election. Not bad. If you include all councilors that even slightly favored bicycles, 16/21 are back in.
posted by anthill at 7:50 PM on October 25, 2010


With votes still being tabulated, Ford will likely walk away with over fifty percent of the popular vote

Huh? The results on the city's web page haven't shown him at over 50% a couple of minutes after polls closed (ok, polls weren't actually closed but they were reporting results anyway). This seems improbably to me. He'll win a decisive victory, but not over 50% of the vote.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:56 PM on October 25, 2010


That's it.

Tomorrow I'm emigrating to the US.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:57 PM on October 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's going to be interesting for sure. I suspect that Ford will find council a lot more difficult to manage that it looked like from the outside. We managed to boot out our mini-Ford tonight in Ottawa. O'Brien still may not be guilty of election fraud but he's no longer our mayor, thank dog. For a man who wanted to save us money, he cost more in lawsuitery and surprise tax hikes than his 'left-winger' predecessors. I hope TO doesn't go the same road.

Why are right-wing pols, the sober-sided business folks, always, without fail, the worst at financial dicipline?
posted by bonehead at 7:59 PM on October 25, 2010


Sigh. This just makes me sad.

And it's not even that Pants played spoiler, because Smitherman would have needed basically ever single vote that wasn't for Rob Ford to be for Anybody But Rob Ford in order to win.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:01 PM on October 25, 2010


I've got $20 that says that within 10 years he'll be dead, in prison, or a contestant on a reality show.
posted by dobbs at 8:03 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


i'm with dobbs on this one. the man is a scary joke.
posted by gursky at 8:04 PM on October 25, 2010


I've got $20 that says that within 10 years he'll be dead, in prison, or a contestant on a reality show.

Heh. I said something to that effect earlier tonight, that I'm eager for that moment in the near future when he's being handcuffed over the hood of a police car.
posted by chococat at 8:07 PM on October 25, 2010


I was letting in a natural gas repairman to my house as Ford's win was announced. Since he was the first person I had contact with after hearing the horrifying news, he received a pretty shitty rant. He smiled and in broken English informed me that his "vote won". We chatted for a bit and it turned out dude was from Afghanistan and came here as a refugee in 2000. I was like, "Man, do you know how Rob Ford feels about you?"

Some people just really had no idea what they were voting for.
posted by gman at 8:07 PM on October 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


I was living in Ottawa four years ago when Larry O'Brien ran for mayor there on a platform much like Ford's: fiscal responsibility, tax cuts, improved services, more police officers, cutbacks to transit. He presided over a single disastrous term which saw a crippling transit strike in the dead of winter, impressive budget shortfalls, and city services cut back so far that in the winter of 2007-2008 we ran out of money for snowplowing a month before we ran out of snow. And oh, yes, property taxes went up faster than inflation would dictate. Larry O'Brien is out of a job tonight. (Or on preview, what bonehead said.)

Toronto is one of my favourite cities in the world. I fear Hizzoner Mayor Ford is a massive step backwards and I hope the city can get through his term without too much damage.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:11 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm convinced Ford won because his lawn signs looked like the YouTube logo.

On the plus side, since he seems to have gotten such a large percentage of the vote, I don't have to hate some of my friends for throwing their vote away, and they don't have to hate me for selling mine out.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:16 PM on October 25, 2010


[slams head against keyboard]
posted by orange swan at 8:17 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


ff
posted by ovvl at 8:18 PM on October 25, 2010


My wife and I were joking through our gut-wrenching disappointment a few hours ago, "Woo hoo! The gravy train has stopped! What are we going to buy with all the money we're going to get back now? Let's get another car and drive everywhere!"
posted by chococat at 8:21 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can someone translate for the USians here? What is this win roughly analogous to?
posted by nevercalm at 8:24 PM on October 25, 2010


.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 8:25 PM on October 25, 2010


question: how much actual political power does the mayor of Toronto hold?

to understand the impact of such votes, such a question is crucial to me. i'm still wrapping my head around with the level of power of the governor of texas (vs the lieutenant governor - which is potentially a more powerful position).
posted by el io at 8:25 PM on October 25, 2010


On the bright side, in most places in the country people are not voted into office but out of office. I foresee Rob Ford spinning his wheels, alienating his supporters, presiding over a term of gridlock both physical and metaphorical and generally doing his inadvertent best to bring us Mayor Adam Vaughan in 2014.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 PM on October 25, 2010


What is this win roughly analogous to?

Paladino becoming mayor of NYC, basically.
posted by unSane at 8:28 PM on October 25, 2010


What is this win roughly analogous to?

Sarah Palin winning mayor of NYC.
posted by bonehead at 8:30 PM on October 25, 2010


What is this win roughly analogous to?

Paladino's favourite horse winning mayor of NYC.

Except that horses know how to count, so strike that.
posted by maudlin at 8:31 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Thunder Bay, Ontario got a new mayor tonight as well. And I'm moving to Vancouver as a result of the election.

On preview: both are roughly analogous to the shit end of a stick.
posted by empatterson at 8:33 PM on October 25, 2010


Joe the Plumber winning mayor of NYC.
posted by bonehead at 8:34 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, I'm pretty happy about this. His crazier statements don't seem to have much bearing on anything he actually has power to do, and I'm all for the budget cuts. Can't say I like his stance on bikes, but I'd say he's the lesser of many evils.
posted by ripley_ at 8:35 PM on October 25, 2010


ripley_: "Well, I'm pretty happy about this. His crazier statements don't seem to have much bearing on anything he actually has power to do, and I'm all for the budget cuts. Can't say I like his stance on bikes, but I'd say he's the lesser of many evils."

What about his views on gay marriage, homeless shelters, refugees, or people with AIDS?
posted by gman at 8:37 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christine O'Donnell winning... well, anything.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:38 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sounds like Toronto is earning back its "Hogtown" moniker while Calgary could be losing its "Cowtown" title -- today Calgary swore in Canada's first Muslim mayor!
posted by lotusfeet at 8:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I totally do not understand the urge people have to vote for the folksy, just one of us, average guy candidate. I want to vote for someone smarter, harder working and more driven than myself who has good ideas and knows how to get shit done..
posted by Mitheral at 8:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [21 favorites]


Jim Kramer winning mayor of NYC. (Ford likes to yell)
posted by dry white toast at 8:41 PM on October 25, 2010


I'm all for the budget cuts.

Are you in Toronto? Do you pay taxes here? Do you consume services here? What specific budget cuts that Ford supports do you think are good ones? How much money will it save the city? What services will be cut or cancelled? Do you think the loss of those services is worth it? How much money will the average Toronto resident save as a result of these budget cuts?

For bonus points: What kind of budget deficit is Toronto running compare to other Canadian and American cities? Why are budget cuts the answer?
posted by maudlin at 8:42 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


As Toronto's neighbour to the South, I look forward to a moratorium on Hamilton jokes for the next four years. Because, well, as shitty as things can be here -- at least Rob Ford's not in charge*.

*Not that Mayor-elect Bob Bratina is that much of a thrill, either. He was on the teevee tonight, crediting his victory to his being a "maverick", and there being an "anti-establishment wave", as though he wasn't on Council for the last six years, as though this election hadn't returned 13 of 15 incumbents (Bratina being one of the two changes). Yes, all incumbents, because things are working SO FUCKING WELL for us.

Still, it could be worse. We could have Rob Ford in charge. So there's that.

posted by Capt. Renault at 8:42 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


gman, to be fair Ford can't really do much about gay marriage, refugees, or people with AIDS.
posted by anthill at 8:42 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait wait wait wait wait. The Rob Ford I read about on here like three weeks ago. That guy?

Oh, Canada.
posted by GilloD at 8:43 PM on October 25, 2010


What about his views on gay marriage, homeless shelters, refugees, or people with AIDS?

1) No municipal power there, thankfully.
2) I do want those defunded.
3) No municipal power to deport refugees, thankfully.
4) Another area I don't believe municipalities should be involved in.
posted by ripley_ at 8:43 PM on October 25, 2010


How can you vote someone in who has those views? I don't get it.
posted by gman at 8:45 PM on October 25, 2010


.
posted by ManInSuit at 8:48 PM on October 25, 2010


I suppose it's a good night for everyone who had their drunk driving charge tossed off with less than a week of cushy community service, for those whose wife-beating charges were later withdrawn, for those whose remarks about Orientals were misinterpreted as a slur when really it was only meant as a compliment in the first place.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:50 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


nevercalm: Can someone translate for the USians here? What is this win roughly analogous to

He is now King of The Great Frozen North, until such time as his son is strong enough to kill a moose in single combat.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:51 PM on October 25, 2010 [26 favorites]


As a Torontonian this is unfortunate, though I imagine nothing much will actually change really, the province keeps Toronto's mayors on a leash and we did survive Lastman. That a this word banned on metafilter like Ford was elected is really no surprise. Yelling "tax cuts" seems to be the best way to get elected, as well as resembling Glenn Beck in some ways.
posted by juiceCake at 8:54 PM on October 25, 2010


> Some people just really had no idea what they were voting for.

No, but they knew what they were voting against. That's why Ford won.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:55 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, Canada. I feel like the US is a really bad influence on Canada sometimes.
posted by clockzero at 8:56 PM on October 25, 2010


I'm sorry, Canada. I feel like the US is a really bad influence on Canada sometimes.

Mel Lastman is a true, blue Canuck.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:58 PM on October 25, 2010


How can you vote someone in who has those views? I don't get it.

Because those things affect relatively few voters directly.
posted by unSane at 8:59 PM on October 25, 2010


Come on now, Canadians -- we rely on you to have sane and thoughtful politicians and policies. Where will we threaten to move to if you start electing these crazy people? I was really hoping Harper was an aberration.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:01 PM on October 25, 2010


Baron Harkonnen cleans up pretty nicely.
posted by boo_radley at 9:04 PM on October 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have always been comforted by the knowledge that Canada, watching our endless parade of idiots (Palin, O'Donnell, Paladino, et al.), will heed the lessons therein and make rational, informed choices...
...wait, what?
posted by cows of industry at 9:05 PM on October 25, 2010


No, but they knew what they were voting against. That's why Ford won.

They really had no clue what they were voting against. People are stupid.
posted by ovvl at 9:06 PM on October 25, 2010


No, but they knew what they were voting against. That's why Ford won.

Sorry, I meant to say that they knew what they were voting against: A balanced budget (which is what they have now).
posted by ovvl at 9:10 PM on October 25, 2010


CTV interview right now -

Anchor: How are you going to be able to bridge the social needs with the fiscal responsibility that you're talking about?

Fuckface: Well, obviously everybody hates the $60 car registration. We're gonna get rid of that as soon as we can get a report to council... and then the land transfer tax. And then obviously the social needs are there too and we'll take care of the people. Ummm, obviously the social needs are very important and I guarantee I'll take care of it. But first and foremost concern is the $60 car registration tax I'm gonna abolish and the land transfer tax. I'm ready to do that as quick as possible.
posted by gman at 9:10 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come on now, Canadians -- we rely on you to have sane and thoughtful politicians and policies.

Haha! That is a wonderful misunderstanding of Canadian politics. Canadians are mostly thoughtful and supportive of sane policies. Their politicians are continually attempting to escape from the straitjacket of sanity. Every so often one does (eg Ford). They soon learn their lesson.
posted by unSane at 9:11 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, he's going to cancel the land transfer tax -- if he can get the big boys at Queen's Park to return his calls. Or, umm, something like that ...
Mayoral candidate Rob Ford told about 200 realtors Thursday that he might have to wait as late as 2012 to deliver on his promise to scrap the city’s unpopular land transfer tax. He blamed the November 2011 provincial election.

In a speech to the Toronto Real Estate Board, he said: “I can’t promise that I’m going to be able to do it in 2011. If there wasn’t a provincial election next year, then everything would be smooth sailing and I’d be able to say yes. It’s going to be very hard to get a hold of an MPP or a civil servant up at Queen’s Park because in an election, everyone just shuts down and is out on the hustings.” ...

The real estate board, which has applauded Ford for being the only major candidate who would scrap a tax that adds $3,725 to the cost of a $400,000 home, later said the provincial election poses no impediment.

“The City of Toronto Act allows city hall to implement a land transfer tax,” said board spokesman Von Palmer. “He (Ford) can repeal the land transfer tax without any provincial amendment. They do have that right.”

Palmer speculated that Ford means he plans to ask the province to strip the city of the taxing power. That would block a future mayor from reimposing the tax.

In a media scrum later, Ford responded to those comments saying, “We have to make sure the provincial government is onside and . . . there might be a stall. And I just don’t want to say for sure in case something comes up that we can’t get it through.”
posted by maudlin at 9:18 PM on October 25, 2010


I'm really really hoping that in seven years, someone will be able to write an article like this about Rob Ford. Somehow I really doubt it.

Toronto should be considered the laughing stock of the country tonight. Calgarians in particular should feel smug and superior, having elected a far more progressive mayor only days ago.
posted by chrominance at 9:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm buying stock in instant gravy companies for the first time Ford gets caught in a scandal as mayor. City Hall has a mighty big fountain out front...
posted by kaudio at 9:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


question: how much actual political power does the mayor of Toronto hold?

Not as much as people would believe - at least, not directly. Most mayors are really just glorified aldermen - with the added bonus of holding a potentially deciding vote on council.

A mayor's real power is in their ability to make friends and allies in both their own council, at the senior administration levels within the municipal bureaucracy, and at the regional, provincial and federal levels. The provincial and federal relationships are mainly important for funding.

A mayor can push agendas on council both by lobbying funding sources, his council, the city manager and senior administration. A mayor has a distinct advantage in being 'at large' and not having a specific ward or district to maintain - whereas a lot of alderman are mired in their own ward's business, the mayor has a 'big picture' view that is relatively unencumbered by the political will of any given ward's electorate. A mayor can vote on a specific ward issue and not worry overly about that vote affecting them on a city-wide basis. This is a large, large advantage.

An influential mayor such as outgoing Bronconnier in Calgary can utilize this to simply better position him/herself to know more and be better connected than the ward aldermen. Then, he can lobby the aldermen as such. The aldermen have a distinct advantage in aligning themselves with an influential mayor, as he has cross-ward power that can aid any particular alderman - in terms of voting and manipulation of council in any specific issue.

Most aldermen would deny voting strategically, but it happens as a result of this. When a mayor has the support of council, or at least a majority of support, they can leverage that support to start to push their own agendas very effectively.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:58 PM on October 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


"I'm really really hoping that in seven years, someone will be able to write an article like this about Rob Ford. Somehow I really doubt it."

But Mandel was never like Rob Ford. Sorry to say it, but the best anyone can hope for is that Ford metamorphoses into a merely competent mayor, instead of the spectacular trainwreck that all signals indicate at present.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:25 PM on October 25, 2010


Come on now, Canadians -- we rely on you to have sane and thoughtful politicians and policies.

Wait 'til you Americans get a load of BC politics.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:32 PM on October 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm not really surprised by this election result, actually, and don't think it means as much as people will believe. As KokuRyu says, BC politics are the worst - due to the almost untenable complexity of BC as a whole.

In Canadian provincial and municipal politics (with a few glaring exceptions) we have historically just thrown whoever is in power out - this is because in most circumstances there is no one thing that we all depend on. There are so many special interests and divided electorates that the incumbent just ends up pleasing nobody and they get booted on their asses.

Alberta is famously different and stable - conservative after conservative government gets elected because the platform is largely 'oil' and the conservatives and their Big Oil CEO drinking buddies run the province iron-fisted.

This is just another vote that's not pro-upstart but rather anti-incumbent.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:49 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


ripley_ ... homeless shelters ... 2) I do want those defunded.

You do realize that Toronto is one of those places where humans can actually die of exposure without shelter, don't you?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


You do realize that Toronto is one of those places where humans can actually die of exposure without shelter, don't you?

I think his point is that with shelters acting as a crutch people have the audacity to be homeless. Obviously if we remove homeless shelters during freezing winters it will motivate them to get jobs and get their own shelter.

It's an orgasm of self-determination driven by the stimulation of personal responsibility!
posted by Talez at 10:57 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Obviously if we remove homeless shelters during freezing winters it will motivate them to get jobs and get their own shelter.

Horrible and heartless. That would just drive them into the bus shelters, and then I have to deal with them.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:00 PM on October 25, 2010


*nightmares*
posted by louche mustachio at 11:07 PM on October 25, 2010


Goodbye Hollywood North, hello Wasilla South.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:13 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Ford can get an extension to the Sheppard Subway line instead of all those silly streetcars, I might even have to celebrate him...

Alberta is famously different and stable - conservative after conservative government gets elected because the platform is largely 'oil' and the conservatives and their Big Oil CEO drinking buddies run the province iron-fisted.

Funny.. You could argue that this used to be the case in Ontario--with Ontario Hydro instead of Big Oil. Stand on the corner of College and University, and you can see what I mean. There's the legislature building, turn around and there's were all the decisions got made.
posted by Chuckles at 11:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Goddamit Toronto, you might have been there to catch me when I fell into this world, but we still don't seem to eye to eye on a lot of things. We're gonna have to have a talk this Christmas.
posted by mannequito at 12:11 AM on October 26, 2010


“If I was the chief, I would have moved in Saturday afternoon and cleaned house” about the 2010 G-20 Toronto summit protests. He also said, "I don't think there should be an inquiry or review... . I think our police force was too nice [cite]

If the people of Toronto need any help, I'll be polishing my cudgel over here.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:15 AM on October 26, 2010


So, does this mean you guys will finally be building the Spadina Expressway?
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:25 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread where I can tell sanctimonious mefite Canadians who always criticize America and or Americans to cheerfully go fuck themselves?

Why yes, it is.
posted by bardic at 12:27 AM on October 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


Give us hell, bardic.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:32 AM on October 26, 2010


Is this the thread where I can tell sanctimonious mefite Canadians who always criticize America and or Americans to cheerfully go fuck themselves?

Conflating Canadian with Torontonian. How typically American.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:37 AM on October 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


I do like Beer Stores.

The shoot your beer at you on a conveyor belt.

That's fucking rad.
posted by bardic at 12:56 AM on October 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


I like the Ontario Science Centre, especially the way it is spelled. I hope Ford doesn't mess with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:02 AM on October 26, 2010


Everyone I know in Toronto is one or more of LGBT, or a bike courier. How did this guy get elected?
posted by sixohsix at 3:03 AM on October 26, 2010


How did this guy get elected?

If it's anything like right-wing lunatics get elected in the United States it was election fraud.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:27 AM on October 26, 2010


Canada, get ready to laugh.
posted by spoobnooble at 3:36 AM on October 26, 2010


Oh my god, it really wasn't a nightmare.
posted by gman at 3:56 AM on October 26, 2010


Chuckles: "If Ford can get an extension to the Sheppard Subway line instead of all those silly streetcars, I might even have to celebrate him..."

Why is that? Because connecting the Sheppard Subway to a shopping centre is a more useful addition to the transit network than moving people around downtown, a task for which buses would be woefully unsuited for?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 4:11 AM on October 26, 2010


Actually, the Sheppard subway is the perfect metaphor for Rob Ford's promises.

Toronto, Ontario has a long and illustrious history of newly elected governments cancelling transit expansions, after design and construction have been funded (or started).

If Ford can muster 2/3 of council's votes to kill the LRT network (and its $10b in funding), then transit in Toronto is back to being fucked for the next 10 years.
posted by anthill at 5:24 AM on October 26, 2010


Why is that? Because connecting the Sheppard Subway to a shopping centre is a more useful addition to the transit network than moving people around downtown

Not just that. Transit City had lines all over the place, including Eglinton, Finch, Jane and Don Mills—all of which serve the inner suburbs. Ford not only wants to roll back Transit City, he'd remove all streetcars from Toronto within 10 years if he had the ability.
posted by chrominance at 5:47 AM on October 26, 2010


Conflating Canadian with Torontonian. How typically AmericanTorontonian.
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:52 AM on October 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Beware, he's the kind of guy who'll burn down a city just to make sure nobody else can ever do better than he did.
posted by aramaic at 5:53 AM on October 26, 2010


A link from a friend... (YouTube Doubler)
posted by sixohsix at 6:40 AM on October 26, 2010


If Ford can get an extension to the Sheppard Subway line instead of all those silly streetcars, I might even have to celebrate him...

At the cost of the entire rest of the Transit City plan, maybe he will. Then we'll all be winners. I mean, except for people who don't live on Sheppard, east of the 404, anyway.

posted by jacquilynne at 6:42 AM on October 26, 2010


Taking the stage with such well known Toronto promoters and city builders as Mike Harris and Jim Flaherty should be a real warning. If he had campaigned with them, then we'd probably be looking at Mayor George.

The infrastructure of the city will continue to decay, but at least it will be graffiti-free.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 6:43 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Ford can muster 2/3 of council's votes to kill the LRT network (and its $10b in funding), then transit in Toronto is back to being fucked for the next 10 years.

The good news is that he can't. City council basically moved a bit left this election, and they're going to be rallying because they hate, hate Ford. (Many of the conservatives on council don't like him either.)
posted by mightygodking at 6:51 AM on October 26, 2010


Obviously if we remove homeless shelters during freezing winters it will motivate them to get jobs and get their own shelter.

Well - the actual situation is more complex than this.

Many people who are homeless are there because they have serious mental health issues - when the government shut-down long-term care institutions, many had nowhere to go.

Many others suffer from addiction issues - where do they go if the government doesn't have enough treatment facilities?

Here in Calgary, we have a very interesting problem - lots of jobs (even at the low-end of the scale), but very high rent and EXTREMELY LOW vacancy rates - there are a TON of people who actually have to live at a shelter, even though they are working - sometimes working even multiple jobs.

Then, there is that group of young people that would rather live on the street than be abused by their families or the "system" (residential schools, foster-care, group-homes...)... (This group of young people may then fall into addiction problems, followed by long-term mental health issues if they aren't helped quickly...)

Finally, there is a tiny group of people there because they simply "want to be" - my sister who simply couldn't follow any rules, and spent 6 months on the streets of Toronto - the stupid thing is she could have stayed with me (I had my own apartment and didn't have any rules myself...), but she actually thought it was "fun" (I doubt she spent alot of time on the streets, she most likely crashed with friends, but still... technically she was "homeless").
posted by jkaczor at 7:00 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


sixohsix writes "Everyone I know in Toronto is one or more of LGBT, or a bike courier. How did this guy get elected?"

Selection Bias.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 AM on October 26, 2010


Conflating Canadian $conservative_politician with Torontonian all of America. How typically American Canadian MeFite.
posted by thewittyname at 7:11 AM on October 26, 2010


Mike Harris, Stephen Harper, now this clown...I'm really not sure I'd describe Canada as a centre-left country any more. I mean, sure, compared to the States...but we're inching down that road. All you have to do to get elected these days is promise to cut taxes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:24 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why are right-wing pols, the sober-sided business folks, always, without fail, the worst at financial dicipline?

posted by bonehead at 9:59 PM on October 25 [+] [!]


Because their laissez-faire ideology is a chimera?
posted by goethean at 7:27 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sigh - should have been replying to "defunded", not the obvious sarcasm...

... but, this is a touch-point issue for me, because of my personal experiences, so I like to educate people a little further, there are too many people that have that "knee-jerk" reacton to homeless shelters.

Heck, the running joke here in Alberta is that if someone moves here looking for handouts and welfare, the government gives them a free bus ticket to Vancouver where at least they won't freeze during the winter.
posted by jkaczor at 7:34 AM on October 26, 2010


All you have to do to get elected these days is promise to cut taxes

That's the thing that bothers me the most, more than the sight of Ford's ever-smiling, hot, red, shiny face.
It's that people were so willing to chuck any kind of thoughtful way of building a better city because this guy dangled some pocket change in front of them.
Selling out a city, for 60 bucks.
posted by chococat at 7:35 AM on October 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


Ultimately it will be an interesting contrast to see how effective Ford will be in Toronto and how effective Nenshi will be in Calgary.

Personally, I hope Nenshi succeeds, but as we have seen with Obama, when you are handed a mess created by the last bunch of idiots the electorate doesn't seem to remember that. Thankfully Calgary is not much of a mess, so he has something to work with.
posted by jkaczor at 7:36 AM on October 26, 2010


It's that people were so willing to chuck any kind of thoughtful way of building a better city because this guy dangled some pocket change in front of them.

That's a point I whole-heartedly agree on and especially here in Calgary. Heck, we only got curbside recycling city-wide in the last year or so.

We have new communities constantly being built that simply do not have the appropriate facilities (schools, rec/community centers, libraries) because of the fear of taxes.

One of the biggest issues in the last couple of years was implementing parking fees ($3) at the transit parking lots - to add cameras and security guards to reduce break-ins and theft, yet people still hated hit.
posted by jkaczor at 7:45 AM on October 26, 2010


Mike Harris, Stephen Harper, now this clown...I'm really not sure I'd describe Canada as a centre-left country any more. I mean, sure, compared to the States...but we're inching down that road. All you have to do to get elected these days is promise to cut taxes.

But, you see, that's the problem right there. Canada is always compared to the States.

Back when Canada was building its social infrastructure, the big cultural influence was Britain. Sure, the US was important, but there was also that link to Empire (remember official policies of Commonwealth Unity?). But the UK was never as overwhelming a cultural influence as the US is now. Canada is about half the size of the UK, but one tenth the size of the US. Furthermore, the UK was already waning in the world, while the US is still, for the moment, the most culturally powerful country on Earth. So while Canada saw itself as a junior partner in Empire, it looked out to the world. Perhaps with condescension and prejudice, but still with rapt attention.

Now Canada, and Canadian politics in particular, look to only one country: the USA. Canadians are constantly comparing themselves to the Americans, to the point where a good number of people are becoming suspicious of anything distinctly Canadian as being 'strange' and 'wrong'.

How many people have you heard saying 'we need to be modern and have a republic'? What's modern about a republic? Oh, right, the Americans have one.

How many people have you heard talking about the dangers of the inner city in Toronto? The inner city is the safest part of Toronto, but American inner cities are 'dangerous', so ours must be too.

These two forces, the tendency to turn toward the metropole and away from the rest of the world, and the 'autoalienation' of traditional Canadian ways and forms of government is not unique to Canada (I've seen it strongly in Australia and less strongly in the UK), but it is nonetheless one of the most powerful forces driving Canadian politics and public discourse. Look at the rhetoric of this 'election cycle' (yes, we're using the word): 'maverick, elites, taxpayers, fiscal responsibility'... the Canadian right is self-consciously importing political rhetoric from the extreme right in the USA in the comfortable assurance that the Canadian public is prepped to see that as not just a reasonable political discourse, but more 'normal', 'sensible' and 'ordinary' than the now alien Canadian political ideas grew up out of Canadian history.
posted by Dreadnought at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2010 [22 favorites]


All you have to do to get elected these days is promise to cut taxes.

Well, promise to cut taxes with there not being a corresponding cut in the level of service.

Just on the face of it, it's ridiculous. All these city workers are just going to double up their workload? On a permanent basis? Or you can slash the number of city councillors to 22, making it one alderman for 100K plus people, and you can still expect to get him on the phone to talk about the pothole in front of your house? When buddy alderman has less staff to answer the phone? Fewer pads of paper to write the phone numbers down?

We've been on the slash-and-burn model of government for a long time now, and there just isn't any fat left to trim. It's been maintenance-only on everything -- any trip on the TTC can show you that. Rob Ford is one thing, but the Hudak Spectre is haunting Ontario. As bad as it looks now, just wait for him to be at the wheel, with all those Harris cronies still in Ottawa at the same time. Good luck getting anything* done then.

*Security and military concerns excepted, obnatch.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Capt. Renault: "I suppose it's a good night for everyone who had their drunk driving charge tossed off with less than a week of cushy community service, for those whose wife-beating charges were later withdrawn, for those whose remarks about Orientals were misinterpreted as a slur when really it was only meant as a compliment in the first place."


"My, you have such... slanty eyes! No, no... I mean, they're so... exotic! I mean... Like, unique. How do you get them to do that! You simply *have* to teach me!"
posted by symbioid at 7:59 AM on October 26, 2010


Wait. I thought I was voting for "Fnord."

DAMMIT.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:23 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dreadnought: "What's modern about a republic? Oh, right, the Americans have one."
These days, just barely...
posted by cows of industry at 8:33 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


When, exactly, did Toronto stop being "The Good?"
posted by QIbHom at 8:52 AM on October 26, 2010


Republics are so old-fashioned. What is this, 45 BC? Americans should move into the 11th century already, and restore the Great Council.
posted by jb at 8:54 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


QIbHom -- "Toronto the Good" was always a reference to temperance laws, not the provision of social services or quality of transit.

Toronto is still pretty dry.
posted by jb at 8:55 AM on October 26, 2010


I think I mentioned this before, but...

FFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
posted by Theta States at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2010


Everyone I know in Toronto is one or more of LGBT, or a bike courier. How did this guy get elected?

Because none of your friends live in the suburbs of the GTA, where all the non thinking, heartless, right wing-ish voters live? I remember my god-mom freaking out when the GTA was formed, saying we'd rue the day we let people who don't have the balls or the desire to live in the big city decide how it's run.
posted by zarah at 10:54 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


QIbHom -- "Toronto the Good" was always a reference to temperance laws, not the provision of social services or quality of transit.

Toronto is still pretty dry.


Temperance laws, and the generally churchy public sphere. Even half a century ago, city workers chained up park swings on Saturday night so kids could not play on them on the Sabbath. Simpson's massive department store at Yonge and Queen had curtains inside the display windows which were drawn at closing time Saturday night so passersby would not be tempted to windowshop on Sunday. Sunday closing laws in Ontario were cracked open by Toronto furrier Paul Magder in the eighties, who used to open his fur shop every Sunday in defiance of the law. He paid the fine ($10,000, IIRC) each week as a protest against the outdated laws. Growing up then, it was always weird to visit a grocery store on Sunday, as there was a cut-off maximum size for Sunday openings, so supermarkets would roll big racks into place at the entrance to most of the aisles so shoppers could only buy staples. Want to buy bread or milk on Sunday? Sure. Want to buy mustard or cake mix or frozen food? Come back tomorrow.

A celebrated novelist living there in the fifties once expressed his hope (and I am paraphrasing, as I cannot locate the exact wording) that "when it comes time for me to die, I hope and pray the Good Lord sees fit to take me on a Saturday, and so spare me one more goddamn Sunday in Toronto."

And finally, Windsor folk band The Brothers-in-Law recorded a fine song back in the day called "Toronto The Good":

If you're looking for someplace dynamic and bold,
Where commerce is booming and sidewalks are gold,
Where a feller is welcome to hang up his hat,
Don't come to Toronto; it's nothing like that.
For Toronto's a place where the climate's unkind,
Where the people are dismal and narrow of mind,
Where an antique administration drags on,
Like a bunch of small villages rolled into one...


Plus ca change.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:24 AM on October 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Who was that "celebrated novelist," ricochet biscuit?
posted by skwt at 1:16 PM on October 26, 2010


Because none of your friends live in the suburbs of the GTA, where all the non thinking, heartless, right wing-ish voters live? I remember my god-mom freaking out when the GTA was formed, saying we'd rue the day we let people who don't have the balls or the desire to live in the big city decide how it's run.

You mean the amalgamated city of Toronto ('megacity' Toronto). The GTA consists of many cities, each with their own mayors. Only the 416 got to vote for Ford.
posted by emeiji at 1:53 PM on October 26, 2010


Re: The Sunday shopping debacle in Toronto...

I used to work at a health food store on College Street many years ago, and my usual work week was Wednesday-Sunday, since I did a lot of the stocking and ordering and generally acted as a floor manager on the busiest days. Leaving me with Monday and Tuesday as my weekend.

So.

One Sunday I'm getting my tasks done (because it is so quiet) and a woman walks in with a friend. The woman has a great big button on here coat that reads "NO SUNDAY SHOPPING."

Since I could not help myself I said, "what are you doing here, then?"

She responds, "That has nothing to do with it."

We go back and forth politely for a bit, while I explain to her that Sunday for me is like Friday for other people, and taking the day away also takes a days pay out of my pocket. This is not about filthy lucre by faceless corporations on some mythical "day of rest" but an actual difference in commerce that meant having more money left over after paying rent. She made some noises about society needing a shared day off or some other nonsense. I joked about not selling her the damn cookie she was buying because it was not a necessary service.

But I will always remember that at least one of the opponents to the spectre of Sunday Shopping in Toronto was unable to appreciate the irony that she had the traditional day off but still wanted to have the freedom to wander into a place of business and exchange money for goods and or services. Well, as long as she got what she wanted, right?

This is something worth remembering for those of us that have fallen into the M-F routine: the service industry does not revolve around the same routine, and the more important you are , the more likely the /entire/ weekend is going to actually be the middle of the work week for you.
posted by clvrmnky at 2:31 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who was that "celebrated novelist," ricochet biscuit?

My recollection was that it was Morley Callaghan.

For what it's worth, Callaghan died in Toronto in 1990. On a Saturday.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:31 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, by the way, for interested folks from outside of Ontario, this election saw any number of incumbents shown the door. David Miller was not running again in Toronto, but Hamilton, Burlington, London, Ottawa and Sudbury have new mayors since yesterday morning. And just to show that an appetite for change manifests itself in different fashions in different places, Mississauga's Hazel McCallion saw a dramatic* drop in support -- only 76% of votes cast were for her.

McCallion, aged 89, has just started her 12th term as mayor. She has so little competition for the job that she does not campaign and does not accept donations. In an era when municipal politics is often venal, about the only perk she asks for is that when she is appearing at a public function that they give her a parking spot near the door (she still drives herself to these ).

*Dramatic for Mississauga.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:43 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean the amalgamated city of Toronto ('megacity' Toronto). The GTA consists of many cities, each with their own mayors. Only the 416 got to vote for Ford.

Yes, that's what I meant, sorry. I'm a mass of mistakes and blunders out in meatspace today and now here too, lol.

For what it's worth, Callaghan died in Toronto in 1990. On a Saturday.

At St. Michael's hospital. My god-mom's husband (at the time) was his nurse.
posted by zarah at 4:49 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh! Well it's nice to hear he liked Saturdays. He spent them with my grandparents every week.
posted by skwt at 6:01 PM on October 26, 2010


Because none of your friends live in the suburbs of the GTA, where all the non thinking, heartless, right wing-ish voters live? I remember my god-mom freaking out when the GTA was formed, saying we'd rue the day we let people who don't have the balls or the desire to live in the big city decide how it's run.

Um... This was a municipal election. "The GTA" consists of no less than five regional municipalities. You don't get to blame Halton, Peel, York, and Durham for the City of Toronto's shitty new mayor.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:12 PM on October 26, 2010


My guess is that she means Metro Toronto (now flattened into a single layer) and not the GTA.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:19 PM on October 26, 2010


Yes that's what I meant, and what I already said. It's good to read the comments before posting.
posted by zarah at 7:17 PM on October 26, 2010


Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the
issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.

posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:29 PM on October 26, 2010


Is this the thread where I can tell sanctimonious mefite Canadians who always criticize America and or Americans to cheerfully go fuck themselves?

We would, but we're too busy getting fucked by America.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on October 26, 2010


Why is that? Because connecting the Sheppard Subway to a shopping centre is a more useful addition to the transit network than moving people around downtown, a task for which buses would be woefully unsuited for?

That's a funny argument, because just getting the Sheppard line to Victoria park would at least make it useful to people who aren't only headed for "a shopping centre". Warden or Kennedy would be that much better. Going all the way to Scarborough Town is pointless until they finally change the Scarborough RT over to proper subway cars, which may never happen.

And, while I guess Ford might not like any streetcars, it is Transit City that he campaigned against. If you've seen the new St. Clair, as transit user, as driver, as cyclist, or as pedestrian, you know what not to do in future. Streetcars are fine downtown, they are fine on the lake shore and Spadina, and they used to be fine on St.Clair until it was completely fucked up.

They don't even give streetcars on St. Clair priority signaling. What the hell is the point without that?

Hmm.. I wonder if St. Clair is a bigger debacle than the Scarborough RT? Sure the RT cost way more than subway would have, but at least it works for people.. (and will do, until all the cars finally break down for good).
posted by Chuckles at 1:37 AM on October 27, 2010


And, I was Pro St. Clair until I actually saw it.
posted by Chuckles at 1:39 AM on October 27, 2010


*snicker*
posted by jacquilynne at 10:18 AM on October 27, 2010


The new mayor-elect addresses the national media.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:21 PM on October 27, 2010


I heard that interview live. My Word. It was one of the most stunning peices of radio I've ever heard. I'm certain that it will live on as one of those where-were-you moments, long past the phyrric finale of Mr. Ford's career. Thank god for the CBC.

Here's the audio. Starts a couple of minutes in.

The damage control is already in full swing.
posted by bonehead at 1:28 PM on October 27, 2010


Gah. Bad link on the last. Please ignore.
posted by bonehead at 1:30 PM on October 27, 2010


That CBC interview transcript! OMG!
posted by Theta States at 1:32 PM on October 27, 2010


Chuckles, I'm not sure what you're talking about with respect to the St. Clair right-of-way. It's significantly faster than before, at least between Dufferin and Yonge. Modifying the signals so that the streetcars get priority is relatively simple with everything else in place.

The key to making transit reliable is getting the roadblocks (in the form of private vehicles) out of the way of transit, and they've done an admirable job of that.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:30 PM on October 27, 2010


I saw a transcript of the interview in a forum, and assumed it was an Onion style parody. And then I heard the clip.

Oh, my god.

Calgary, Canada's new progressive multicultural city, is now accepting a limited number of refugee applications for Torontonians.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:28 PM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


They don't even give streetcars on St. Clair priority signaling. What the hell is the point without that?

One of the criticisms put out by anti-transit lobby groups (like the CAA) was that the new right-of-way wouldn't be much faster. The whole point is that the new service will be more dependable because drivers won't sit blocking traffic, waiting to turn left. Also accidents that used to block the street car track by even a few inches brought the whole shebang to it's knees because it's nearly impossible to re-route or short turn cars when the closest east/west line is down at College St. The old way was NOT WORKING. A more dependable system encourages development along the whole strip, right out towards Keele.

It was a bunch of poorly scheduled infrastructure upgrades, piggybacking on top of the construction and slowed things down so much. They've added a ton of new parking lots. Street parking is still available off rush hour (like most busy streets). The new system of U turns lights make it much easier to back track to find parking. It's MUCH easier for pedestrians to cross too.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:11 PM on October 27, 2010


It depends entirely on what you call significant. The predicted improvement was something on the order of 3-5 minutes off a 25 minute trip, but I can't find any real world numbers.

The traffic signals are crazy messed up by the changes. Having an advance left at every other side street wastes a ton of time--for the record though, Steve Munro has proved that there is some very weak transit priority on signals.

Where the streetcar stops are, the lanes are way too narrow, causing St. Clair to seem much more like one lane in each direction instead of two--and then there are the places where it was actually reduced to one physical lane. The narrowness on the far sides of intersections is an even bigger problem for cyclists. A competent cyclist knows enough to jump the red light and take the lane, forcing cars to wait behind until the streetcar stop has been passed, but most cyclists aren't at that level.

For the record, along with transit priority at intersections, the other key to actual rapid transit is fewer stops. This doesn't seem to be possible in the current thinking though... I'm not proposing subway type stop spacing, but..

In looking for references to firm any of the above up--none were available--I was impressed once again what a great guy John Sewell is.
posted by Chuckles at 11:15 PM on October 27, 2010


Fun fact gleaned from that wonderful AiH interview: Ford's spokesperson is a Canadian Taxpayer's Federation alum, which is pretty much a breeding program for shitheels.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:24 PM on October 27, 2010


...the other key to actual rapid transit is fewer stops...

As far as streetcars go, and the St.Clair project is concerned, this was never about rapid transit. That's what subways and elevated trains are for. This re-construction was done to make the St. Clair line more dependable and less vulnerable to the vagaries of rush hour traffic. I think that a lot of people against the project tried to confuse that issue to make their point.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:46 AM on October 28, 2010


How Toronto Voted - Which Wards Voted for Ford

Time to de-amalgamate.
posted by zarah at 6:52 PM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Time to de-amalgamate.

After 56 years? Really? Fie. Besides, put to a vote, it'd never happen.

Just de-amalgamate Joe Pantalone.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:40 AM on October 29, 2010


Time to de-amalgamate.

After 56 years? Really? Fie. Besides, put to a vote, it'd never happen.


What? The Mike Harris's provincial tories shitwads amalgamated Toronto and it's suburbs in 1998. It was a big FUCK YOU and done against the will of Toronto's citizens.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:41 AM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just de-amalgamate Joe Pantalone.

Joe Pantalone probably would have won against Smitherman in the old city. Certainly a lot of Smitherman votes would have gone his way without Rob Ford as a threat.
posted by Chuckles at 12:49 PM on October 29, 2010


>>After 56 years? Really? Fie. Besides, put to a vote, it'd never happen.

>What? The Mike Harris's provincial tories shitwads amalgamated Toronto and it's suburbs in 1998. It was a big FUCK YOU and done against the will of Toronto's citizens.


The city was amalgamated in 1954 with the establishment of a single Metropolitan Toronto Council in 1954, consisting of twelve members from the City of Toronto and twelve from surrounding regions. Those twelve suburban regions were consolidated into five boroughs in 1967. Each region also had its own council. In 1988, under David "Meech Lake" Peterson, the ties between the regional councils and the Metro council were weakened. A decade later, Mike Harris simply did away with the regional councils altogether.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:48 PM on November 2, 2010


I read today that Rob Ford spent $650K more than he raised on his election campaign. I'm so glad we'll have him looking after our budget.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:37 AM on November 3, 2010


Luckily Rob Ford was born into money and daddy has lots of political connections, so I'm sure he'll do OK.

Then again, he might have a bake sale like a reg'lar taxpayer.
posted by anthill at 1:31 PM on November 3, 2010


The creation of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954 was a federation of municipalities that shared management of services that crossed their boundaries. Things like the police, transit and water. Each municipality elected it's own mayor and independently managed local municipal services like garbage and fire departments.

Amalgamation with Toronto happened in 1998.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:34 PM on November 3, 2010


Amalgamation with Toronto happened in 1998.

That's when full amalgamation was realized, yes. But, as much as it pains me to defend Mike Harris, he didn't start the fire.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:13 PM on November 3, 2010


Well sure, but all the smaller municipalities have been merging into each other for the last 150 years.

The Conservatives amalgamated TO exactly as their "Common Sense Revolution" was re-jigging municipal property tax rules, reducing the number of school boards, downloading social-service obligations and throwing people off provincial welfare. The city hadn't voted Conservative and they knew their base was rural/suburban, so in a sense the people of Ontario were punishing Toronto. Everybody really does hate Toronto.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:58 PM on November 3, 2010


Just for posterity: there was a piece in last Saturday's Star about the revelation that the Ford campaign used dirty tricks to pre-empt John Tory (who would have been Ford's main rival for the conservative vote) from running. (An incognito Ford employee called Tory's talk show on 1010 and let him know that there was a plan in place to attack Tory's integrity if he ran for mayor).

Anyway, the third-to-last paragraph of the article quotes one Nick Kouvalis as saying that Ford's mayoral rivals "are far more articulate than Rob and most words, when you're talking about transportation, have four syllables or more."

Kouvalis was Ford's deputy campaign manager and is now chief of staff for Ford. That is one of his closest supporters telling us the new mayor has trouble with big words.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:32 PM on November 13, 2010


Also, a discussion of the merits of Ford's transit plans.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:03 PM on November 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


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