Thursday, 9 February 2012

Has Toronto's Mayor Become Irrelevant?

Photo of Rob Ford by Tannis Toohey
for The Toronto Star

Yesterday, Toronto City Council took over the lead on transit planning in the city and voted to reaffirm most of the LRT lines outlined in the Transit City plan. Council voted 25-18 to reaffirm what was already a binding agreement between Toronto City Council and the provincial government. Rob Ford had been trying to derail this plan over the past year and had successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of some of the new and centrist councillors - until yesterday.

After the council vote, Ford claimed that the meeting was irrelevant and that the premier would continue to support his own plan (a fully buried LRT along Eglinton, and a non-funded short subway dream on an Eastern portion of Sheppard).

The provinces response? From the CBC article:

Despite Ford's hopes, Ontario Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli seemed to suggest the province would follow the will of council.

"Throughout the debate, the McGuinty government has maintained a clear stance — we wanted the city to come to a common position so that we all could focus on building much-needed transit infrastructure," he said in a statement. "Now that council has endorsed a position, we have asked Metrolinx to consider the impacts on current transit planning and report back to us as quickly as possible."

Is this the beginning of a change in the Mushy Middle? Will we see the centrists on council begin to vote for reason and their constituents instead of with the mayor? If so, then, over the next 3 years, Rob Ford may find himself outvoted and irrelevant through his own pig-headed uncompromising actions thus far.

Here is the list of how each councillor voted:
LRT For Toronto: Rob Ford Loses Bid To Control Toronto's Transit Future 

Two surprise votes in support of reaffirming the LRT lines were usual Ford supporters John Parker and Jaye Robinson.
Out of the ten Scarborough councillors, 1 was absent, 3 voted in support of the LRT lines, and the rest stuck with Ford and voted against the motion. 

See also
Openfile: After Yesterday's LRT Vote, Toronto Enters the Age of Minority Government
The mayor, having already lost one of the most important votes of his term so far, seems unwilling to face the arithmetic of Toronto's politics (he needs 22 votes on council, plus his own) and instead is working hard to alienate the very centre-right councillors he needs. In hushed tones, some council staff tell reporters they've never seen a mayor so unwilling to compromise. In particular, ruling out TTC Chair Karen Stintz' attempt at compromise (which everyone from Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) to Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute seemed to be able to live with) left a number of staff shaking their heads.

1 comment:

thwap said...

A great day it was! It showed that the completely pig-headed, blustering, brain-dead bullying of the extreme right-wing CAN be resisted.

If only it had been tried more effectively with stephen harper.