In a piece of political theatre utterly unworthy of Toronto, Mayor Elect Rob Ford invited Don Cherry, a loudmouth sports celebrity who is paid a small fortune to pontificate about hockey, to address the inaugural meeting of Council today. Cherry proceeded to insult over half the population of Toronto, those who didn’t vote for Ford, those “left-wing kooks” and “pinkos”.
If I or any member of the public, let alone a member of Council, had made remarks like that, they would have been summarily silenced by the chair and possibly thrown out of the room. This bozo was there as the Mayor’s guest, telling it like it is.
Mayor Ford allowed the important ceremony of his investment in office to be cheapened into a political slam against all those folks, the downtowners, the latté-sippers, the people who like streetcars, and who knows how many other groups who have yet to learn just how small-minded our Mayor really is.
The words may have been Don Cherry’s, but they were said with Mayor Ford’s blessing.
Cherry is an asshole who has no place in Council Chamber, a clown who cannot understand the difference between the entertainment of a break in a hockey game and the serious business of Canada’s largest municipal government. He is no doubt thrilled to death with the exposure.
The Mayor has a duty to all of the people, and to the Council itself. He ran on a campaign of respect for taxpayers. That doesn’t mean just the ones who voted for him, but all of us. I shouldn’t have to produce a photocopy of my ballot to get attention at Rob Ford’s City Hall.
The institution of Council has already been sideswiped by Ford’s one-man show on municipal policy, the attitude that his “mandate”, all 47% of of it with a 53% voter turnout, gives him the right to rule by edict, not by agreement. Now, by inviting Cherry to speak and failing to censure what was said, Ford has insulted all of Council and the voters — all of them.
Mayor Ford: Prove to us that you’re not the boneheaded idiot 53% of Toronto thought you would be when they voted against you. Apologize, unreservedly, now.
“Suppose Cherry had talked about Chinese taking over “our” city? Would it still be funny? Would it still be worth ignoring? No, it would show a profound lack of respect.”
That would constitute a general comment or stereotype. No offense from me here. Besides, we ARE trying to take over the city. One of my former friends insists we’re all “spies commissioned by the Chines Communist Government to subvert the Western Hemisphere”. He is a bit irrational in the head, really.
“Hilarious. I make a comment a few months ago about Ford turning the city into New Detroit and your support of it, and you came crying here about how very offensive it was. What Cherry said in a public forum was infinitely more insulting to large swaths of the city and you tell people to chill out. Again, conservatives show their mastery of projecting their beliefs onto others.”
This is a more specific comment which is why I take offense to it. Your comment was directed at me personally and I still find it offensive.
“Adam Vaughan owes nobody an apology.”
Says you. Then I say that Don Cherry doesn’t owe anyone an apology either.
Steve, I have been silent here since posting around the time of the election – but nonetheless observant from my distant perspective in Chicago, Illinois USA. Over the past few weeks I have been reading – here on your website and elsewhere – the accounts of what has been happening since Rob Ford took office as Toronto’s new mayor – and I cannot but be in awe at how badly things are going as they appear to be at the moment (at least from my viewpoint as a progressive-minded, GOOD-transit-supportive, public-spirited and environmentally-aware individual).
The electorate of your region have for all intents and purposes put in office a profoundly simple-minded, egotistical buffoon to ‘serve’ them for the next four years.
Sadly, it appears you do NOT have a thoughtful, considerate man with strong rightward political leanings and backing yet who, now that he IS mayor, sees himself as obligated to serve well, courteously and respectfully, and to the best of his abilities, ALL Torontonians of ALL political persuasions.
To see all the years of hard work, diligent (if sometimes flawed) planning, and millions of PUBLIC Canadian dollars invested to further good public transport (Transit City) in the megacity that Greater Toronto now is (or, rather, was) in the process of becoming – to see all that effort and expense about to be flushed down Mayor Rob Ford’s personal toilet – is to me nothing short of heartbreaking.
This tremendously irresponsible waste of time, money and effort to improve the public good now seems more than ever likely to happen, thanks to the mindset of your impossibly closed-minded and egocentic new mayor – coupled with a Province of Ontario Prime Minister who most likely will buckle to his demands.
Ford’s inviting CBC hockey sportscaster and crass loud-mouth Don Cherry to speak at the his inaugural Toronto City Hall ceremony set a horrible tone to the proceedings and only deepens my conviction that you in the Greater Toronto region are in for a rough-as-hell and miserable next four years.
If Ford gets his way, as seems likely, Toronto, the old city, will end up a steam-rollered ruin minus all its streetcars and with no tangible progress toward building more subways ANYWHERE on its perimeters. You can bet your final dollar that Ford doesn’t really want – or intend to spend – a single solitary dime on public transit. His subways-instead-of-Transit City mantra is simply a smokescreen to conceal his actual intention that NOTHING transit-wise be done. He simply wishes to end what he perceives as the “the war on the car.” He’ll spend the Transit City dollars on roads and parking facilities instead.
Steve, I admire your steadfastly cool and intelligent analysis of this situation as it unfolds, painfully disappointing and heartbreaking as it is for you and so many others around you. I am confident that despite this terrible setback you and your supporters and allies will persevere at doing all in your collective power to counteract and speak out against Mayor Ford’s destructive and ill-conceived proposals and ‘I know best’ edicts.
You were remarkably civil, even in your describing pink-jacketed sportscaster Don Cherry as an asshole. He richly deserved to be called one, for ALLOWING himself to speak to all the citizens of Toronto in the manner he did. Shame on you, Cherry – and shame on you, too, Mayor Ford, for sitting idly by while Cherry spoke. This pitiful performance was not the stuff of comedy – far from it.
All I can say is – if the Mayor, the TTC and Toronto City Council ever come to their senses and want to put a man in charge of the day-to-day operations of the TTC who truly cares about it and the public it serves and who has done much hard thinking from real-life observations over a good number of years about how to govern and improve it – they could do not do better than to appoint you, Steve Munro!! If I were mayor of Toronto, I’d leap at the chance to offer you that post if you were willing to take it.
Steve: I’m not going to start printing election literature for my campaign.
It seems pretty obvious that Ford will not earn the tag “Mayor of All the People”. Was civic discourse this immature 40 years ago? Except for the antics of Allan Lamport, it seems that public office was taken as a more serious civic duty in days gone by and has now degenerated to this level of name-calling, inviting someone to inaugurate the mayor who really has no right to do so, and the mayor thinking he’s been elected “Du Furor”. No wonder used car salesmen rate higher than politicians as more trustworthy.
Nick J. Boragina, did you really mean to contradict yourself in the oxymoronic sentence, “The type of “left-wink pinko kooks” that sit on city council, or support them, just don’t “get it” when it comes to what citizens of the city want.”
Sometimes I wonder if the people that post here are under 20. Pre-amalgamation, the TTC was under Metro, not the old Barbara Hall City of Toronto. While I was against amalgamation back then, I thought the jagged municipal borders between Toronto, York, and East York were incredibly silly and, at the very least, needed to be straightened out so that they followed major roads. Besides, the old City of Toronto was just too small geographically to keep it the way it was, and it was even smaller before 1967. If it had stayed that way, on paper at least, even a city like Mississauga would rank higher in population.
Steve: It is unclear what exactly this has to do with Don Cherry’s rant which is, after all, the launching point for this entire thread. There are left-wingers outside of the old City of Toronto too. The older part of East York has more in common with the old City and the Beach than with the new suburbs, for example. Now, through the magic of amalgamation, my old turf is part of “North York” council thanks to the top end of the city being lopped off.
Oddly enough, I grew up in what was then North Toronto on the outskirts of the old city. The boundaries were a simple fact of life — the city had grown north up Yonge Street, but there were farms not far from the eastern outskirts at Bayview and Eglinton, and that corner was a swamp in the 40s. Sunnybrook Plaza on the NE corner was the first strip mall in greater Toronto, and it was in what was then the town of Leaside. The underground stream plays havoc with new developments there, and will give the builders of Bayview Station on the Eglinton whatever-it-will-be a challenge.
Memory, aided by a good sense of history, is useful even if we old farts have to put up with the odd insult now and then. For those who don’t know, I’m 62.
Robert, did you mean “Der Führer”?
Steve: I think that the misspelling gives a better sense of the incoming crew’s attitude to the city.
Oh, Man! The crowd’s wating outside right now cheering for you! I can hear the cheers now! “STEVE! STEVE! STEVE! STEVE!” They’re calling for you! lol
It is truly sad that Mayor Ford has chosen to not only ignore the long standing tradition of making the inauguration of an new mayor a serious and traditional ceremony, but also that he has taken the extreme step of allowing Don Cherry to speak for him. Cherry’s views are no secret to Canadians. He is a bigoted, opinionated individual who has offended many (if not most) Canadians in regard to his views about hockey. Hockey is a subject of limited importance, and he has some claim to expertise in that field. Therefore his views on that subject can be tolerated. The future sustainability of Canada’s largest city is of great importance and Cherry has no expertise in this regard. By the very act of allowing Cherry to speak for him, Ford is demonstrating that his expertise in this regard is severely limited as well.
In honest truth, I had some disagreements with the version of Transit City that was in place prior to Ford’s election, but I respected the plan as one developed with a lot of thought and intelligence. If Ford had examined the plan and introduced some minor changes, these alterations would have been worthy of sober review and consideration. But it is difficult to present counterarguments a mayor who announces that a major initiative is cancelled as his first act in office and without consultation with other members of his own government.
While the construction of subways beneath the previously proposed LRT routes outlined by the now defunct Transit City plan would be “wunderbar”, the cost would be astronomical and the ridership would be insufficient, within the lifetime of anyone reading this, to justify this cost.
I will make the prediction that within Mayor Ford’s term in office, there will not be one shovel full of soil excavated for any subway development outside of the Spadina extension that was underway before he showed up. As there was construction beginning on Transit City LRT projects before he showed up, if this prediction proves correct, he is then a complete failure as mayor.