Ford Desecration Pt IV - the march to Detroit continues

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Mr.Tea

Michelle, technically, he's not being removed for using council stationary to solicit money. He's being removed for voting when council had a vote as to whether he should have to pay it back. Voting on whether he'd have to pay it back constituted a conflict of interest.

Council actually voted that he should NOT have to pay the money back. So, that makes what Ford did even more stupid. He wouldn't have had to pay back the money anyway. Even if he did have to, he could easily afford to. This was him being a complete idiot by participating in the vote in the first place.

And while you're correct that it might have gotten him some "goodwill", probably not much. He didn't do this when he was mayor but back as a city councillor when he was in a ward that was almost impossible for him to lose. I doubt he gained a single vote either for council or mayor because he runs his football program (though, his football coaching is pretty much the solitary thing I actually like about him). Basically, he got kicked out of office for being stupid.

1weasel

This is my understanding of what happens going forward.  Ford has 14 days, from the date of judgment, to launch an appeal.  He also has the option of applying for a stay of the decision which would allow him to stay in office until the appeal is heard.  If the stay was not granted, which is very likely, then Rob has to step down while the appeal process goes forward.

Here is where it gets interesting.  Should Ford have to step down while awaiting the appeal then city council would appoint an interim major that would act until a decision in the appeal.  This persom cannot be appointed until the mayor steps down.  If the decision comes back in favor of Ford then he resumes as mayor.  Should the appeal fail then council has 60 days from that date to appoint someone to fill the term or hold a byelection.  Council has passed a policy that any mayor appointed in such fashion comes from within their ranks.

We're still awaiting word on Ford's campaign financing probe and the libel case.

Michelle

I know why he's being removed.  I'm just saying that the media is going on about how he was just trying to help kids and that the original action that led to this whole mess didn't benefit him at all personally.  That's a lie.

Unionist

This is another deal like Margaret Wente plagiarizing, or Bev Oda ordering $16 OJ, or Al Capone evading taxes. People's understandable schadenfreude overshadows the plain fact that what brings these characters down is not their real crimes, but some irrelevancy. We even try to convince ourselves that what he did (letterhead, participating in the vote, etc.) is really terrible, when actually it's nothing. Unless he's brought down for the right reasons, he'll be back - with a strong sympathy vote for having been persecuted by the enemies of "democracy".

I'm not close to the situation, so this is just guesswork and generalizing.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

To some degree, Unionist, I agree with you. I think that if a less divisive politician had used official letterhead for charity, we'd never hear of it. And it's a problem that Ford's brand of bullying, self-aggrandizing, scorched-earth anti-politics wasn't enough to get him turfed or, better, unelectable in the first place.

That said, the actual point on which the judgment rests is not tangential--it was actually representative, if less severe, of his general approach to politics: fuck all y'all, I do what I like and damn the "rules." So he was, in my reading of the incident, impeached exactly for his kind of politics--it was just one of the less bombastic and violent violations.

Mr.Tea

Unionist wrote:

 We even try to convince ourselves that what he did (letterhead, participating in the vote, etc.) is really terrible, when actually it's nothing. Unless he's brought down for the right reasons, he'll be back - with a strong sympathy vote for having been persecuted by the enemies of "democracy".

Completely agree. I worry this may, ultimately strengthen Ford. He gets to be the martyr and run against the "enemies of democracy" who unfairly got him booted from office. Plus, when he runs in two years, it becomes less about his record as mayor and more about his removal.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I know I show ignore her inane ramblings but Sue-Ann Levy really enjoys her cover. As someone who should really be against this type of bullying, I can't take it anymore from her.

 

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/11/27/vindictive-leftists-show-their-pettiness-going-after-rob-ford

 

Quote:

A self-important girly-man who is the first to whine when someone dares attack him

 

snip

 

He actually learned his activism at the knee of NDPer Olivia Chow as part of her Toronto Youth Cabinet.

 

snip

 

In 2010 when he ran for school trustee in my ward of St. Paul’s, (a race which he thankfully lost) he counted would-be and former councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam, his old mentor Chow-Chow, Joe Mihevc, Maria Augimeri and Howard Moscoe as contributors to his campaign.

 

Is this really where we're at?

 

DESPICABLE.

 

Ima take a break.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Or is this when I should be less of a girly man and gird my loins?

 

Oy!

 

Ima be all over that one, she thinks she's so fucking clever.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

It's just soo self-defeating to parse their nonsense. Must we liv in this world?

Michelle

Unionist, I hear you on that.  Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of "eyerollers" that I've seen lefties latch onto with Rob Ford (can't think of them right now, so I guess they were pretty irrelevant) - little gaffes, that sort of thing.  That sort of thing, combined with the fat jokes and other stupid mocking that I've seen lefties engaging in means that Ford gets major sympathy from the general public who doesn't like seeing people bullied, no matter how much of an idiot they might be.

I do disagree with you about this one, though.  At first, I also thought that this wasn't that big a deal.  But ultimately, I do think it's really important that a hard line is drawn on conflicts of interest.  People should not be speaking to or voting on matters that directly affect them financially, no matter how small the amount of money.  And frankly, to most of us, even if we were earning a mayor or councillor's salary, $3,100 isn't chicken-feed, even though it is to Ford.  I don't want a precedent set where people for whom that IS a lot of money can influence votes in their own favour.

 

onlinediscountanvils

[url=http://www.christindal.ca/2012/11/27/mandatory-minimum-accidentally-appl... Minimum Accidentally Applied to Powerful White Man[/url]

Unionist

When city council debated - and then voted - did anyone object? I'm assuming they all knew this was Rob Ford's personal issue? Just wondering.

ETA: Actually, I've just read the account of the events as set out in the court's decision. The offence that Ford is found guilty of is technical and the judge's account leading to the decision is convoluted. It's a tortured interpretation of the legislation - in my non-lawyer's opinion. We'll see what the appeals court says.

I encourage folks to read the decision and see what they think.

Michelle

Unionist, in the decision, it says that Ford was actually asked by the Speaker whether he was planning to declare a conflict of interest before speaking and voting, and Rob Ford acknowledged her question and said no.  So he knew.

Unionist

Michelle wrote:

Unionist, in the decision, it says that Ford was actually asked by the Speaker whether he was planning to declare a conflict of interest before speaking and voting, and Rob Ford acknowledged her question and said no.  So he knew.

Yeah I know - which is why I asked my question above. The Speaker said:

Quote:
I alerted Councillor Ford to his conflict of interest in the hope and expectation that he would declare his conflict and not vote on the motion. Having ignored my warning, there was nothing more that I could do.

Huh? Why did she let him speak and vote, when the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act says he can't?

And even if he had declared a conflict of interest, the law doesn't allow him to speak to the matter (let alone vote). It also seems that the strict wording of the law doesn't permit a person in his situation from speaking even to defend themselves or give an explanation - but the judge says (in essence) that's not his problem. Read the sections culminating in paragraphs 23 and 24 of the ruling.

As the judge notes (and as the former Integrity Commissioner pointed out in a report cited by the judge at para 46), the penalty section of the act is a "sledgehammer". No matter how minor the infraction is, the only penalty allowed is to "vacate" the seat. In Ford's case, there was no attempt to hide anything. Everyone knew exactly what he had done (they had known for years), and no action had been taken against him for the substance of what he had done.

It's a technicality. If this had happened to a progressive politician, I personally would have been screaming bloody murder.

socialdemocrati...

I agree with the principled folks. If you're going to beat someone politically, it better be in the political arena. Beating them in the legal arena is nice, but it seldom defeats the idea that they represent. As a lot of people wisely pointed out, nailing them on a legal technicality risks making their movement stronger.

That being said... Rob Ford had already lost a ton of steam from his election high. Polls showed he was hurting and would probably lose next election. People had soured on him. For a few reasons:

  • He couldn't find much "gravy" to stop, and started cutting popular services like arenas and waste management.
  • He bungled the TTC for two years, enough that his own Conservative TTC Chair revived David Miller's transit city.
  • Even soft-c conservatives saw how he handled the lawsuit, and felt he was so stubborn that he could only blame himself.

So he lost pretty much everyone. He lost the populist support that he tapped into, he lost his allies on city council, and he lost the "good management" small c conservatives. The hardcore Conservatives are all he has left, and they're talking about abandoning ship for a new standard bearer.

I don't think there are enough Rob Ford supporters left to galvanize. His fate is sort of like Bob Rae, where he'd alienated so many people that by the time the fatal blow came along there was no one who still cared. Put him out of his misery.

mark_alfred

His popularity is still high in the surrounding suburbs of central Toronto.  Also, in spite of all his gaffes, I believe the last that we heard of the city's finances was in December of last year

I recall when Miller was in office that we perpetually read of how either new taxes would have to be implemented or large services such as the entire Sheppard subway would have to be closed. People like Sewell wrote in Eye that Miller should face the truth and raise property taxes far beyond what was being discussed or a financial disaster would befall the city.  There has been no similar talk during Ford's term.

I wish the media would focus in on this a bit more.  I feel it is likely due to Miller's work that the city enjoys some financial stability now.  But, given the media coverage, I really don't know.  Instead, it just seems that we're not facing such large financial threats now, and instead are just enjoying this mildly entertaining sideshow put on by the Ford brothers.

onlinediscountanvils

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:
So he lost pretty much everyone. He lost the populist support that he tapped into, he lost his allies on city council, and he lost the "good management" small c conservatives. The hardcore Conservatives are all he has left, and they're talking about abandoning ship for a new standard bearer.

 

Rob Ford has often been compared to Ottawa's regrettable former mayor, Larry O'Brien. One key difference is that Larry won his trial, but the rest is quite similar. He was exposed as a bumbling bully from almost the moment the election was over. All but his most hardcore supporters abandoned him in the following election, finishing 24% behind the winner.

mark_alfred

Unionist wrote:

Huh? Why did she let him speak and vote, when the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act says he can't?

He is the chief magistrate, and he was asked and he stated he did not feel he was in a conflict of interest.  I think it's unlikely she'd overrule him.  He's responsible to ensure that he's not in conflict of interest, not her.

Unionist

Yeah maybe, but I don't really understand why he couldn't speak to defend or explain his actions. Seems like a pure technicality to me.

janfromthebruce

It's not Unionist. The responsibility to speak and vote is absolutely at the discretion of the "voter", in this Rob Ford. He can't speak because he is deemed to be in conflict of interest which means he should not try to influence the decision in anyway.

The vote was about paying back Money. So he had a pecuniary interest. He could gain financially (by not having to pay back the money). So the technicality is legitimate.

Incidently, conflict of interest is "consistent across North America".

Unionist

janfromthebruce wrote:

It's not Unionist. The responsibility to speak and vote is absolutely at the discretion of the "voter", in this Rob Ford. He can't speak because he is deemed to be in conflict of interest which means he should not try to influence the decision in anyway.

So if the Speaker had said: "Sorry Mr. Mayor, you can't speak or vote to this issue - it's against the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act for you to do so - you're out of order - next" - then what? I've never heard of a body where the Chair, or in this case the Speaker, doesn't have the authority to uphold the rules of order, or the law. Had she done so, no complaint, no court case, Ford is still mayor. Can someone explain exactly why she simply "alerted" him, then allowed him to break the law? I don't get it.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Ford disagreed with her interpretation and she's not a lawyer or judge. Ford then governed himself incorrectly.

 

janfromthebruce

RP is correct. The chair does not have the authority to tell someone they can't speak in this regard nor vote. In fact, only the public can bring a complaint forward, and not a fellow councillor. It must be a citizen.

That is why the "newly elected" is given orientation about their "legal obligations" under various acts and regulations. Ignorance and willful ignorance is not above the law.

Unionist

janfromthebruce wrote:
In fact, only the public can bring a complaint forward, and not a fellow councillor. It must be a citizen.

That's not what the law says:

Quote:

Who may apply to judge

9.  (1)  Subject to subsection (3), an elector may, within six weeks after the fact comes to his or her knowledge that a member may have contravened subsection 5 (1), (2) or (3), apply to the judge for a determination of the question of whether the member has contravened subsection 5 (1), (2) or (3). R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50, s. 9 (1).

And "an elector" is defined as follows:

Quote:

Definitions

1.  In this Act, [...]

“elector” means,

(a) in respect of a municipality, or a local board thereof, other than a school board, a person entitled to vote at a municipal election in the municipality, and

(b) in respect of a school board, a person entitled to vote at the election of members of the school board; (“électeur”)

So anyone on council - including the Speaker - could have applied to a judge against Ford's actions. The fact that none of them did indicates either: 1) that no one thought the infraction was serious; or 2) that they didn't think it was an infraction; or 3) that they knew it was unlawful but didn't care about ensuring the law was respected.

What I find really strange is that no one - on council or anywhere - charged Ford back in 2010, where he committed exactly the same offence. From para 55 of the judge's decision:

Quote:
I also find that he was well aware that he may have been in a conflict situation because Speaker Bussin had specifically warned him that he was in a conflict when he voted on a motion concerning these same issues (i.e., the recommended repayment to donors) when the matter first came before Council on August 25, 2010.

Either the councillors don't understand the law (Municipal Conflict of Interest Act), or they didn't consider it important to apply it - either in 2010, or 2012. And I'm not all that surprised. Once a judge finds there was an infraction - for example, even if Ford had just spoken and not voted - the Act leave no choice but to vacate the seat. A "sledgehammer", as the judge says, which could be used against anyone anytime.

Anyway, if anyone closer to the scene has an explanation as to why councillors of all political stripes ignored Ford's illegal actions in 2010 and 2012, I'd be interested in hearing it.

mark_alfred

Well, Ford CAN run in a byelection.  Makes sense, given the overall spirit of the decision.  Hackland's decision said Ford was guilty, and had to vacate, but also said he felt obliged by law to hand out a punishment that was overkill for the scope of the crime, and thus would not be imposing any restrictions upon his rerunning in the future.  However, the direction to vacate stated it declined to hold any further restrictions "beyond the current term", which could be read as preventing him from running until 2014 (and thus contradicting the no restrictions spirit of the decision).  So, in a conference call he clarified that despite the phrase "beyond the current term", there were no restrictions.  So, Ford can run if a byelection is called.

Which I feel is best.  This way he is punished, but the people can have the final say.

janfromthebruce

Unionist wrote:

janfromthebruce wrote:
In fact, only the public can bring a complaint forward, and not a fellow councillor. It must be a citizen.

That's not what the law says:

Quote:

Who may apply to judge

9.  (1)  Subject to subsection (3), an elector may, within six weeks after the fact comes to his or her knowledge that a member may have contravened subsection 5 (1), (2) or (3), apply to the judge for a determination of the question of whether the member has contravened subsection 5 (1), (2) or (3). R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50, s. 9 (1).

And "an elector" is defined as follows:

Quote:

Definitions

1.  In this Act, [...]

“elector” means,

(a) in respect of a municipality, or a local board thereof, other than a school board, a person entitled to vote at a municipal election in the municipality, and

(b) in respect of a school board, a person entitled to vote at the election of members of the school board; (“électeur”)

So anyone on council - including the Speaker - could have applied to a judge against Ford's actions. The fact that none of them did indicates either: 1) that no one thought the infraction was serious; or 2) that they didn't think it was an infraction; or 3) that they knew it was unlawful but didn't care about ensuring the law was respected.

What I find really strange is that no one - on council or anywhere - charged Ford back in 2010, where he committed exactly the same offence. From para 55 of the judge's decision:

Quote:
I also find that he was well aware that he may have been in a conflict situation because Speaker Bussin had specifically warned him that he was in a conflict when he voted on a motion concerning these same issues (i.e., the recommended repayment to donors) when the matter first came before Council on August 25, 2010.

Either the councillors don't understand the law (Municipal Conflict of Interest Act), or they didn't consider it important to apply it - either in 2010, or 2012. And I'm not all that surprised. Once a judge finds there was an infraction - for example, even if Ford had just spoken and not voted - the Act leave no choice but to vacate the seat. A "sledgehammer", as the judge says, which could be used against anyone anytime.

Anyway, if anyone closer to the scene has an explanation as to why councillors of all political stripes ignored Ford's illegal actions in 2010 and 2012, I'd be interested in hearing it.

Actually, we are told that only voters can bring a complaint forward and not an elected member on a school board or council. In this regard, we are not considered voters.

mark_alfred

Unionist wrote:

Can someone explain exactly why she simply "alerted" him, then allowed him to break the law? I don't get it.

Hard to say exactly without knowing the exact rules of proceedure that Council uses.  However, generally these things are based on Bourinot’s Rules of Order, which states that for a motion to be either reconsidered (or rescinded), proper notice of the motion to reconsider must be made in advance (to ensure everyone is duly notified), and then the motion to have a reconsideration of a previously passed motion must pass by a two thirds majority before a reconsideration can occur: 

Bourinot’s Rules of Order wrote:

37. Reconsideration

Procedures are sometimes provided not only for rescinding a motion that has been adopted, but also for reconsidering a motion that failed. A reconsideration rule usually requires advance notice in writing that a question will be reconsidered at the next meeting. The provision is a useful one, in that conclusions occasionally may be reached too hastily or on the basis of inadequate information, and a later review may well be in the general interest. However, reconsideration should not be allowed except upon due notice and formal motion, and it is customary to insist on a two-thirds majority vote on a motion to reconsider.

So, I would assume that Ford gave advance notice, and then received a two-thirds majority vote to reconsider Council's previous decision.  Then, after being allowed reconsideration from the "due notice and [subsequent] formal motion", reconsideration would proceed (IE, discussion and another vote on the specifics of the reconsideration itself).  Since Ford was granted the right to proceed with reconsideration, it would be strange for the Speaker to deny him the right to speak upon it.  It would be like being given the right to appeal a judicial decision, but then being forbidden from speaking to it at the appeal. 

Granted, council should not have allowed the reconsideration, but their allowing him to do so does not absolve him from blame.  It'd be like someone who was erroneously allowed out of prison on parole who kills someone saying, "not my fault, they never should have allowed me out."

mark_alfred

Ford was involved in a silly scream fest yesterday in council over a completely legitimate deal that Adam Vaughan had with a developer (involving a negotiation over benefits to the community from the development, which is normal for councillors to do).  Ford (and his brother) had a second scream fest in the same meeting over some motion that, even after his scream fest, was passed unanimously by Council.  What a buffoon.

mark_alfred

I think I just heard on the radio that Ford will give up his appeal if Council decides to call a byelection soon, with him running in it.  Great news, since I love elections.  Besides Olivia Chow, who I don't think will run, I'm not sure who could beat him.

Mr.Tea

Does anyone know: Would Olivia Chow have to resign from Parliament in order to run for mayor?

mark_alfred

To add to my previous post about Ford being able to run in a byelection, the judge amended his decision after a conference call about it:

CBC article wrote:
On Friday, the judge responded by amending his previous ruling. He deleted the words "beyond the current term" from his original ruling.

Hackland wrote:
The corrected sentence shall now read: “In view of the significant mitigating circumstances surrounding the respondent’s actions, as set out in paragraph 48 of these reasons, I decline to impose any further disqualification from holding office under s. 10(1)(b) of the MCIA.”“

It's more in line with the spirit of the whole decision.

mark_alfred

Don't know about Chow.  Regarding a byelection, should one happen, Shelley Carroll is the only one who has formally announced an intention to run.  She would be an improvement (which goes without saying since anyone would be an improvement over Ford, but Carroll does seem pretty decent.)  Her decision to jump in early likely stems from thoughts she had on the previous election (link).  Also, link2 on her decision.

Unionist

Great rabble reprint by Rick Salutin. He may be slightly wrong on one point (thinking the judge had alternative lesser penalties available once he found Ford had been in technical violation of the law) - but I viscerally sympathize with his general thesis:

[url=http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/11/nostalgia-rob-ford-era-toronto-polit... for the Rob Ford era in Toronto politics[/url]

 

Sineed

A Toronto city counsellor told me a couple of years ago that Shelley Carroll had intended to run in the 2010 election, but was told not to, because the "progressive" money was behind Slitherman. So we were left with either the idiot or the crook. And there was Pantalone, who I voted for, but Pantalone didn't have the charisma to win much support.

I completely disagree with Salutin's assertion that Ford is a populist. Ford is as populist as GW Bush, and rather analogous, too: a wealthy well-connected white guy who comes off as populist because he's a simple-minded black-and-white thinker. And yes; Ford voters do deserve to be denigrated. Ford's antics have been all over the media and Youtube for years - the people who voted for him were not paying attention. I know some Ford voters who are intelligent and well-educated people, but they don't give a rat's ass about municipal politics.

Rob Ford has always been manifestly about lowest common denominator politics at its worst. There's no excuse for falling for that.

Part of the problem here is all the meddling of higher levels of government in our municipal politics. I already mentioned the Liberal party accidently helping Ford get elected by scotching Shelley Carroll's plans in 2010, and then there's Ford's connections in the federal Conservative party going all the way up the the Prime Minister. Of course we can't eliminate this; I imagine it happens in every large city in Canada. But how do we end up with proper governance in TO? This mayor made Mel Lastman look like a distinguished statesman (I believe Mel himself has actually mentioned this).

Would getting political parties at the municipal level help?

mark_alfred

Ford's just an agent for growing the gap between the rich and the poor.  Salutin's prosaic article seems to miss that.  Whatever it takes to remove him and others of his ilk from power is fine by me.

Unionist

Sineed wrote:

Would getting political parties at the municipal level help?

Absolutely! We have three parties on Montréal city council, and democracy and transparency reign supreme!

Yell

 

shartal@rogers.com

We should all thank Clayton Ruby and Paul Magner for doing the heavy lifting.

adma

Sineed wrote:
I completely disagree with Salutin's assertion that Ford is a populist. Ford is as populist as GW Bush, and rather analogous, too: a wealthy well-connected white guy who comes off as populist because he's a simple-minded black-and-white thinker. And yes; Ford voters do deserve to be denigrated. Ford's antics have been all over the media and Youtube for years - the people who voted for him were not paying attention. I know some Ford voters who are intelligent and well-educated people, but they don't give a rat's ass about municipal politics.

Ah, but think deeply.  False populist he may be; but the note he struck was definitely populistic.  And a lot of the Ford voters you're tossing away also happen to Layton 2011 voters--toss'em overboard at your peril.

In Ward 26, Ford fared better vs Smitherman in Lib/NDP/left-leaning Thorncliffe Park than in solidly right-leaning (and Harper's first home) Leaside.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist wrote:
Great rabble reprint by Rick Salutin. He may be slightly wrong on one point (thinking the judge had alternative lesser penalties available once he found Ford had been in technical violation of the law) - but I viscerally sympathize with his general thesis:

[url=http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/11/nostalgia-rob-ford-era-toronto-polit... for the Rob Ford era in Toronto politics[/url]

I also enjoyed that reprint. But I enjoyed even more the following incisive comment:

awhitten wrote:

I think most would agree Ford has been useful for getting municipal politics noticed, if not actually discussed. His polarizing style didn't lend itself to discussion so one has to question even this as being a plus.

As for "feeling" for "Ford's loyal foot soldiers", it would be better to write about where "resentment of the elites" comes from as Chris Hedges did in "Death of the Liberal Class". But I think this subject may be just a little too close to the bone for a member of the elite to write about.

Salutin's writing is as good it gets for a columnist writing in corporate media but the position still buys him elite status. He pushed the limits in G & M and finally was axed, only to join another corporate paper where the envelope may be a bit bigger, but only by millimeters.

He has limits to what he can write - not written down or even communicated verbally but understood through what is called the 'culture of the newsroom'. I've talked to several Star writers about this. The Star used to send journalists out to presentations on liberal subjects to promote its 'liberal' image. I've found the writers have mostly internalized the limits and become angry when you note them.

What Salutin avoids is dealing with where "resentment of the elites" comes from that results in the birth of populist political candidates. Instead he writes about the "disdain and disrespect" that "those with better access to vocabulary, education, professional expertise and connections" sometimes exhibit.

Against reason, and for something safe to write about one presumes, Salutin argues "The Ford moment was a chance to try and heal that rift by arguing case-by-case regarding the public good, rather than dissing people for their general views," forgetting that the "dissing" agenda was set by their hero, Ford, from the beginning. Not much chance for 'healing rifts' whilst their hero was creating them.

 Hedges succinctly nails where the resentment comes from - disappointment and anger at politicians who let them down - Mr liberal himself, champion of unions, Miller, for example, responsible for a stinking summer of garbage in order to break the power of a union. It made no sense whatsoever, except in support of folks who were focused on breaking the union that Torontonians had to pay for.

If Salutin wants to contribute material to Rabble, I think it should be original and not a reprint with the built-in limits intact. I suspect he won't do it lest his bosses start to worry about what the 'real' Salutin represents. After all these years, there may no longer be a real Salutin.

janfromthebruce

Last year, when attending the federal leadership convention in Toronto, my daughter and  I took a cab to the event. Anyway, the cab driver told us a very interesting story about Olivia and Jack, but also said he loved Jack and voted for him, and also that he supported Ford and voted for him - I noted he didn't perceive a disconnect in his various votes, and he said he always supported the "underdog", someone who fights for the "little guy".

So there you have it - populist who speaks to and can make one feel connected on an emotional level. Oh, and the cabbie knew Olivia and helped her out one day. He would vote for her in a "heart-beat".

voice of the damned

Jan:

I know lots, and I mean LOTS, of people who have the same supposed disconnect as your cab-driver. Just as an example, a fundamentalist Christian originally from Saskatchewan who loathes Tommy Douglas, hates public health-care, but has nothing but admiration for a former NDP mayor of Edmonton, and general contempt for her more conservative successors. 

And a dozen or so other examples could come to mind right away. Sometimes, as you say, it seems to be populist appeal that accounts for these supposed inconsistencies, but I think there are almost as many explanations as there are people. Often they're responding to populist appeal, sometimes to the personality of a given politician(the mayor I mentioned earlier was not particularly populist in her style, but would appeal to someone who likes an image of competency). Plus, some voters tend to vary in their ideological approach, depending on whether they're voting at a city, provinicial, or federal level.

NorthReport

Thanks catchfire.

Junkyard Dog

I just read the Salutin article. It's worthless.

Unionist wrote:

Great rabble reprint by Rick Salutin. He may be slightly wrong on one point (thinking the judge had alternative lesser penalties available once he found Ford had been in technical violation of the law)

Sigh. This is a fuck of a lot more than just "slightly" wrong. It's completely wrong. It's dead wrong. It's 100% wrong. Salutin doesn't know what he's talking about. Every single analysis I've read on the court case, including many of the comments here, have stressed that the most salient feature of its outcome was that the Judge had literally no choice in his decision: Boss Hogg was given every opportunity available to save face and graciously back out of the corner he'd insisted on painting himself into, but Ford's arrogance and hubris spurned him on to the case's inevitable conclusion. Apparently, commie pinko crap like rules and the Law are exclusively for the little people, not bullyboy Mussolini wannabes like Rob Ford.

And I like that "technical" violation of the law comment made by Unionist, as if what Ford did was no big deal. Why, like any elected official, he should be able to do whatever he damn well wants! Let's all chip in and buy him a nice present! After all, isn't Ford the real victim here? I weep for Democracy Lost! I must hide my eyes. Boo hoo hoo hoo hoo! (Runs out of room, sobbing copiously into open hands.)

And then there's Salutin's altogether useless remarks about populism, which don't fit Ford at all. Let's call a spade a spade: Ford isn't a populist. He's a fake populist. There's a difference between the two terms. The former genuinely have the general population's welfare in mind to at least some extent; historically, even right wing populists - if they're sincere - truly want to throw a few crumbs to members of their own tribe (if nobody else), when it's not inconvenient and if it doesn't get in the way of their larger, more selfish, ambitions. The latter use the rhetoric and appearence of populism to push an agenda that's pure Oligarchy, all the way. Usually, they do this by stirring up shit, pandering to the lowest common denominator, and throwing red meat to the rubes in order to rile them up and get them to vote against their own interests.

Guess which description fits Ford the best?

That earlier Toronto Star article about populism by Don Gillmore (liked to by Sineed) is far superior to Salutin's effort, as are Sineed, Catchfire and Awhitten's comments here. In fact, the latter confronts a significant point that Salutin doesn't come within a country mile of addressing: We can't "heal any rifts" (and remind me: why the hell is it solely our responsibility to do so?) or elevate the tone of the commentary surrounding Ford because Ford will not allow it. He's the one who set the tone to begin with, and it's in his interests to keep it focused at that level. It perfectly compliments the aggreived sense of victimhood of his most neandrathal, far right followers, the real troops behind Ford Nation; the True Believers who have an almost desperate need to have something to hate, and are unashamedly looking to beat up on any target that's smaller and weaker than they are.

Then there are the non-mouth frothing types who voted for the bastard, people like the cab driver mention by Janfromthebruce, those who typically don't really pay much attention to politcs. They're not malicious, but they tend to look at all the controversy surrounding Ford and assume there must be something to the paranoid fantasies of persecution he (and his allies in the media) keep spinning, in the sense that where's there so much smoke, there must be at least a little fire. After all, it's not like any other narratives are making their way through to these people. The Toronto Sun and its ilk tend to be the loudest screamers, while the more 'mainstream' local media (CITY, CFTO, etc.) have shown themselves to be perfectly content in acting as Ford's unofficial PR department. They love what a sideshow he is, and they're not going to go out of their way to capsize him for that reason.

All this being the case, at the very bare minimum, we shouldn't be mindlessly spouting variations on, "Yes, it was us, it was all us! We're to blame for not taking the delicate little fee-fees of Ford's voters into account whenever we comment on him!" This is junior kindergarten level stuff when it comes to politics: Don't let your opponents set the terms of the debate, and especially don't agree that they're 100% right, and we're 100% wrong. Most of all, don't do this when the politician in question is a bullying thug, a rich pig elitist trying to disguise himself as a salt-of-the-earth "little guy," and an extremist, far-right nut like Rob Ford. That so many of you are displaying such an unseemly overeagerness to to swallow this transparent propagandistic bilge is nothing short of appalling. Y'all aren't stupid. You should know better.

Unionist

Here was another article by Salutin - from August - which hit the nail on the head (in my minority opinion):

[url=http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/1249279--beat-toronto-mayor-rob-f... Toronto mayor Rob Ford at the ballot box, not in court[/url]

Quote:

I feel like the guy who turns on the lights and turns off the music at the party — attended by many of my friends — but I’m still not keen at the prospect of mayor Rob Ford losing his job due to a legal case against him based on a small conflict of interest in a matter he shouldn’t have voted on.

Many good citizens are looking forward to this because they think he’s a terrible mayor and bad for the city. No argument there. But I see it as a potential abuse of democracy, even the flawed kind that we have.

If an elected official breaks the law, he or she should certainly face charges. If found guilty they should be fined, even jailed. But unless it’s totally unavoidable, they shouldn’t have their election voided except — there are always exceptions — if his election itself was the result of the crime. Democracy is democracy and the law is the law. They co-exist, one isn’t superior to the other. If an official is turned out, it should be by the same process that put him in. [...]

I also think the democratic process on its own is working just fine in the matter of the Ford mayoralty, in fact better than it has worked for a long time. Since he was elected, he’s shown himself incompetent, lazy, deceptive and out of sync with policies voters want. Being mayor allowed that to become apparent to citizens. His own allies and sycophants on council have largely abandoned him and deferred to the kind of city that citizens have shown they want. His opponents on council have toughened up, they’ve grown shrewder and more strategic. His destructive schemes, like closing libraries, have often been stymied and where they haven’t, as in privatizing garbage collection, people will get a chance to see what they’re actually worth and draw some real, versus rhetorical, conclusions. The next election will take place with a smarter electorate and more exposed candidates, including the mayor. Why meddle with that by throwing in another consideration entirely and giving Rob Ford a chance to run on claims that the ‘elites’ conspired successfully to thwart democracy?

I wonder which part of that anyone would disagree with?

nicky

I have a friend who has been very active in the Jamaican community in Toronto. He helped organize a debate between the various mayoralty candidates in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood about 10 days before the last election. 

He told me that a couple hundred people turned out, almost all working-class people with Caribbean roots. i would have thought that Ford would have minimal support in this demographic. To my surprise my friend, no Ford sympthizer by any means, told me that Ford had by far the most support at the meeting. (Indeed he carried the wards in that part of the city by wide margins.)

It then started to dawn on me that Ford had a considerable anti-establishment and outsider appeal. He was exploiting the disdain of the intellentsia and the establishment and mining a right-wing populist impulse in a large segment of the electorate. 

He will be trying to ride that same George Wallace type wave to re-election. I personaly think he has burned too many bridges to succeed He has crossed the line and become a laughing stock. But even so, the Forum poll last week showed that 30 -32%, depending on his opponents, would still vote for him.

janfromthebruce

Ford was not judged on a technocality but contravened the Conflict of Interest act. To suggest that is to make it look like he did not do what he did. He did so and purposefully.

adma

Junkyard Dog wrote:
Sigh. This is a fuck of a lot more than just "slightly" wrong. It's completely wrong. It's dead wrong. It's 100% wrong. Salutin doesn't know what he's talking about. Every single analysis I've read on the court case, including many of the comments here, have stressed that the most salient feature of its outcome was that the Judge had literally no choice in his decision: Boss Hogg was given every opportunity available to save face and graciously back out of the corner he'd insisted on painting himself into, but Ford's arrogance and hubris spurned him on to the case's inevitable conclusion. Apparently, commie pinko crap like rules and the Law are exclusively for the little people, not bullyboy Mussolini wannabes like Rob Ford.

But again: this isn't about Ford himself.  We know about Ford himself: the illusion vs the reality--to reiterate it all is redundant.  This is about the voters who were motivated to vote for Ford, and about what motivated them to vote for Ford.  And as we know, it's a bit of a more complicated, less cut-and-dried matter than it appears.

Throw away that voting bloc wholesale, and you deserve to be punished at the ballot box.

jerrym

nicky wrote:

I have a friend who has been very active in the Jamaican community in Toronto. He helped organize a debate between the various mayoralty candidates in the Jane-Finch neighbourhood about 10 days before the last election. 

He told me that a couple hundred people turned out, almost all working-class people with Caribbean roots. i would have thought that Ford would have minimal support in this demographic. To my surprise my friend, no Ford sympthizer by any means, told me that Ford had by far the most support at the meeting. (Indeed he carried the wards in that part of the city by wide margins.)

It then started to dawn on me that Ford had a considerable anti-establishment and outsider appeal. He was exploiting the disdain of the intellentsia and the establishment and mining a right-wing populist impulse in a large segment of the electorate. 

He will be trying to ride that same George Wallace type wave to re-election. I personaly think he has burned too many bridges to succeed He has crossed the line and become a laughing stock. But even so, the Forum poll last week showed that 30 -32%, depending on his opponents, would still vote for him.

This considerable anti-establishment and outsider appeal works both ways. The brother of a friend owned his own business, was a very fundamentalist right-wing Christian against homosexual rights, and taught business courses in the conventional anti-union right-wing manner. After knowing him for 20 years, I was shocked to discover that he always voted for Svend Robinson because he saw him as being honest enough to fight for what he believed in. 

When travelling in Europe one time, I met a woman from BC so we started talking about home. She held all the typical right-wing attitudes about business, labour and the NDP and had never voted for the NDP. I was therefore flabbergasted when she announced she would vote for the NDP if Moe Sihota was chosen as leader (this was the 1990s) because she saw him as a natural leader. She had been in Europe for almost a year and therefore didn't know he was involved in several scandals during that time. When I mentioned this, it still did not change her mind.

I think a lot of people on both sides vote with their guts and not from a rationalistic or ideological perspective. 

nicky

I have been reading the columns of the egregious Sue Ann Levy in the Sun for the last few days. She really goes over the top as a Ford cheerleader. But the sinificant thing for me is the online comments ofs the readers.

I have perused several hundred of these comments and although I have not counted them up by any means I wd say that a solid half of them are critical of Ford. Many are in fact quite scornful.

If Ford is losing a considerable portion of the Sun readership I dont think he can recover.

 

Junkyard Dog

adma wrote:

But again: this isn't about Ford himself.  We know about Ford himself: the illusion vs the reality--to reiterate it all is redundant.  This is about the voters who were motivated to vote for Ford, and about what motivated them to vote for Ford.  And as we know, it's a bit of a more complicated, less cut-and-dried matter than it appears.

Throw away that voting bloc wholesale, and you deserve to be punished at the ballot box.

I understand that. And I don't particularly disagree. You're correct in that it's more complicated than it may at first appear. But let's examine that voting bloc: First we have the mouth frothers, the people who read the Sun and actually treat its nutcase politics seriously, the types who think they're being oppressed if they're not allowed to stomp all over other people's rights. They're the ones who tend to be on top of the heap due to being the loudest, the most tenacious...and the most obnoxious. They're the ones who always make sure to set the tone of whatever debate happens to raging at any given time. (At the very least, they try to, and if they can't pull that off, they usually attempt to influence things to the maximum extent that they can, and an overly indulgent "mainstream" media and political class usually let them.) They're also the ones who are perfectly willing - if not actually eager - to inflict harm on anyone they consider an "enemy."

Which would include us.

Then there are the ones like the cab driver mentioned by Janfromthebruce, who aren't malicious per se. People who don't follow politics because they're too busy or just not interested (and who can blame them?), who aren't very knowledgeable and tend to vote from gut feelings. They're the ones that we in the reality-based community are presumably trying to reach, correct? Because we're sure as hell not going to reach the True Believers. I read a number of political sites and blogs regularly, and in recent years I've seen variations on this dialogue more times than I'm comfortable with. I recall one fellow's report in just such a discussion: During one argument with a right winger, he was respectful, he wasn't condescending, he used logic while trying to convince the person he was talking to of the facts in whatever it was they were arguing over, and the asshole just got angrier and angrier, until he finally responded, his face suffused with rage, "YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME!"

Well, all right. That's an example of somebody who can't be reasoned with, and we're talking about trying to appeal to those who aren't that far gone. (And I'm assuming, for the sake of maintaining my sanity, that they still outnumber the out-and-out lunatics and hatemongers, because God help us all if they don't.) But here's the thing: My background is solidly working class. I know how they think, how they respond to the political arena when they bother to pay attention to it. I should know, since I'm one of them. (As one example, Mike Harris' electoral victories, sadly, didn't surprise me in the least.) And I can tell you this with some confidence: When a bully takes a poke at you, it doesn't help or look good when you respond by (a.) clutching your pearls and retiring to the Fainting Couch, a' la Margaret Dumont in a Marx Brothers film, (b.) jabbering some response in painful bureaucratic dictum, using 10 or 20 sentences when 1 will do, or (c.) eagerly agreeing that, yes, the bully is enitrely right, and you're entirely wrong, or that you may disagree with his statements, his manner, and his methods, but you'll agree with his right to lie and smear and cheat every time, by golly, because to do otherwise would be impolite. (Gasp! What would Miss Manners say?)

Automatically regressing to that kind of snivelling, p.c. kumaya crap in the face of uncompromising political hardball doesn't make us look principled or attractive to the non-ideological voters out there. It makes us look like cowards. It makes us look like weaklings and losers. It makes us look like the kind who either won't or can't fight back when we're attacked. And if we don't stand up to defend ourselves, these people will reasonbly ask themselves (the same people whose votes and support we're supposedly trying to attract), what on earth makes anybody think we'd stand up for them? Bullies aren't popular figures in the public consciousness (which is ironic considering how many of them currently occupy the world of politics and the media), but if there's an even less liked figure, I'd say it's those who stand by and allow themselves to be bullied while never lifting a finger to defend themselves. Fairly or not, such figures are looked on with contempt.

I'm not saying I'm completely right and you're completely wrong. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between. I'm just saying the people whose support you want aren't going to respect you if you don't at least look like you're going to punch back when an out-and-out thug like Rob Ford starts his usual grandstanding bullshit. A recent quote by Bill Clinton comes to mind: "Strong and wrong beats right and weak every time." I'm hardly a fan of Clinton's, but his numerous faults notwithstanding, he's not a stupid man and he knows a little something about winning elections.

nicky wrote:

I have been reading the columns of the egregious Sue Ann Levy in the Sun for the last few days. She really goes over the top as a Ford cheerleader. But the sinificant thing for me is the online comments ofs the readers.

I have perused several hundred of these comments and although I have not counted them up by any means I wd say that a solid half of them are critical of Ford. Many are in fact quite scornful.

If Ford is losing a considerable portion of the Sun readership I dont think he can recover.

Nicky, that's great to hear. It's what I'd been hoping would happen, i.e. that enough of city populace would be sufficiently fed up with the circus sideshow put on by the Ford brothers that even a goodly portion of them who'd voted for Boss Hogg would change their minds come next Election Day.

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