Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ontario's NDP lines up behind Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

Here's an example of some pretty cynical political pandering from Ontario's NDP, as it decides to sidle up to Toronto's crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford in a misguided attempt to score political points.

Back in November, when there was discussion about whether the province should intervene in the drama surrounding Ford and Toronto's city council, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath rightly said it should be up to the council to decide how it wanted to proceed.

"At this point, I think it's really important to maintain a position of respect for that council. They were elected by their local community, the mayor and city councillors. This is something that they have responsibility for, and I respect their role," she said.

And council acted, deciding to strip Ford of the bulk of his powers and hand the running of the city over to deputy mayor Norm Kelly, leaving Ford with just ceremonial duties and interviews with U.S. sports radio stations.

Fast-forward to this week. Ford wants a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to discuss provincial help for the city dealing with the aftermath of the holiday ice storm. Wynne says, in accordance with the wishes of Toronto's city council, she'll meet with Kelly, but not Ford.

Re-enter the NDP's Horwath, with these comments today:

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that even if city council has stripped Ford of many of his mayoral powers, the polite thing to do would be to take the meeting.
“I was raised in a family that common courtesy was an important value and so I think the common courtesy of a response to a mayor’s request for a meeting is something that’s pretty easy to fulfil,” she said.

I disagree with Horwath here. Toronto city council has been clear -- Norm Kelly is running the city, because Ford has become a distracting embarrassment. Kelly is the person Wynne should deal with.

Hmm, how should I put it?

"I think it's really important to maintain a position of respect for that council. They were elected by their local community, the mayor and city councillors. This is something that they have responsibility for, and I respect their role."

Exactly, Ms. Horwath from two months ago. Exactly.

Its patently obvious that Rob Ford is out to score political points by either getting a meeting with the Premier to show he's still running things, despite the clearly expressed wishes of council, or playing the victim if she respects the wishes of council. This is about his re-election campaign.

Ford has enough enablers. Horwath shouldn't be one of them. Yet she is, just to take a shot at Premier Wynne.

From someone who seeks to be Premier herself, it's a pretty poor example of leadership.

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Skinny Dipper said...

I have been critical of Andrea Horwath for being all over the political ideological spectrum on various issues. She has been silent on the issues facing teachers. Her party is supporting Bill 122 which I would describe as an anti-union proposal by the government to reorganize teachers' union-school board(-government) negotiations. Her position on public transit is more in tune with Tim Hudak's proposals. I think the reason why Ms. Horwath is being warm to Ford Nation is because she wants their support.

Steady Eddy said...

OK, so let’s say another city councillor requests a meeting the premier, does Kathleen Wynne say no? If Rob Ford is still sitting on council and still has a vote, you are compelled to treat him like any other council member. I do believe this is the essence of the Ontario NDP leaders comment.

Jeff said...

Random municipal councillors can't request and don't get meetings with the Premier.

Council has voted to have the deputy mayor run the show. That is who the premier should, and is willing to, meet with.

As Ms. Horwath said last November, we should respect council's decision. And council decided Norm Kelly is the man in charge.

Steady Eddy said...

I appreciate your reply, and agree with both Ms. Horwath and council on Mr. Kelly as being in charge till city elections put this saga to bed. But I feel anyone including I can request a meeting with the Premier, and I cannot see why a council member due to their position would be subject to some city restriction/gag law from requesting one also. Whether it is accepted is another story, which I think is your point. A mayor that has been removed from his official duties yet still polls at 47% in the nation’s largest city makes me wonder why politically the Premier would not want to meet out of courtesy to the people he still represents.

Jeff said...

I should have worked my reply differently. Of course anyone can request a meeting with the Premier; there's no ban or restriction. You can, I can, any councilor can. However, we probably aren't going to get one. She's a busy person.

Protocol also requires one person speak for the city to the province. Usually, it would be the mayor, but council decided otherwise.