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Call snap election to deal with Rob Ford fiasco

By Christina Blizzard, Special to the Sun

Mayor Rob Ford in council chambers at Toronto City Hall Monday November 18, 2013. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)

Mayor Rob Ford in council chambers at Toronto City Hall Monday November 18, 2013. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

The fairest, fastest and most democratic way to deal with the ongoing Ford fiasco is to call a snap election.

Mayor Rob Ford called for one Monday and we should take him at his word.

The province is bumbling and stumbling over what to do.

Premier Kathleen Wynne mused last week that there was nothing the province could do. Then she opined they would step in, if asked to by council and if supported by all parties.

What pure hypocrisy.

The unelected premier who heads a fragile minority government that’s bogged down in a $1-billion gas plant scandal is speculating about stepping in to overthrow a democratically elected mayor if she can get unanimous support in the legislature.

To add insult to that hypocrisy, Finance Minister Charles Sousa speculated we can’t afford an election right now.

“I find it passing strange that we talk a lot about trying to save money and ensure that we invest in the things that matter to Ontarians,” Sousa told reporters.

“In this case, the City of Toronto, what matters to them, is that council do its job, work on behalf of the citizens of Toronto,” he added. “And these antics that are occurring in Toronto (are) concerning, distressing, and I think the last thing we want is more disruption.

“Council has a job to do, let’s let them do it.”

Two things: One, this is the Liberals’ Billion Dollar Man. They blew $1 billion scrapping a gas plant to save his Mississauga South seat. But the exercise of democracy — simply bringing forward the vote to February instead of October — is a waste of money and a “disruption?”

Second, there’s precious little going on at council right now — so better to call the vote, clear the air and get back to work.

Ford should pull the plug himself. He should resign — and challenge council to move up the October election to February.

It would put an end to the endless will-they-won’t-they striptease among potential candidates about whether they’ll run.

Let the voters decide this once and for all. They will next October, so bring it on now.

This leaves PC Leader Tim Hudak in an awkward spot. He side-stepped a question about whether the ongoing stream of consciousness idiocies Ford keeps blurting out is hurting the Conservative brand.

Hudak hinted if the city asks for help, he’d be prepared to go along with a motion to give them more powers.

“Ultimately, if the city says they legitimately cannot function, then we do have an obligation at the provincial level within the powers we have to ensure some clarity and stability,” Hudak said.

But his Etobicoke Lakeshore MPP Doug Holyday was at his side and told reporters council already has the powers to control Ford.

“It’s not necessary to be vindictive and to slap him around just for the sake of slapping him around,” Holyday said. “I think they have the power to straighten it out themselves and I think they should.

“It would be a very slippery slope for us to get involved in trying to curtail municipal councils,” Holyday — a former council ally of Ford — told reporters.

The problem for the PCs is that the Ford brand is tainted. And most of that damage is self-inflicted.

The Fords may be able to maintain pockets of support in their own communities, but province-wide, the notion of a party endorsing someone who resembles a crack-smoking, foul-mouthed Forrest Gump isn’t going to gain many votes among the small “c” conservative law-and-order types.

The only fair and democratic way to solve this impasse is to call an election. You have to have one in October anyway, so simply move the whole thing up.

Poll

Do you think Toronto should have a snap election?


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