Toronto Mayor does his video debut; Prime Minister bids adieu to Senators he appointed – is this what they call responsible government?

November 8, 2013

 By Ray Rivers.

BURLINGTON, ON.  Aren’t you glad you don’t live in Toronto and have to admit that Rob Ford is your mayor?  Did he really say he was ‘hammered’ on the Danforth and smoked crack in one of his drunken stupors?  And was that the mayor in that police video urinating on a street, behind a school?  He was just marking his turf, Toronto.  And he’s not quitting the mayor’s office because, in his words, the people elected him to do a job.  I guess they deserve the government they elected. 

Ford passes screen test for his first video – drunk on the Danforth.

David Simon is a former police reporter and novelist who wrote the television series “The Wire”, describing various facets of criminal life in the City of Baltimore.  Chief Blair appears to have followed that script, using telephone records, and then wiretapping to get the real dope on Ford and his gangland-drug buddies. 

Not enough to charge him yet but we know where this is going – we’ve seen the Wire. 

Ford makes great comedy for the international media but this is really not a laughing matter.  The Globe and Mail is taking this seriously.  They have called him out as a liar and demanded his resignation.  The Star has released another video of Ford going manic, threatening to kill someone in no uncertain terms.  The man is out of control but the rest of City Council is powerless, or gutless, to stop him. 

And the Wynne government can’t intervene since Ford’s allies would label that political interference faster than you can fill a crack pipe. 

At the most senior government level both Ford’s fishing buddy, Harper, and his family friend, Flaherty, are keeping their heads down.  I wonder what our law and order PM really thinks of his crack-smoking friend now.  Of course, Toronto’s drama has been a great distraction to the other conservative theatre in Calgary, last weekend and in Ottawa, seemingly forever. 

Senate-gate overshadowed the Conservative convention in Calgary and the PM, now off-script and acting like a deer caught in the headlights, went with his gut – and let his right-wing base take over the agenda. There was a resolution to restrict abortions and another to declare war on public servants and their pensions.  But this is just the  appetizer.  Canada’s most ideologically positioned right-wing PM in living history, is bent on even more social transformation between now and the next election in 2015.  

Senator Wallin and Prime Minister Harper during better times.

Harper is at his best when he feigns the underdog and goes on the defensive against the so-called establishment and the elites.  And he did that well – divorcing himself from the senators he handpicked for the Red Chamber and blaming the judges he appointed to the Supreme Court for blocking his will to reform the Senate. 

The irony is that Harper is the establishment now.  He has been PM for the last seven years.  And if he doesn’t like how his program is going, he could always try to change the channel.

Stephen Harper is also Canada’s Teflon man.  Like his buddy Ford nothing seems to stick to him, and there are no consequences, at least not yet.  The RCMP have apparently just taken possession of Duffy’s emails so that may shed more light on the PMO’s involvement.   The expelled senators are threatening to take legal recourse against the government, and no doubt against what they must now consider to be the duplicitous PM, calling the shots that got them expelled.  As they say, hell hath no fury like a senator scorned.

Can the time in the penalty box count as time earned for their pensions?

In the meantime, I am getting sick of it all.  What was once amusing political theatre is rapidly becoming a boring sad tragedy – enough already!  The creative TV series “The Wire“ focused on character development and thus was a refreshing change from most stereotypical good/bad-guy American police shows.  But even in this series the bad guys got their just rewards.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Background links:

Globe & Mail calls for Ford resignation

 Federal Tories eager to edge away from Rob Ford

 Star points to details of Ford behaviour.

 Government party makes policy decisions.

Drunk Mayor makes video debut.




Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 comments to Toronto Mayor does his video debut; Prime Minister bids adieu to Senators he appointed – is this what they call responsible government?

  • Fred Pritchard

    I see Tony (comment above) is using the typical CON playbook. Blame someone else, or something else. Funny how Harpo has never appologized for any mistakes and his list is long. Cabinet appointments, former staffers now lobbying the same Govt, Senate appointments etc etc. Harpo and Ford never take responsiblity for the mess they cause. Just bully their way through. That’s what I am sick of. All of the CON lies day after day. Just once can Harpo and Ford stand up and tell the whole truth. The CON’s wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them in the “flesh with crack”.

    • Tony Pullin

      Fred, the point that I try to make is that we can expose the misdeeds of whoever we choose but let’s not just pick an choose based on our political persuasion. Would it be possible for you to say “can Harper and Ford and McGuinty and Wynne stand up and tell the whole truth”? There is much to go around.
      FYI Fred, Mr. Latour and Mr. Rivers have indicated their affiliation with the Liberal party(s) because I have asked them. Mr. Latour in a comment above and Mr. Rivers in his post script. It only matters in terms of when we read an article or comment, it is best to have the full disclosure of the writer should they be paid by, or have a direct affiliation with a particular Party. As both gentlemen have done that, I would assume that they would accept my position without prejudice. I would hope that you would do the same in an effort to conclude that those who may be less partisan, can be vocal and willing to expose the other side of the coin.
      Objectivity in politics is like objectivity in hockey. Leaf fan? Canadien fan? Let’s face it they both stink from time to time but do they dyed in the wool fans ever admit it?

      Editors note: I am sensing an assumption here that just because someone earns a portion of their income for work they do for a political party that they cannot therefore see much beyond their political snouts. I’ve been a Liberal all my life and while no one is offering to pay me, I have no problem whatsoever in saying that the BOY they have picked to lead us needs to up his game and begin to think before he opens his mouth. This country would be in terrible shape were we to elect an NDP government but I am proud of the fact that Mulcair is in the House asking the tough questions he is asking and a little ashamed of a PM that will not answer. Partisanship does not mean one is blind. When it comes to hockey however, if you’re not a Habs fan why do you have a Canadian passport?

      • Tony Pullin

        I think I said that disclosure is important and would thank the editor for his. Does partisanship mean that someone is less objective? Perhaps, depends on the person I. suspect. Do I think that partisanship means you are blind or can’t see past your snout? No. that was not my implication. Do I think that partisanship in news media is abundant? Yes.
        Funny, it’s hard for a Leaf fan to become a Hab fan, or vice-versa.

  • Tony Pullin

    With respect to Rob Ford and the people of Toronto Ray says “I guess they deserve the government they elected.” Ad “fishing buddy” Stephen Harper into the mix and Ray says “I am getting sick of it all”.
    Well Ray, I a getting sick of this Provincial Liberal government of which you developed the policy process for. One thing that I would never say is that the people of Ontario “deserved” 9 years of McGuinty and an un-elected Ms. Wynne who vows to continue the legacy. Billions wasted but nary a peep from you.

    • Chris Latour

      Anyone who complains about “unelected” should consider the fact that this is the rules of our system. It’s been done this way for generations. You don’t get to pick and choose the parts of the rules of parliament you follow and which you just throw out. And many who complain are not even active in a party or a lobby group of any kind. I hope you sir are an exception to that rule and are putting your frustration towards pushing for better policies. Governments need strong oppositions to make good policy.

      I’m a Liberal member at both levels (we are drifting out of municipal politics here) and I can assure you that I’ve made it clear to a number of my fellow members provincially that I’m tired of governments of all stripes signing horrible construction contracts with all sorts of clauses that can balloon the costs. I’m working from inside the organization to be confident next time around of accountability and transparency to go with the policies I support.

      That said, I voted for McGuinty both times and I got what I was looking for; an improvement in healthcare , an improvement in education and a renewable energy strategy. While I disagree with a number of policies the Provincial Liberals put in place, those things are the main things I expect a provincial government to do, and I know that the PCs wouldn’t have done nearly as well.

      And speaking of getting facts, Mr. Rivers has in fact discussed powerplants as little as 3 months ago, as proven by 2mins in Google;

      • Tony Pullin

        Thanks for your input Chris. It is difficult to be interested in politics without being somewhat partisan. In my opinion there is much in the way of news media reporting that is extremely partisan and borders on propaganda.
        I accept your point on the concept of “unelected” keeping in mind that Ms. Wynne came to that position because Mr. McGuinty prorogued and then quit.
        I agree with you that it is better to be actively involved and that many who complain do so from a position of apathy. Yes, to answer your question I am involved as a member of the CFIB (Canadian Federation on Independent Business). They are a non-partisan group that lobby’s on behalf of Independent Business. I have been a member and independent business person for 25 years. You?

        • Chris Latour

          Hello Tony,

          I recognize that McGuinty prorogued, then quit, but those are again things allowed within the rules. And while I heavily criticize the Feds for proroguing to avoid a non-confidence vote, the provincial prorogue eliminated 18 days of “sitting” for the total time they were out and they had just passed the budget so were not going to face a non-confidence during that time anyway.

          To my personal level of involvement, it’s rather extensive. I sit as the VP for the Federal Liberals on the Hamilton Mountain. I am also Technical Director for Mountain Kidz, a local non-profit organization providing low cost programming for families in some of the poorest areas of the mountain. From this organization I lobby for better services at the municipal level in my riding. I’m a sitting member of HOPE (Hamilton Organizing for Poverty Elimination) who lobby for, not surprisingly, political change to eliminate poverty. I also coordinate a breakfast program at a local French school. I also do fundraising and lobby on behalf of Epilepsy Halton Peel Hamilton to see Epilipsy societies be funded under the LHINs. I’m also active in the digital media sector where I have been working for the last 12 years and have run a software company for the last three.

          As a member of the CFIB I would assume you found some Liberal policies to your liking, in particular the HST of which I am a fan.

          • Tony Pullin

            Chris, I appreciate your disclosure. I’m not sure about the hst at this point. It was suggested by Premiere McGuinty that it would give Ontario an advantage over other Provinces. I think that we are considered to be a “have-not” Province now so perhaps the hst will help somehow of which I am admittedly unclear. I agree with your position that “governments need strong opposition to make good policy”. Sometimes that may come from a private individual like myself. The point that I attempt to make is that reporting often appears to be one sided. I feel that newsworthy stories and scandals are often omitted because they do not suit the political bias of a particular news media outlet. Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts. They are meant to suggest that there is always an alternative viewpoint regardless of ones particular persuasion.
            Sounds like you do a great job for your community.