680News political affairs specialist John Stall on politics.See more blogs
Rob Ford has a fuzzy formula to cut council by half
All I could get out of Rob Ford yesterday during a live chat on 680News.com is that he would deal (if elected mayor) with the council-cutting commitment he’s making in the final year of his four-year term. The idea, according to Ford, is to have only 22 wards and 22 councillors running in the 2014 election.
What I couldn’t get him to answer during the live chat though is the process by which a council cut could be accomplished. I asked him for specifics, such as what kind of motion would be put forward for council’s approval, but he wouldn’t or couldn’t answer. At one point after several attempts to get specifics, I found it necessary to remind him that I was not an opponent of his — in an election campaign that was trying to expose an empty promise that he should or could ignore — but rather, a broadcast journalist, who was trying to understand on behalf of the radio audience I speak to every morning just how it could be done.
You can read his answers and my numerous attempts at clarity from the live chat, but he essentially just repeated that it was a good idea that has a lot of support from people he speaks with, and from about 18 councillors who agreed when he raised the possibility in the corridors of City Hall.
What I was trying to learn, is how and which councillors would vote themselves out of a job when the time came to do so? All Rob Ford would say is that a lot of councillors (22 of them) would relish representing larger wards with larger budgets etc. I agreed, but want to know how the other 22 councillors, who currently represent smaller wards and budgets, come to the decision about who stays and who goes? I want to know what the vote looks like? All Ford would say is that his vision is to have the Toronto electoral map resemble the provincial and federal electoral map, which is divided into 22 jurisdictions. He did say that he checked and is convinced that the City of Toronto does have the authority to consider re-jigging the electoral jurisdiction, but wouldn’t or couldn’t characterized the vote that would eventually be presented to council.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine 22 councillors giving thumbs-up to a motion that eliminates their job for the next election. I asked during the live chat if the motion put to council would read something like “being in favour or opposed to returning the Toronto electoral map to the days before amalgamation, or to reflect the provincial and federal maps.” He didn’t answer.
I suspect Ford is banking more on the popularity of the idea to get elected than he is finding a way to actually make it happen in order to get re-elected, and I suspect it will never happen!