What can Canada learn from Rob Ford?
Aside from the humbling of many entrenched politicians, the largest consequence of Canada’s recent swell of elections has been the new directions our country’s cities now face.
And, with respect to Calgary mayor-elect Naheed Nenshi, Canada’s first Muslim mayor, the headline-stealer of every campaign may be that of Rob Ford, who earned the top job in Toronto just last night.
Now, this is a national blog, yes, but the rough-around-the-edges Ford has a few interesting campaign promises perhaps all of Canada can learn from.
To wit, a sampling of the right-wing budget master’s assurances to the city of Toronto, courtesy the Toronto Sun:
1) End the Personal Vehicle Tax – Each year, Torontonians must pay a $60 fee when they register a vehicle. Ford wants this gone by 2011.
2) End the Land Transfer Tax – Same goes for the Ontario capital’s municipal land transfer tax, which Ford wants to scrap by 2012.
3) No more garbage strikes – Last summer, Toronto quite literally stank due to a labour disagreement between the city and its garbage pickup crews. Ford wants no part of such squabbles. When current collective agreements expire, Ford plans to contract out garbage collection to the lowest bidder.
4) “Stop the gravy train” – Ford’s campaign motto is to begin at City Hall, where the ex-councillor wants to cut $525 million from the city’s budget by 2011. City councillors, as well as the mayor’s office, are also set to see budgets decrease during Ford’s term. City council could even be chopped in half, if Ford has his way, not to mention the mayor-elect’s preference to have every politician’s vote on the record for the public to see, accessible online.
These are just the fiscally-rooted platforms Ford has promised. He also wants to put more cops on Toronto’s streets and has emphasized a “No Graffiti” policy, where the mayor-elect will do his best to clean the city of all its ugly, spray painted tags.
Of course, during his campaign, many of Ford’s platforms were obscured by the man himself, who is an easy target for the left-wing. He’s not polished, his suits always seem three sizes too small and he’s a dead ringer for Chris Farley in Tommy Boy. Add to that accusations of bigotry and you’ve got what Liberals must feel is a nightmare representing Canada’s most iconic city.
Yet, look a little closer and … aren’t these the same ideals every Canadian city could benefit from following a nasty recession? Slash spending, clean up the town and hold politicians accountable for their say; cut taxes, in a sense, and you win the people.
Canadians: aside from what you may believe about the man, are Rob Ford’s policies the kind of changes you’d like to see in your city, wherever in the country that may be?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money