Last week, hundreds of citizens in Toronto attended a special meeting of Rob Ford’s Executive Committee. Speaking for three minutes each, and lasting a record-breaking 21 hours, almost every single message had a common theme: please protect Toronto’s public services. It was a resounding rejection of the mayor’s Tea Party approach to economics (ie: governments should only provide roads and cops). The infamous “Ford Nation” was nowhere in sight. There was no army of citizens asking for smaller government, or lower taxes. Sadly, instead of listening and acknowledging the rejection, members of Ford’s inner circle shamefully tried to discredit these passionate citizens. We were told that the deputants don’t represent Toronto, because they don’t have jobs and because they were mostly sent by special interest groups and unions. It’s even been suggested that citizens arrive at meetings on special buses provided by unions. And where was Ford Nation?
“There are a lot of people that work for a living and they can’t be down here suggesting that we are doing the right thing.” – Giorgio Mammoliti
“Ford Nation is too busy working, paying taxes, creating jobs, that’s what they’re doing.” – Doug Ford
I see. Ford Nation can’t speak at City Hall because they are too busy with their jobs. Meanwhile, Councillors have to sit through hours of meaningless deputations from lazy unemployed radicals, who have nothing better to do and arrived either on a union bus or probably rode on their pinko bicycles from the union hall. During the meeting I got a little bored, so I decided to randomly interview some deputants:
Hi, do you have a job? Yes, I’m a Human Resources Assistant.
How were you able to attend? I took the day off of work.
Are you a ‘usual suspect’? No, this is my first time doing this.
Did you arrive on a union bus? No, I took the TTC.
Do you have a job? Yes, I’m the Manager of Operations for a catering company.
How were you able to attend this Exec meeting? I took a day off work.
Did you arrive on a union bus? No, I took the TTC.
Do you have a job? Yes, I’m a painter.
Did you arrive on a union bus? No, I drove here.
Do you have a job? Yes, I teach Grade 3 in Etobicoke. (Ford Land)
Are you a ‘usual suspect’? I’ve done this twice in my life.
Do you have a job? Yes, I work as a simultaneous translator.
How did you get here? I drove.
Do you have a job? Yes, I’m a highschool teacher
How did you get here today? TTC
Do you have a job? Yes, I’m a paramedic
How did you get here today? I drove.
Do you have a job? Yes, I’m the Executive Director of the Centre for Spanish Speaking People.
Did you arrive on a union bus? No, I drove.
Do you have a job? I’m 14 years old, in grade ten.
Are you a ‘usual suspect’? No, this is my first time speaking at City Hall.
this is amazing, david. thank you so much. i’ll be in touch.
University of Toronto – Grad 2011
I’ve deputed a # of times before councillors and was #128 last Thursday . I decided against being treated disrespectfully again – it’s soul-destroying.
I own a house, car and corporation. I would prefer to pay more tax on each than cut any of the services that help people in and out of my area code who need help. Government isn’t about money – it’s about people. That’s why it was created.
There is a desperate need for the concept of “personal privilege” for deputations, if not in person, through a mechanism by which a member of Council (not necessarily a member of the committee being addressed) can call someone to account for abusing deputation members. If nothing else, this would force the chair to rule on whether the slurs against the public were acceptable.
I think there is such a concept – at least, I’ve heard a number of councillors ask for such a thing at the committee meeting. They were soundly refused by the Chair (Ford) because they weren’t part of his Yes-Man Executive Committee.
Mammoliti, of course, called personal priviledges multiple times to tell the deputants they were being spoiled brats and threatened to shut down proceeds.
Thank you, beautiful people, for taking the time to speak for us!
I can tell you where the ‘Ford Nation’ was last Thursday. i volunteer for different charities at a bingo hall. i saw the in all their glory… greedily spending the rent money, playing bingo.
They’re attacking the taxpayer not the message…
I was to be deputant #222 but did not get to sign in on time, sadly. I am proud of the the 344 others who did speak on my behalf. What I would remind everyone is that in order to ensure that Mr. Ford does not serve another term we must have a candidate that is up to snuff. I for one would be happy to have one who has a modicum of sense, repect for the city’s constituents, and a viable vision for this city.
What did John Tory say about Mammoliti’s abuse of deputants? After Paula Fletcher famously went off on a deputant last year, accusing him of being a Tory plant (the conservative equivalent of the “usual suspects,” I guess), Tory dedicated a large chunk of his show expressing his disgust of Fletcher’s treatment of the man. I assume he was just as outraged by Mammoliti’s similarly contemptuous behaviour, which was directed at far more people?
It’s not just important that Ford Nation didn’t show up; what’s most important is what wasn’t said.
Remember that Rob Ford wanted to hear from the public what are the must-haves and what are the nice-to-haves. Many must-haves were identified, but the nice-to-haves? That appears to be an empty set.
Did no councillor, either a member of the Exec., or a visiting councillor, question the decision to hold all deputations in one session, rather than reschedule them in a more reasonable manner, say a series of evening meetings, to accommodate working people better?
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Perhaps there are additional ways for deputations to be made to City Council that does not require citizens to be physically present at City Hall on the day of. Why not offer two alternatives, in addition to the current method of registering and speaking in person:
1. Live deputation through a video feed (e.g. Skype)
2. Via a recorded video deputation whereby citizens upload their video to a City-sanctioned website for viewing by Councillors and participants throughout the onsite meeting at City Hall.
That in my mind is an example of democracy truly working in the 21st Century. And indeed, it may get more of Ford Nation out there and therefore reduce the scapegoating that seems to be happening with The Executive Committee with regard to who is, and who isn’t, speaking out.
Hi I was a disabled deputant, I work in a sheltered workshop, earning little