Professional advisor to Business & Political leaders. Author. Broadcaster. Former Chief of Staff to Mayor Rob Ford
Mark Towhey is a management consultant, business and political strategist, and former Chief of Staff to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. He splits his time between Toronto and Twitter where he’s known unimaginatively as @towhey.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been dragging his feet about deploying Canadian peacekeepers to Mali. Canada should never again contribute troops to the endless UN-led peace missions that pop up around the world. In 70 years of peacekeeping, I'm at a loss to think of a single mission that succeeded.
It's time for Trudeau to go beyond a cabinet shuffle and use Trump's brutally plain-spoken focus on U.S. self-interest as an opportunity to take a similarly honest and entirely self-interested approach to trade and diplomacy with the world's largest economy. Canada should look after itself first. Now's the time.
He's the latest (last?) candidate to join the race to replace Stephen Harper as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. He has no political experience and doesn't speak French. Still, I think he has a better chance of winning than most of the candidates in the ring so far.
The real problem is that pretty much all news these days is fake. I'm not saying it's always fabricated in a room somewhere with the blatant and malicious intent to deceive -- but it is, nonetheless, very often misleading, prejudiced, intentionally or inadvertently deceptive and agenda-driven. Every snowfall is a "blizzard" these days. Every rainfall demands a "special weather statement" from the government weather service and "Storm Team Coverage" of a "Rain Storm Warning." There is no real news anymore.
I'm not a marijuana consumer -- never have been, never will be. But, I understand business planning and marketing. Marijuana is a retail product for recreational consumers. For most users, it's not a staple item (after all, it's "recreational" remember) so, they don't always plan ahead. Impulse sales, product expertise, advice from local sales staff, and immediate fulfillment are paramount. Mail-order may be a complementary channel for some users, but it won't be the only channel. The idea it can be, is simply a non-starter.
Donald Trump was elected to do what he says he'll do. You and I may think it's wrong, but the voters said he's right. Here's a difficult truth you don't want to hear: You and I are not smarter than them. We're not. They know what they want and they elected a president to do it. If you disagree with the agenda, too bad. You lost. Get over it. Try again in four years.
Improving political fundraising regulations in Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces with outdated or overly opaque regulations doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming. Here are five easy fixes that would have immediate benefits.
The reality is that in Toronto, as in most police services across the continent, the vast majority of serving police officers are exceptional public servants. The bad news is that reality is entirely irrelevant. People don't form judgments or base their decisions and actions on reality. They base them on their perceptions. And a fast-growing segment of society in Toronto, in Chicago, in New York City, in Ferguson, in cities and towns across North America, perceive their police services to be acting for their own benefit -- not society's.
An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled Friday that popular ride-sharing service Uber is not breaking Toronto's taxi laws. Uber and its many fans are rejoicing. Toronto's taxi industry, unusually united from drivers to owners to brokerages, is fuming. And city officials are likely conferring behind closed doors to plot a path forward. Doing nothing seems an unlikely option. I'm not a lawyer, but having worked a while at City Hall, I expect this leaves the city with three basic choices.
In Toronto on Monday, councillors ordered a blanket reduction in speed limits from 40 to 30 km/h on local roads in the old cities of Toronto and East York. While this approach may make them feel better, it won't do much to improve road safety or reduce congestion. But, here's six ideas that might. If every Ontario driver had similar training, and we adopted these simple rule changes, our roads would be the safest in North America.
Cities and states around the world are engaged in hand-to-hand combat with mobile tech upstart Uber, a company that is rapidly disrupting the traditional taxi business everywhere. Viewed from an impartial distance, it is pretty clear that, whatever it is, Uber is providing a service traditionally provided by taxis. Complicating matters is that many cities have a chaotic and nonsensical approach to regulating public taxis. Before trying to make sense of where Uber fits into the chaos of its taxi ecosystem, cities such as Toronto would be smart to consider why it regulates the industry in the first place.
The shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine has inadvertently given Hamas a powerful strategic weapon in its war against Israel. And, it appears, both Hamas and Israel are well aware of it.
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino's behaviour towards a group of veterans last week disgusted me. And, when he blamed his behaviour on the actions of a union I became outraged. The union may very well have told the veterans a one-sided story about how their poor members are being hard done-by. That doesn't excuse the minister's behaviour. As a free public service for cabinet ministers and others in leadership roles, I'm going to offer up some completely unsolicited advice, right here, right now, at no charge. When a veteran is angry with you for being late, you say, "I'm sorry."
Relieved of most of his civic responsibilities, Rob Ford is occupying his time by campaigning for re-election and torturing the premier. He's got her over a barrel, and he knows it. Premier Wynne, on the other hand, has nothing to gain in this dispute. She'd love to dodge it, but Ford won't let her. She can't be seen to reinforce Ford's misbehaviour by ignoring it and meeting with him. But, she can't stand up and publicly disenfranchise a democratically elected civic leader, especially one whose electoral mandate dwarfs hers 15 times over.
ntario Premier Kathleen Wynne published an op-ed in the Toronto Star yesterday titled "What the government -- and its critics -- can learn from the ice storm." It fails miserably as a thoughtful after-action lessons-learned contribution, but is reasonably passable as a partisan campaign ad. But, governments and their critics, including Premier Wynne, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and their respective supporters, detractors and civil servants, can and should learn a lot from the recent ice storm that hobbled North America's fourth largest city. I fear they may not.
The sandbox tiff between Toronto City Councillor Paul Ainslie and Mayor Rob Ford appears destined to land on the doorstep of the City's Integrity Commissioner (a position which has become, at best, an anachronistic Miss Manners). When it does, the commissioner would be well advised to reject the complaint out of hand.
On Monday, city council will decide how to replace Doug Holyday as councillor for Ward 3, Etobicoke-Centre. Although it will cost up to $225,000 to hold a by-election, council's own policies say that's the right choice. Anyone who values democracy will agree.