When Rob Ford was elected with a healthy mandate in 2010, Torontonians were seeking real change. Many of Mayor Ford's foibles and peccadilloes were already well documented, but his message of fiscal restraint and common sense gripped almost 400,000 voters. Of course, no one could have imagined then the theatre of the absurd that would ensue, but at that time, to many, Rob Ford seemed a tenable response to the David Miller years.
That same year, Rob Ford's brother Doug was elected as councillor to Ward 2. While political junkies knew that Doug had significant influence and an important role in the Mayor's campaign, most Torontonians knew little of him, and most still do, despite his ubiquitous presence of late. For well before Rob Ford went to rehab, but even more so since then, Doug is everywhere. The media -- who make mountains of ad revenue in difficult times off Mayor Rob Ford's endless antics -- regularly seek out Doug for comment. They are rarely disappointed.
For Councillor Doug Ford is neither just a simple local politician nor just a loyal brother to our Chief Magistrate. He is also (apparently) our (un-elected/un-appointed) co-Mayor; Rob Ford's (real) Chief of Staff, Campaign Manager, Director of Communications, Press Secretary, and Director of Policy - and of course, his Worship's chief enabler, obfuscator and bodyguard. As such, Toronto's journalists, politicians and voters should be asking Doug just as many tough questions as they ask our Mayor. And since it seems Doug feels comfortable stepping up everywhere on behalf of his brother -- he has invited such scrutiny. Here below, are a few that might be asked, albeit there are dozens more that could and should.
Putting his fraternal loyalty to Rob aside when defending Rob's "predilections", Doug has been Mayor Ford's greatest political ally. Yet ironically, Rob and Doug often contradict each other. By example, Doug has stated that Toronto's Mayor should possess the power of veto over City Council. Yet Mayor Ford doesn't think Toronto should move to a "strong mayor system." Doug, which is it? Are you simply asking for what your brother can not?
When you regularly claim that you have a "direct line" to Ottawa -- presumably as our unelected co-Mayor -- where does the other end of that line end? Do you have the support or the ear of our Prime Minister, or for that matter, any Ministers or Members at all? We'd love to hear from them on that matter if true. Perhaps you could ask them for an endorsement. Or are you just making it up to dispel what would seem obvious to any and all -- that neither Queen's Park nor the PMO want anything more to do with the Ford Bros.?
Are you still promoting a monorail, ferris wheel and boat-in hotel for the Eastern waterfront? Is that part of your brother's re-election campaign? Or is it perhaps your answer to eastern gridlock, proposed by a local councillor from the very opposite corner of the city? Or do you just watch The Simpsons every now and then, as most of us do?
Since you suggested, back in 2011, that should Margaret Atwood want to have a say in city affairs she should seek office, has it occurred to you, as a retiring councillor, that should you wish to have a say in the next four years, you ought to do the same?
In 2012, referring to City Hall, you said that "the culture of entitlement is sneaking through the back door once again"? Were you perhaps referring to your friends at Apollo Health and Beauty Care Beauty Products, or at RR Donnelley? Or were you just trying to distract us from your brother's endless antics and absences?
Later in 2012, referring to council, you said: "I can't get anywhere with these monkeys." Was that a term of endearment? How can Mayor Ford expect to get anything done at City Hall when you use such language? Oh, that's right. Since then, he mostly hasn't. No need to answer.
When you told the father of an autistic child who rightly and democratically challenged your views to "go to hell," what were you thinking?
When you hand out $20 bills to constituents to enjoin their support for your beleaguered brother on the campaign trail, do you realize that you're using the "best practices" of Tammany Hall, despots, and warlords everywhere? Or do you think that openly buying votes demonstrates transparency?
Through the last four years, Doug Ford has bullied and blustered his way though City Hall. He has intimidated many, and lied without remorse or reserve whenever he felt it necessary. He should be held to account, and given only that attention he deserves -- no matter the profit to the press.
However, for one small piece of honesty, Doug should be commended. Respecting his elected status, in October of 2011, he told Toronto "three more years and I am outta here." Thanks for keeping that promise.
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