In 2012, referring to council, Doug Ford 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?
The daily, international circus that Rob Ford is circumventing so disastrously right now demonstrates why it's so important to have a Crisis Communications Plan and stick to it. In every crisis there is an opportunity to learn and to grow and to become stronger. Here's hoping that this week is a little quieter for Ford.
So for those salivating for a Toronto reset, I suggest a more modest brand refresh -- one where an asterisk is added to our otherwise great city. Here we can note our city's mind-numbing congestion, condo lined waterfront, failed Olympic bids, overpriced housing and political mismanagement. All this without clouding the overwhelmingly positive attributes this city has to offer.
More and more, we're doing work, finishing errands, having fun and connecting with friends and family via our smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Engaging with your local government online is an extension of that. You no longer have to postpone dinner or sacrifice checking your kids' homework to attend an evening town hall meeting. You can tell city hall what you think from your phone on your commute to work, or from your couch at the end of the day. Local governments are trying to make it easier for you to have your say about transportation, or the cost of living, or city budget priorities, or your library or community centre's opening hours.
Taxpayers and watchdogs often focus their attention on the top of the government salary spectrum. Government executives are increasingly overpaid, especially at the municipal and regional district level. But it's not just the top end that is out of control. Taxpayers are overpaying for labour throughout the system.
I believe the time has come for the National Assembly of Quebec to legislate a limit on a mayor's tenure in the province's cities. As in many other jurisdictions, two terms are more than sufficient, whereas clinging to power for extended periods of time leads to cronyism and conspiracy as has been well demonstrated by the Montreal and Laval experience!
Golf revenues are slowly on the decline across Canada. Some B.C. leaders have missed the simplest way of fixing this problem: getting taxpayers out of the golf game all together. It's one thing for taxes to go to essentials like water, sewer or public safety, it's another thing to know you're subsidizing luxuries like municipal golf courses. If you can find a service listed on YellowPages.ca, government shouldn't be providing it.