Nonetheless, despite the many good examples of Canadian mayors, some of the bad examples -- especially those like Rob Ford who cast a bad reputation on their city -- raises the question, are we paying enough attention to municipal politics? And, especially, are we paying enough attention to who gets elected to municipal office?
Recent political drama in Toronto has brought its numerous power struggles into the spotlight. Between the hovering possibility of Premier Kathleen Wynne dissolving the city's infrastructure and the ongoing conflicts between Rob Ford and his cabinet, the recurring question is: who really controls Toronto?
Downtown Toronto NIMBYs have taken NIMBYism to a whole new level of intolerance verging on discrimination. Which I have dubbed SWAGism. SWAGs wish to separate their established and affluent communities from the poorer inner suburbs of Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough, York and East York, that adjoin downtown Toronto.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford didn't get his $50 million, but Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne may have given him the next election instead. Politics is a game. The ones who know how to play it rise to the top and usually don't underestimate their opponent.
"We got this mayor, who I would argue is the worst mayor in the modern history of cities." - Richard Florida, urbanist and academic. Toronto mayor Ro...
Well, I hate to say that I told you so. Actually, that is not entirely true. I am laughing my behind off, as I type this in the wee hours of the morn...
Daily updates of the scandals washing over politicians from Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto have some officials looking more like Clay Davis of The Wire's Baltimore than much else. Where have all the leaders gone? Part of the problem, surely, is who we deify. We are guilty of perpetuating a celebrity-obsessed culture, whether those figures drop rhymes, dimes, or guidelines.
I'm troubled that the police knew about the video showing Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine before Gawker and The Toronto Star revealed its existence. I'm troubled that the Chief of Police won't answer direct questions. I'm troubled that the wider implication is that Ford is involved with a gun-running gang, with people who smuggle guns up from the US, through Windsor, and into Toronto in order to shoot and kill people. I'm troubled about what this means for future business in our city.
The usually sure-footed Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, has apparently made a serious political misstep. It could come back to haunt her, especially in a provincial general election, in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough provincial ridings, where support for Mayor Ford is strongest, unwavering, and very deep.
While the Ikea Monkey "Darwin" had the fate of his permanent residence decided in court this week. Darwin isn't the only monkey business that continues to concern Ontario. As if being a Maple leaf fan wasn't bad enough, controversial allegations of financial evasion continue to be thrown "monkey poop style" at Prime Minister Harper.
Handling media relations, whether for a politician, a corporation or an NGO is not for the faint of heart. Or the weak of stomach -- I always tell new-to-the-job media relations specialists to lay in a supply of Maalox. And go easy on the Scotch.
The French have a word for what? Who can't be Republican? Take our news quiz and see how much you were paying attention to the week's news.
Our crack team at City Hall wasn't all that caught my attention this week. Funny parenting videos, more viral ads from Kmart, technology in sports and a great bike for families, all the way from Denmark, made the list. Sorry Rob, you've had too much air time already.
Is the media being fair to Rob Ford? How about Mike Duffy? My conclusions? "Yes" to the first, "maybe" to the second. Bad guys unquestionably deserve bad press. But like the rest of us, they also deserve fairness -- particularly at a time when a cynical public's in the mood to swallow any negative innuendo they hear. Ethics aren't easy, but they're always right.
I've had conversations with some in the media and I've yet to see someone quote me, so I'll say it here; we are insular and provincial in B.C. And unless we ignore the Alex Tsakumises of the world when they piously bleat about the Premier being unfit for office because she showed some goodwill and good nature by sharing a joke about MILFs with a radio host (who was fired for it btw), or ignore the media prattling on for weeks because of a dancing penis prank on a gay MLA (I've yet to meet gays who don't enjoy dick jokes) we are going to reap what we sow -- which is small numbers of people running for public office and even less numbers qualified to run for premier.
We hold those in positions of power to a higher standard, as we should. These are people whose roles authorize them to act in our name and on our behalf. However, we also recognize their fallibility. When those in power fall, and do so publicly, we look to them to make it right. How should leaders right the wrongs?