If Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was a client of mine how exactly would I rebrand him for success in the next election? In the end, it comes down to one major factor: What is the major brand challenge that is facing Rob Ford and how do we (his fictional Rob Ford rebrand team) overcome that?
Earlier today, an identified man was discovered in a school playground and pronounced dead from gunshot wounds. The latest killing was Toronto's 30th homicide of the year. In a desperate city that is looking for answers, its mayor, Rob Ford, and member of the mayor's executive committee, Councillor Michael Thompson, offer unusual Tea Party-like simple solutions to a complex made in Canada problem.
In 40 years, Pride has evolved from a secluded picnic on Hanlan's Point to a series of diverse celebrations that reverberate throughout this very gay city. I am a 20-something city boy who came out at a relatively early age and received unconditional support from family and friends. In many ways I fit the so-called "new gay" stereotype -- I likely won't be attending the parade on Sunday but I likely will attend a pride event at a west end bar that is as hip as it is gay.
In a speech recently delivered in Westminster, a UK MP, Chuka Umunna, shook conventional assessments of urban gangs by focusing on the "entrepreneurial zeal" that drives gang members and their illicit activities. In light of the recent Eaton Centre shootings, our Canadian politicians seem to have largely adopted the position that those involved in gangs are hopelessly and permanently corrupted.
Recently, Toronto City Council did something that Mayor Rob Ford deemed "ludicrous and dangerous": They banned plastic bags. Yet, while commentators such as the Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente decried the ban as the "new puritan cause," African countries have been out front on this issue for years.
Doctors witness the impact of bad public policy on the health of individual patients and their families. When physicians, health workers and community members take a stand on June 18, we stand in solidarity with those affected and fighting for the right to health for all refugees and refugee claimants. This is about some of the most vulnerable people in our society becoming even more so.
I found plastic bags enormously useful to have around -- not only for garbage at home, but also when walking the dog. How can plastic bags be banned? Who do those councilors think they are? Who'll police the ban? Surely not our cops. The plastic bag fiasco stands as another example of those in charge trying to improve on an issue, and going too far into an area they know little about, having done no research.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker inherited a $30 billion debt in 2010 and has since reduced it to a $150 surplus. If Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is really looking to cut back on his city's debt, he should take out a page from Walker's book and cut the bonuses that city managers receive for simply turning up for work.
In a recent poll found that 32.5 per cent of Torontonians oppose building a waterfront casino. To Mayor Rob Ford, an enthusiastic supporter of the idea, this may be a warning as he looks ahead to his uncertain re-election campaign in just over two years.
The events around the world of the past month, affirming gay rights, have demonstrated the power of evolution. They demonstrate what is possible when people finally realize that at the core of human existence there is no hierarchy of being, only an equality of one.
David Miller is one of the more well-known people I have taken out for lunch. It is a bit strange when everyone in the restaurant recognizes the person you are lunching with. But I was lucky enough to get him to sit down with me to chat about the "Future of Cities," and the TTC.
As tough as it is to face, the truth is that too many of the Toronto's policies targeting guns and gang violence have been of little more than symbolic value, and of minimal effect in the communities most closely affected by this urban scourge. Rob Ford is running a Toronto where shootings for 2012 are now reported to be up more than 54.7 per cent over since the same period in 2011.
Ford's physical state has nothing to do with how he conducts himself or how he performs as a public official, which are the only things we should be judging him on.
Opponents become "radicals," or "extremists," or "enemies of the national interest," unless they are friends of Joe Oliver or Stephen Harper. In the process of truncating evidence-based advice, our democratic discourse, as well as our professional advisory capacity, is woefully diminished. A healthy democracy needs each.
Maybe Rob Ford becoming more athletic will have no bearing on good and fair city policy that maintains strong public services and good jobs. And maybe the provinces shouldn't be pushed into privatizing healthcare by a government who is bent on destroying the principles of the Canada Health Act.
As you boot up your computer bleary-eyed this morning, groping about for your cup of coffee, I'm going to be that peppy friend across the table who is just so GOSH DARN EXCITED it's the new year! And do you know WHY I'm so excited?! (C'mon ask me, ask me!!)
Because it's the first new year you can start your day with The Huffington Post CANADA. YES! How sweet is that, eh? Canada news, Canada blogs, Canada celebs, Canada style, cute Canadian kitties on YouTube...