The Toronto Star’s Royson James, rumoured today to have multiple personalities, on the guns-ablazing counter-offensive we’re seeing from council’s left in opposition to the 2011 budget:
So when city councillors opposed to Ford go on talk radio to taunt Ford for not stopping all hiring as promised, less than two months after he became mayor, eyebrows curl upwards. Do we want an immediate slash and burn? Should Ford stop the hiring of 713 people for the TTC (116 positions were deleted, for a net increase of 597)? Are we suggesting that if Ford doesn’t make the promised changes immediately, he was obviously wrong and the staff reductions can’t be achieved?
A couple of points in response to this:
First, while those in the media knew throughout Ford’s campaign that his “save money while cutting no services” rhetoric was total bullshit, that doesn’t mean his supporters were savvy enough to realize the same thing. Ford’s mandate is to save gobs of money, improve customer service and lower taxes. Put simply: anyone who tells you Ford’s victory in October means that people are expecting deep cuts to government services is lying.
Second, and with regard to the 2011 budget, the charge his opponents are laying on him isn’t so much that he hasn’t immediately fulfilled his campaign promises to cut waste and cut staff, but rather that, instead of rolling through 2011 with a small property tax increase — which he campaigned on! –, he pushed the city into an incredibly rushed and thrown-together budget process marked by ideological cuts.