Shortly after the city launched its new website dedicated to the comprehensive service review taking place this summer, Rob Ford put out the call to Ford Nation.
The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale explains:
Mayor Rob Ford has asked campaign supporters to help him by attending the public consultation meetings the city is holding to learn which services residents believe should be preserved and which should be cut.
The message comes after the vast majority of people who attended consultation meetings on the 2011 budget were opposed to Ford’s plans.
The email sent to people who signed up for Ford’s campaign updates is titled “Mayor Ford needs your help!”
This feels like a divisive move, essentially pitting the ‘Ford Nation’ of voters against an other — call them downtown elites or lefty pinkos or whatever. One of the moves you’d expect a politician to make after winning such a heated election is to “reach across the aisle” and attempt to find common ground with opponents. Ford has made almost zero effort to do that.
I find it hard to condemn the message whole-heartedly, though, as it feels like this kind of thing happens a lot. Recall the recent attempt to pack council chambers with pro-housing types during the TCHC debate, for example. It led to jazz hands.
If you’re a regular reader of this site, I urge you to take a look at the Service Review website, and fill out the questionnaire. The questions are obviously geared toward facilitating service cuts, but it’s fairly even-handed overall. If you’re like me, you’ll find that there are very few city-delivered services that have the potential to be contracted out. My major criticisms: I’d like there to have been a distinction made between contracting out to a private, for-profit agency and contracting to a not-for-profit or other community agency, and also it would have been useful for there to be more questions about the role of other levels of government in providing city services.