The Toronto Star kicked off the week with a bizarre article by Robyn Doolittle, grouping together a collection of existing city bylaws that Ford is seeking to repeal and positing that the ultimate outcome might be a city that’s more fun:
Toronto: The Town of No Fun. The City of Rules.
Well, that might be changing thanks to Rob Ford, “Mayor of Fun,” as Councillor Michael Thompson jokingly dubbed him during a recent interview.
Before Ford came to office in December, this was the city that sent you a bill for $60 on your birthday.
Since repealing that vehicle registration fee, the mayor has talked about scrapping numerous regulations, which critics of the previous city hall regime would claim represent a nanny-state mentality.
Among other things, Doolittle lists the following as things that might get in the way of fun:
- Vehicle Registration Fee
- Rules against cutting down trees
- Obstructing sidewalks
- Ban on bottled water sales in city buildings
- The five cent plastic bag fee
The city certainly has some bylaws in place that are too restrictive — the requirement to have a paid duty police officer at a neighbourhood barbecue, for example — but it seems quite the reach to equate Rob Ford’s lazy libertarian approach to government with any kind of policy that might lead to fun.
Rob Ford dismantles government because he dislikes government. Most of the restrictions Doolittle lists were put in place as environmental safeguards. If a more fun city is the end result of their elimination, it’s not by design. It’s just collateral.
Case in point: Soon after this article was published, Rob Ford’s Executive Committee voted to defer indefinitely item BU12.7. The small item would have made an net-zero adjustment to the 2011 Approved Operating Budget of Toronto Public Health to account for the addition of two permanent public health nurses, paid for entirely by the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Free nurses working in the city! No cost to the Toronto taxpayer! Not happening, says the Mayor. Because nurses and public health are, I guess, not fun.