Posts Tagged: stephen harper

Oct 11

Ford stays out of provincial race as Ford Nation goes up in smoke

The Toronto Sun’s Don Peat:

Days before the May federal election, Ford came out endorsing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the federal Conservatives.

But Ford won’t be throwing his support behind Progressive Conservative Tim Hudak, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath or Liberal Dalton McGuinty

“There are no plans to,” Adrienne Batra, the mayor’s press secretary, told the Sun.

Batra did not provide Ford’s reason for staying out of this race.

via Ford staying out of provincial election | News | Ontario Votes | More | Toronto Sun.

Here’s the reason: he’s unpopular.

That Ford didn’t endorse Tim Hudak — the only guy he would ever endorse — is the clearest sign yet that the mayor is aware of his declining popularity. This inaction speaks louder than any poll. Rob Ford knows he doesn’t have the ability to help Hudak in the polls in the 416.

Don’t get me wrong: Ford staying out of the race is the right move. He would have been right to stay out of the federal race too — there really was no personal upside to his endorsement, as Harper promised little for Toronto — but that didn’t stop him. The mayor’s desire to endear himself to the provincial and federal Conservative parties is strong. He didn’t hang that picture of Mike Harris in his office for nothing, nor was it coincidental that Stephen Harper ate barbecue at Ford’s mother’s house over the summer. The Fords seem thrilled to be back in the good graces of the conservative political machine that once rejected them.

Ford’s silence on the provincial race — which, I have to assume, came because the powers-that-be decided his endorsement wouldn’t help anybody — is further proof that, if Rob Ford’s ascension was representative of any kind of political sea change, it was only a fleeting one. A brief, weird moment in time where Toronto collectively rolled the dice on a fascinating, one-of-a-kind politician, who spent his campaign tooling around the city in a (maybe improperly paid for) massive RV, telling everyone he could lower their taxes while maintaining their services.

Election night on October, 25, 2010 was not a massive rightward shift for Toronto. It was not the dawn of some great Ford Nation that holds sway over other orders of government beyond the City of Toronto’s borders. It was just an unlikely man winning an unconventional election in uncertain times.

That doesn’t mean that Ford couldn’t take a second term, of course. Just that, come 2014, the incumbent candidate will have to be a different Rob Ford, running on different terms, telling us something new.

Apr 11

Ford endorses federal party that offers nothing for Toronto

Natalie Alcoba reports the only-a-little-surprising news that Rob Ford will officially endorse Stephen Harper at a Conservative Party rally in Brampton tonight:

Adrienne Batra, the Mayor’s press secretary, confirmed that he will be introducing the prime minister at a rally in Brampton.

“It’s coming down to the wire in terms of the election and the Conservative platform and the message that Prime Minister Harper has been giving, lower taxes, is very important to the City of Toronto, particularly on the corporate tax side. We need to create jobs here and have a competitive tax environment,” said Ms. Batra.

via Mayor Rob Ford to endorse Harper | Posted Toronto | National Post.

Two points:

First, it is more than a little insane that a mayor who threatened to campaign against the provincial government, should they not give in to his stated demands for more money, is now publicly supporting a federal party that has little-to-nothing in their platform about urban issues.

Second, I think it’s somewhat telling that this endorsement is taking place on a Friday night, two days before the election, at a party event outside of Toronto. This is something that’s largely meant to fly under the general public’s radar, energize the Conservative base in the 905 — who, anecdotally, seem crazy for Rob Ford and the “stop the gravy train” stuff — and keep the Fords in the good graces of the Conservative Party.

Mar 11

Ford’s media relations strategy mirrors Stephen Harper’s

Royson James in his Toronto Star column today writes about GM2.12, an item the Government Management committee will consider shortly. The item recommends “Enhanced Security Measures” (but doesn’t list them specifically) to provide councillor security.

From what James and others have written, the move essentially seems to be about restricting the media’s access to City Hall:

So, it is with no little concern that television and newspaper reporters and columnists received news that the city’s government management committee Tuesday could severely restrict the media’s coming and going — in the name of enhanced city hall security.

You should be concerned as well.

One idea, apparently being tossed around, is to have the media sign in, like the general public, and be escorted to councillors’ offices. Over our dead bodies — and court challenges.

via James: Is the press a security threat at City Hall? –

I’m written before that there is, unfortunately, very little downside to an elected official cutting off the media’s access. The public seemingly doesn’t care.

In 2006, a newly elected Stephen Harper did essentially the same thing, as reported by Global News:

Harper has come under fire from the media in recent months for limiting the parliamentary press gallery from having access to certain events and federal personalities.

Shortly after coming into power, the Harper government ceased publicizing Tory cabinet meeting times and also barred the media from the corridor outside of the cabinet room, effectively preventing reporters from staking out cabinet ministers and throwing questions at them as they emerged from the room.

via Stephen Harper vs. The Press. (Emphasis added.)

Feels a bit like déjà vu.