Well, I hate to say that I told you so.
Actually, that is not entirely true. I am laughing my behind off, as I type this in the wee hours of the morn.
But as I warned the Globe and Mail, in a previous Huffington Post article:Mayor Rob Ford is not Teflon Man, nor is he, Toxic Man. But for all of you pundits and politicos on the port side, I warn you, once again, the man is Kryptonite.
Or in the case of the hapless Premier Wynne, overnight she has been transformed from the touchy-feely, “Harvard-educated” (okay, it was only a two-week program, and not a 4-year degree like mine, but hey, once a Harvard student, always a Harvard student) Ms. Premier Mediator, Captain Conciliator.
To a cold, heartless, female version of the ruthless cost-cutting former Premier Mike Harris. But with better chic earrings.
Like all her fellow sinister (Latin for “left”) travelers, Premier personally cannot stand Mayor Ford. Because he is overweight, lacks downtown Annex class, he is anti-bikes and prefers fixing potholes, to saving the whales and solving climate change. And of course, he hangs out with shady characters, who allegedly illegally delete and destroy government documents.
Oops, wrong political leader. My bad.
My point is that underneath Wynne’s comforting demeanor, is one tough, calculating, highly-focused and partisan politico. Who runs a very tight office, full of very partisan followers and loyalists, where she is clearly the boss, and there is very little dissent. Shades of Stephen Harper.
But because Wynne has surrounded herself with like-minded leftists, Wynne is politically tone-deaf, to the populist appeal and political phenomenon, that is Rob Ford.
Because she and her followers hate Ford, and don’t understand his appeal, she thinks all Toronto hates Ford and thinks he is a buffoon, and that he can do nothing right.
As a result, Wynne thought she could lay her ruthless decision to cut back Ontario government funding of public housing and social programs for Toronto’s poor, all on Rob Ford.
Oy, did Wynne make a huge political blunder!
Wynne just pitched a nice high fast one over the plate, to our Mayor. And the Big Bambino, just knocked it in the upper deck for a four bagger.
In a recent Globe and Mail article, the Wynne government abruptly cancelled funding in the sum of $150 million ($50 million in 2014) that the Ontario government had been annually forwarding to the City of Toronto since 2008, to compensate the city of Toronto, for Ontario downloading certain public services, such as public housing on the City.
Naturally, Mayor Ford reacted harshly to this unexpected funding cutbacks which directly affect the most vulnerable in Toronto.
In his press conference, Ford stood up for the plight of Toronto’s working poor and condemned Wynne for abandoning them through these terrible and unexpected cutbacks. Ford vowed to maintain funding for this matter, even if the City had to make cutbacks in other areas.
This decision comes as a complete surprise to me and the city and we are very, very concerned,” Ford said at a press conference. “These are vital, vital funds that we need to continue helping our most vulnerable residents.”
In addition, Ford lambasted the Wynne government because he believed that the McGuinty government and now the Wynne government was committed to maintaining this funding for 10 years, until 2018.
Naturally, leftist Toronto Councilor Gord Perks, as reported yesterday on CBC radio, blamed Ford for dropping the ball and spending too much time fixing potholes and answering constituents’ calls, than managing the relationship with Premier Wynne. (I personally heard the said CBC news report)
Then naturally, in Saturday’s Star, Royson James took a cheap shot at Ford and apparently also blamed Ford for Wynne cutting back on the $150 million. Jamesstated, referring to Ford’s adverse reaction to the unexpected cutbacks, ”
“Consistent he is — consistently irrational. And it might end up costing Toronto $150 million….
Ford’s comments, a curious attack, are unhelpful.”
So Wynne reneges on a 10 year commitment to help out Toronto’s poor, and somehow Rob Ford is at fault.
How low can the Ford-hating Star go?
Then Wynne trots out Finance Minister Sousa and former Finance Minister Duncanto swear that there was never a 10-year commitment.
Then a minor miracle occurs.
Recall for weeks, there were numerous articles about how dysfunctional the Mayor’s office and Toronto City Hall were. To such an extent that the unelected Premier Wynne thought of intervening and removing our democratically elected mayor.
Well, apparently this non-functioning City Hall , in the person of Liberal Councilor Shelley Carroll, unearthed a letter from an Ontario assistant deputy minister that, referring to the funding for social housing, “specifically describes payments “the City of Toronto can expect to receive from the province” until 2018.”
Got ya. Chuck. That sounds pretty definitive to me.
Then Finance Minister Sousa argued that the Ontario government was alternatively giving the City of Toronto certain savings by not demanding the City repay the $200 million loan Ontario gave to the city to pay for the costs of amalgamation.
To which replied city manager Joe Pennachetti,
“But the city says there’s no real savings, because it didn’t expect to pay the money back. Payments on the loan stopped years ago, and the province stopped insisting on being repaid, “We thought the loan was gone and over and done with,” Pennachetti said. “You (province) are finally acknowledging you’re going to get rid of the loan. Thank you, but it should have been done eight years ago.”
Again, the hapless Sousa appears out to lunch.
To sum up. Wynne’s $150 million funding cutback makes her and her government look like ruthless cost cutters, trying to reduce its government’s deficit on the backs of Toronto’s most vulnerable. And a government that reneges on its written commitments and fudges the truth about it.
Ford, on the other hand, is cast in the unlikely role of defender of the downtrodden and a fighter for the housing rights of the working poor in Toronto. And a man of integrity.
Perhaps Ford should intervene and lead a delegation to Queens Park to seek the removal from office of the unelected Premier.
I hope the Mayor Ford, when he visits Queens Park, does not spend too much time “standing in judgment” over the transgressions of the unelected Premier.