It looks like the political honeymoon between Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and newly elected Toronto Mayor John Tory is over. Kaput. Finito.
And this is after John Tory went to the trouble of legally changing his name to John Liberal. In deference to Kathy’s strong political Liberal leanings and the fact that Kathy and her minions had brought their considerable organizational skill and manpower to this relationship, in order for John Liberal to beat back the Ford resurgence. And win the Toronto election, especially in the inner city.
What went wrong with this May- October relationship? Premier Kathy, the Iron Bell, seemed so sympatico with the former Rogers Cable guy.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Recall in mid-election campaign, Johnny expressed his undying admiration for and devotion to Premier Kathy. Johnny tried to score political points by stressing that unlike his opponent Doug Ford, he had a friend in Kathy in the Ontario Premier’s office.
Johnny may come across as a bit entitled, a bit dilettantish and certainly spineless
Johnny may come across as a bit entitled, a bit dilettantish and certainly spineless, but his claim to fame is that he is a likeable guy who can get along with all his colleagues. And especially with the powerful Premier Kathy, who rules the roost at Queens Park.
You may recall that former Mayor Ford’s relationship with Premier Kathy, was dead on arrival, from the get go.
The reasons are numerous.
Their personalities and ideologies clashed horribly.
Ford was a straight-shooting, street smart governmentphobe and taxaphobe, who believed the best government is one which governs least. Ford also had some serious personal control issues. And he pointedly avoided the Pride Festival and everything gay.
Premier Kathy is an openly gay, bleeding heart liberal school trustee/mediator/community organizer type, who believes government is the panacea, regardless of costs. She has no clue how the private sector and business operate. And she couldn’t care less. Her modus operandi is to create jobs by using borrowed government funds to bribe companies to stay in Ontario, at ruinous costs to the Ontario taxpayers and the companies themselves.
Ford and Kathy clearly had different value systems. Ford really respected taxpayers’ dollars. His original campaign in 2010 was based on stopping the gravy train at City Hall and cutting unnecessary waste to the tune of $800 million to a billion dollars.
Premier Kathy was part of a government that blew blithely billions of taxpayers’ dollars on corrupt and crazy schemes ( eHealth, Ornge, OLG, gas plant cancellations, MaRS) without remorse or an errant eyelash.
Ford also had the unfortunate habit of undiplomatically reminding Premier Kathy that she should get her own deficit-ridden, spendthrift government in order before she tried to interfere with his more cost-conscious and cost-effective administration.
So when John Liberal came a courting Premier Kathy early in the mayoral campaign, the Premier helped staff up Johnny’s campaign with her loyal senior advisers. Anything to get rid of the boorish Ford brothers.
I think Johnny was more interested in tapping Kathy’s government revenues, than her friendship
In retrospect, I think Johnny’s intentions with Kathy were less than noble.
I think Johnny was more interested in tapping Kathy’s government revenues, than her friendship.
The issue came to a head between these two love birds around the time of Johnny’s first budget.
As I predicted, ( together with many right thinking pundits) Johnny is just another tax and spend liberal hiding in Bay Street Blue threads.
Contrary to his campaign promises, our new Mayor has raised TTC fares and imposed additional hidden fees on Ontario residents for water and garbage pickup services and a whole host of user fees.
Instead of holding the line at City Hall, he has increased salaries for councilors, their office budgets and he has increased his own office budget by a whopping 50% over the previous mayor, well over $2.2 million annually. He is quickly heading to David Miller country, a previous spendthrift mayor who was practically run out of town for his profligate spending policies.
Johnny has also designated more money for young children riding the TTC, additional buses, the homeless and for affordable housing. Which is all fine and dandy if there were sufficient funds in the city’s coffers.
But guess what? There ain’t, Jack.
There seems to be a big fat gaping hole of about $86 million, unsupported by proposed tax revenues or ancillary revenues. I estimate that this hole is well over $100 million and probably heading to $200 million territory.
So Johnny boy, we got a problem.
Mayor Johnny was hoping that he could sweet talk Premier Kathy into waiving certain funds owed by the City to the province, about $80-90 million.
And Johnny thought he had a deal.
But Kathy’s henchman Finance Minister Sousa, kiboshed that understanding and instead insisted publicly that there was no such deal or waiver. And instead, the province will lend Johnny boy $100 or 200 million, at market rates ( read usurious rates administered by a heavy-set guy named Cheech)
So what happened to that special relationship you had with the Premier, Johnny boy?
The fact is that the City of Toronto does not have a revenue problem, it still has a spending problem. It is spending more than it can afford.
If Doug Ford was the mayor, unlike the spineless Johnny, he would be looking very carefully to the overpaid and overstaffed police, emergency and fire prevention services.
Do we really need police knocking back double and triple over time for supervising condo construction projects or highway infrastructure projects and earning well over $100Gs per man for work that could be more cost-effectively outsourced to private security forces?
We could easily save $12 million to $15 million per year in outsourcing and privatizing garbage services in the east.
But John Boy seems to have deep sixed that idea for fear of offending his profligate lefty friends on council.
We have too many Toronto public schools, with little enrollment, that should have been closed years ago and the surplus land sold off to developers and the revenues used to repair and maintain our aging public housing stock.
There are many other revenue generating and cost-saving ideas. But the current mayor is a spineless political dilettante who has been promoted well beyond his competence and we are stuck with him for another four years as he runs around glad handing and being likeable, but ultimately totally ineffective and ineffectual.