Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Time to bring party politics to city hall
(Mayor Rob Ford: “Hubba-hubba! Yahoo! Now yer talkin’, Mikey! Bring it on! Stupor time!”)
No, no, not that kind of party, Your Worship. Political parties.
Normally, they’re poison to us anti-government libertarians, but after years of watching City Hall, I think they may be a necessary evil.
(Ford: “You mean I could actually get to be a prime minister?”)
Sorry, Robbie, you’d still be a lowly mayor, touch wood, unless we also make Toronto a country.
And local parties wouldn’t have to be Tory, Liberal and NDP.
Montreal has long had political parties, but with cute names like Project Montreal, Union Montreal and Parti Eléphant Blanc.
This makes it easier to compete for bribes from the mafia, but it has other uses.
Mostly, you know where everybody stands. Things move along. Democracy is less messy.
This is also true in Vancouver, where the Coalition of Progressive Electors, (COPE) is left-wing, Vision Vancouver is centre-left and the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) is centre-right.
It being Vancouver, there is also a Green Party councillor, but no right-wing.
They wouldn’t know what to do with Rob Ford out there. (“Man, on one hand the guy’s a redneck, but you gotta love a pothead.”)
Here in Hogtown, each councillor is a loose cannon. This makes good theatre. But put 45 loose cannons on a ship — and it shoots itself in the poop deck.
The place is dysfunctional. Nothing gets done. We’d be knee-deep in subways and food trucks if we’d had the discipline of party politics.
We wouldn’t have councillors doing Nadia Comaneci routines and transit plans popping up like whack-a-moles.
Canada’s second- and third-largest cities have parties, so it’s worth a look. Naturally, councillors could still chose to run as independents.
Our City Hall may not have parties, yet, but they’ve always been in the background.
Politicians are adept at moving up and down the food chain. Giorgio Mammoliti was an MPP. Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis on Wednesday signed up to run for council from Scarborough. Many current councillors have party skeletons in their plush City Hall closets.
And alliances are nothing new.
There is a Council Women’s Caucus, which includes Pammy McConnell, Janet Davis, Mary Fragedakis, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Paula Fletcher, Shelley Carroll and Sarah Doucette.
They meet at some of Toronto’s nicer greasy spoons, like Mercatto and the Law Society of Upper Canada Restaurant. They bill us.
Maybe they discuss whether Rob Ford is cuter than Doug, but it has the makings of a powerful political alliance.
They complain their gender is undermanned, so to speak, on the powerful executive committee. Indeed, there’s not not one female.
But if the Council Women’s Caucus fields a slate of candidates and wins a majority, the executive committee could be all-female. Frankly, it would do us good.
During the food truck debate Wednesday, it took a woman, Gloria Lindsay Luby, to ask the obvious question: Where will these truck people pee?
A man, such as Mayor Ford, would assume, well, they’ll go behind a tree.
Other potential slates?
Team Ford is a no-brainer. Wait, let me rephrase that. The Ford brothers are better known worldwide than the prime minister.
In a party-system City Hall, Team Ford might include Giorgio Mammoliti. Or it might not, depending on the day.
More likely, I see an FFF Front. Former Friends of Ford, including Denzil Minnan-Wong, Paul Ainslie, Michael Thompson and Karen Stintz.
Ms. Stintz, a long-shot mayoral candidate, is the Belinda Stronach of City Hall if it were organized along party lines. Belinda switched sides more often than Louis Vuitton bags.
There’s no shortage of candidates for a Toronto left-wing party. In fact, a former party leader is in their midst. Councillor Fletcher once led the Communist Party of Manitoba. (Rise, mosquitos, and throw off the shackles of Deep Woods Off!)
I know, I know, she was young and naive and I’m being nasty.
Hey, that’s politics.
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