Another day at Toronto City Hall means the writers for the late night comics can take it easy. Like really. The writers could not even come close to making up the stuff that we are witnessing in Toronto.
First we started off with the dramatic replication of Sunday’s Hamilton Tiger-Cat versus Toronto Argonaut playoff football game. Mayor Ford wasn’t wearing his Argo jersey when he decided to take out Councillor Pam McConnell this afternoon on his way to rough it up with citizens watching in the public gallery.
Apparently Mayor Ford believed that his brother, Councillor Ford, was verbally fighting with CUPE members sitting in the gallery and was in need of assistance. So running around the chamber, Mayor Ford accidentally ran over Councillor McConnell who resembles anyone’s grandmother.
Mayor Ford stopped to catch her from falling along with members of his staff. McConnell’s goal line stance prevented Mayor Ford from reaching his brother. Apparently she was sporting a fat lip later in the council meeting.
The public gallery outburst caused Speaker Frances Nunziata to throw the flag for unsportsmanlike conduct and called a recess to bring order to the rowdy city council meeting.
That was the first quarter.
The second half of the meeting dealt with the motion to strip powers from Mayor Rob Ford as well as sub amendments.
Councillor Ford stated that this was a left wing coup d’état and made a motion for the province to call a special election to fill the Mayor’s chair. A motion that was later denied.
After all of the Councillors who wished to speak had spoken, the last speaker was Mayor Ford. Again, you cannot make this stuff up. Everyone especially Jay Leno’s writers were on pins and needles waiting in anticipation.
Mayor Ford compared the Council’s actions to former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein militarily taking over Kuwait. Of course Mayor Ford was drawing the inference that he was Kuwait. He let council know that he was prepared to wage U.S. style politics if council decided to strip him of his powers and his office budget.
The council chambers filled with laughter as the Councillors mocked Mayor Ford. Something that both sides had been doing for most of the day.
Earlier in the day when Councillor Ford and Councillor Ainslie were sparring verbally, Mayor Ford was seen in the background miming Councillor Ainslie who was stopped for drinking and driving at a checkpoint in May. Ainslie was given a warning but was not charged.
The council was successful in stripping powers and funding from the Mayor.
While some councilors believed that they were successful in restoring good governance and leadership to the city of Toronto, this was only the end of the second quarter.
After the voting, Councillors were giving interviews to the local and international media. There was one individual people wanted to speak to. Mayor Ford’s attorney George Rust-D’Eye.
So now begins the second half of the match. The possibilities are numerous with the high likelihood that both the courts and the province will eventually need to step-in.
If Rust-D’Eye is successful, a judge could stay the actions taken in the past few days essentially protecting the pre council meeting status quo until it goes before a court. Getting the court to review the case could take a few months and cost the city a few pennies. This would certainly cause confusion and gridlock within council.
The province could step in and formalize the decisions of the current council in stripping powers or they could even call a special election prior to the next scheduled vote in less than a year.
Advancing a mayoral election is my personal favorite as long as it is for all municipal positions including Councillors. Perhaps the province should pass a law prohibiting the current council from running since they have all proven to be a dysfunction lot.
A strategy that the province is currently playing (and perhaps should have been employed by City Council) is to sit on their hands and wait. The worse case scenario is that there is an election in 11 months.
In the coming weeks there is the possibility that Mayor Ford could be charged or even more unflattering information will be released. Council could have chosen to do nothing other than to supply Mayor Ford with more rope so to speak.
This match is not over. Far from it. It is about to get even messier.
Which means there are more easy days ahead for the late night comics.