Democratic discipline?


4A newsWhat does it mean to be guilty of misconduct?

Article: Adam Gamble – Contributor

[dropcaps round=”no”]R[/dropcaps]ob Ford and Victoria Hammah are guilty of misconduct. But, they have been met with different consequences.

Ford, who is no longer able to appoint and dismiss the deputy mayor and executive committee, nor exercise emergency powers, remains mayor of Toronto. His budget has also been cut, as has his staff.

This “mayor-by-name status” is the result of two city council motions, on Nov. 15 and one on Nov. 18.

It came amidst a scandal, which has seen the mayor admit to doing things from buying illegal drugs, to driving drunk – all while in office.

These acts have presented Ford with ongoing ridicule in Toronto, across Canada, and internationally.

In response, the mayor and his brother, Toronto City Councilor Doug Ford, have been making public outcries that he should not have had his powers revoked, let alone be ridiculed.

Ford’s defense is that no one is perfect.

In solidarity, the brothers sat down with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge on Nov. 19. During the interview, Ford reiterated his so-called unfair treatment, saying it is undemocratic. He even compared his treatment to what happens in a third world country.

Hammah, who is in the third world country of Ghana, is no longer in office. She was fired from her position as the country’s deputy communications minister on Nov. 8. This came less than 24 hours after her driver gave Accra’s Neat FM a recording purportedly of her saying, “I will not quit politics until I make a million dollars.”

So why was Hammah fired and not Ford?

Jim Farney, who earned his PhD in Political science at the University of Toronto, and is now assistant professor of its faculty at the University of Regina, says this is about accountability.

Hammah’s case “is a clear sign of being a corrupt politician . . . Ford . . . is a politician that has some problems with substances,” said Farney.

Whether he has substance problems or is corrupt, some residents of Toronto continue their anti-Ford protests, and want him gone.

Unlike municipalities in British Columbia, Toronto does not have recall legislation. This would enable Ford to be removed from office if 40 per cent of Toronto residents from a particular riding sign a petition.

Currently, he can only be removed if he is criminally convicted.

Robert Wornanu, who has lived in Regina for two years, and is originally from Ghana, said, ‘This is not a democracy.”
He says if the government did not hold Hammah accountable for her actions, Ghanaians would have ensured they did.

“In Ghana, the people put you there, and they have the power to put you out,” said Wornanu.

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