Post-Fordist Toronto

Neither you nor Ford want to see the mess he left behind./ Haley Klassen

Neither you nor Ford want to see the mess he left behind./ Haley Klassen

John Tory will have quite the mess on his hands to clean.

Author: Jae Hur

Under the Ford family leadership, Toronto has become the laughingstock of Canada. Countless comedians, such as Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart, have relentlessly targeted the crazy controversies of Mayor Rob Ford while every major news station has eaten up the Mayor and his brother’s rash and disrespectful behavior every single night. However, on Oct. 27, Toronto elected a new mayor with a different last name than Ford. John Tory, a 60-year-old man who seems to physically embody the stark contrast of the Ford family with his well-groomed hair, fit physique and polite demeanor and charisma, beat out the incumbent’s brother, Doug Ford, by a narrow margin of 6 per cent.

Toronto’s newly elected mayor faces an extremely difficult challenge. First off Tory has to fix the government’s image externally with the departure of Rob Ford. Toronto’s governmental image is in shambles thanks to the departing Mayor’s ridiculous antics, which has derailed the integrity of the government. The media has exploited this derailed image of Toronto, as Tory was asked to appear on Jimmy Kimmel almost immediately after his victory. He subsequently refused, but it goes to show the mocking perception the public carries for the government of Toronto.

Secondly, Tory faces a difficult challenge of leading a city overridden with divisiveness on many fronts. For one, he must resurrect a City Council that could barely accomplish anything under Rob Ford’s leadership. Thanks to Ford’s scandals, fiscal arrogance and disrespect, the Council became fractured. Tory must now reunite it to move forward despite the presence of Rob Ford, handily returned to City Council.

As well, Tory faces stiff challenges in appealing to the section of Toronto’s population known as “Ford Nation.” Torontonians didn’t mind Rob Ford, in spite of his discriminatory antics, drunken stupors and larger-than-life personality because of his extreme governmental fiscal responsibility. For instance, the Toronto Sun reported on Nov. 4, 2014, that Ford’s mayoral office only spent just over $90,000 since 2010 out of the allocated amount of 2 million dollars. In contrast, predecessors of Ford’s mayoral office have spent upwards to $700,000 in the same amount of time as Ford. After the City Council expense reports were released after the election, Ford did not hesitate to slam councilors on overspending taxpayer’s money. His penny-pinching ideals have been extremely attractive to conservatives within Toronto to the extent of “Ford Nation.” Tory, undoubtedly, will be more costly than Ford, which will lead to inevitable critiques from the conservative demographics.

The reiteration of the Ford family’s popularity and mass following illustrates what lies ahead for Doug and Rob Ford, assuming Rob regains his health. After losing the election, Forum Research found that Doug Ford polls only second to Christine Elliott, the widow of the late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, within the race for leadership for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. What does this mean? Well, one cannot prematurely draw conclusions to declare Doug Ford as the next premier of Ontario, but it paints the picture of how popular the Ford family is within Ontario’s conservative circles.

All and all, John Tory faces a stiff challenge ahead in becoming the mayor of Toronto. He must attempt to reconstruct the governmental image that has been dramatically tarnished by Rob Ford’s hilarious antics. Secondly, he must deal with the City Council that is demoralized while fighting off the conservative “Ford Nation” army. Oh and not to forget, he still has to fulfill his own platform (such as building subway infrastructures).

Because at the end of the day, Toronto is not all about the Ford family.

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