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Toronto is still eight months away from the start of the long 2014 election campaign–although if you listen to the Mayor and his brother you’d be excused for thinking we’ve been in the middle of an election for the past six months–and yet the issues that will likely dominate already seem to be coalescing. Here is a sneak preview of what will be on every candidate’s lips in less than a year:

  • Subways, subways, subways
  • No one has done more for _____ than _____
  • Taxes, taxes, taxes
  • At the end of the day, Toronto needs _____, not _____
  • Efficiencies, folks, efficiencies
  • Casinos, casinos, casinos
  • These damn streetcars clogging up our streets
  • Jets, jets, jets
  • The people can’t afford the things that the people are demanding that they want
  • Respect, respect, respect

I don’t know about you, but if you’re like Rob Ford and hate the actual business of governing, and can’t wait for this session of City Council to be over and the election season of strident name-calling, empty catchphrases and soon-to-be-broken promises to begin, 2014 can’t come soon enough!

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Rob Ford DrunkOK, I know what you’re thinking–“Dude, lay off the Mayor… the ‘Rob Ford is a drunk’ stories are so three weeks ago!” But at the time those stories came out, I had become so disillusioned with our Mayor that I couldn’t even bring myself to make fun of him. It was all just too much, too embarrassing, too constant, his foibles and missteps. Maybe I even felt bad for him. Had a line been crossed? Had the media delved too far into his personal life? Where should the line be drawn between public and personal lives anyway? So the Mayor likes to drink; so do I. Sometimes he drinks too much; so do I. What would I think if certain of my escapades had become front-page fodder? Had we reached the point where Rob Ford’s everyman appeal had found a resonance with my own values?

Maybe.

But more than anything I just wanted to be reading about important issues facing Toronto–the potential for a downtown casino, how we’re going to pay to fight gridlock, in general making this city a better place–and not about Mayor Ford’s personal troubles.

Since the headlines questioning Ford’s drinking habits, he’s actually kept his nose pretty clean: no new scandals. Sure, he still says stupid things, and I still disagree with almost every opinion that comes out of his mouth, but at least he’s been talking about policies, and taxes, and a vision for the city, even if his vision is amazingly petty and narrow.

But in my own way, I’m petty, too. And I just couldn’t let these jokes at the Mayor’s expense sit unused, languishing in the recesses of my notebook. Let’s hope that these kinds of jokes represent the past, and that we won’t see their like again; let’s hope that when we talk about Rob Ford in the future, it’ll be about his politics, not his behaviour.

Your Coverage of City Hall Makes the Mayor Drink

“Just a little sippy before this transit vote…”

“I can stop anytime I want, just like I stopped the gravy train. Boom! See what I did there?”

Toronto: Where Proposing a Toast to the Mayor’s Health is Now a Controversial Political Act

“Forget subways–what I really want is a motorboat, ifyaknowhatimean!”

In all seriousness, I hope that if Rob Ford has problems with alcohol or drugs, that he gets the help he needs, and listens to those close to him who care about him and risked so much by talking to the media.

The future of transit for Toronto?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is taking his campaign to keep transit off surface routes to a new extreme, as he’s started to talk about replacing and upgrading the ferries that service the Toronto Islands. Concerned about an ongoing “war on the boat,” the Mayor has vowed that any new transportation to the Islands must be below the surface.

“I’m doing what the taxpayers want. They want submarines, that’s it. They don’t want ferries. I was out on Ward’s Island over the weekend, people came up to me and said, they want submarines. That’s it.

“It’s the taxpayers. The taxpayers want… I was elected on subways, they want submarines, they both start with ‘sub’… I was out on Saturday, people want submarines. That’s it.

“It’s all submarines. It’s all about submarines.”

Asked to clarify his belief that the Islands would be better served by underwater transit, despite the enormous cost, not to mention the environmental risk involved, with nuclear submarines being the preferred option, Mayor Ford continued:

“All about submarines. So, it’s the taxpayers that elected me to get the submarines in and that’s what we’re going to do.

“It’s like winning an election. So if they voted me in, that means [stutters a bit] I don’t win an election? It doesn’t make sense.”

The Mayor’s insistence on submarine transit to the popular destination has not won universal approval, even amongst his most ardent supporters. Councillor Doug Ford, the Mayor’s brother and closest advisor, prefers an underwater monorail, while Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti supports the submarine plan, but only if the vessels are armed with pink-coloured torpedoes, a nod to his own plans to set up legalized brothels on Centre Island.

Rob Ford braves the sunlight in order to push his Moleman-centric agenda on unsuspecting Elven Lord Dalton McGuinty

With his musings about building a car tunnel under the Gardiner Expressway, Toronto Councillor Doug Ford has once again demonstrated his devotion to the idea of moving transit and commuting underground, and clearly indicated his allegiance to the larger moleman agenda. Along with his brother, actual Mayor Rob Ford, Doug was instrumental in moving the crosstown Eglinton LRT (Light Rail Transit) below ground, at tremendously-increased cost compared to the original plan, which called for construction aboveground, in the sun and fresh air where normal humans thrive. In addition the brothers, whose predilection for squinting when exposed to any form of natural light should not be ignored, have been advocating for a private-public plan to build an extension to the Sheppard subway line, and claim that it can be built at no cost to taxpayers by leveraging development fees. The mayor also says he will not use road trolls to build the expansion, though the man he hired to find funding has been touting it as an option: “The people I’ve spoken to don’t want road trolls; they’re smelly and I don’t trust them. They punish hard-working families, sometimes by making their children into gravy. It’s time to stop the gravy-train.”

“I ran on a promise to build subways, and that’s what I’m going to do… they’re ours and we wants ’em! Everything is better underground… I absolutely love the PATH system, which allows me to travel between City Hall and the Air Canada Centre without once going outside,” explained the Mayor, his pale skin a clear indication of his avoidance of daylight. “That way I can avoid the harsh glare of the sun–it burns! it burns!–to say nothing of public scrutiny.”

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