US think-tank asks: "Why is Rob Ford Toronto's Mayor?"

Symposium in Washington explores factors that led to Ford becoming Mayor

A Washington think-tank held a symposium today on a topic that has fascinated people in Canada, and beyond: How is Rob Ford the mayor of Toronto?

In an attempt to explore the factors that led to his election, and enduring core of support, Washington's Wilson Center held a discussion titled ``The Rob Ford Phenomenon: What's going on in Toronto?''

The conversation was led by Canadian university professor Anne
Golden, who didn't exactly sing Ford's praises, but did offer her take on the reasons people voted for him and why many continue to support him despite a tsunami of scandals.

About two dozen people crowded into a boardroom near the White House, to hear her presentation and ask questions.

 One academic suggested the parallels between Ford and ex-D.C.mayor Marion Barry went beyond being busted for smoking crack: he suggested they both draw political support from segments of society that fear being ignored by the urban elite.

Golden explained the history of the Toronto mega-city, and said Torontonians were frustrated by a garbage strike, taxes, and the perception of waste at city hall. She said Ford's promise to, 'Stop the gravy train,' appealed to them.

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  1. D Ray posted on 05/16/2014 12:41 PM

    You don't have to do a story anymore every time someone outside Canada mentions Ford.

    He's gone and if he comes back he'll be removed due to (yet another) blatant e.g. of conflict of interest.
  2. ToddK_2 posted on 05/16/2014 01:17 PM
    Rob Ford let us down plain and simple. His financial model should be instilled in all levels of government.
  3. Angry Bill posted on 05/16/2014 01:23 PM
    You'd THINK the lefty socialist would have learned the error of their ways.. Ford got voted in for a REASON. That reason was because people (ordinary people, not the Toronto elite) got real tired, real fast of the spend/tax happy socialists inhabiting city hall.

    You'd think they would have said, "Ok, ok, you spanked us enough.. We've learned out lesson, we'll stop pissing away your hard-earned tax dollars on crazy, frivolous, ill-thought out crap that people don't want or need, and instead focus on real issues and not spending money we don't have like a drunken sailor". But nope. They haven't changed one bit. Which is precisely why Ford is still up there in the polls.

    They really still don't get it.
    1. arthur posted on 05/16/2014 01:54 PM
      @Angry Bill Rob Ford IS the Toronto ELITE. self entitled egotistical individual part of a well off family which most of the family members have deep deep personal issues. if most of us were honest we would not have these kind of people as part of our circle of friends or acquaintances knowing what we know now
    2. bob posted on 05/16/2014 02:06 PM
      @Angry Bill some socialism Bill is what made this country great and continues to do so. a country where we all play a part living in a society where we look after each other share in the pain and gain. we don't let people just drop dead on the street because they maybe fell on rough times and can't afford to feed and house their families. it's called living with a little dignity like we all would like to live with.
      sometimes i think the animal kingdom has more common sense than humans. animals living in packs and herds protect each other.
      maybe you want American style system where you get sick and can't pay or you suffer from mental issues the hospitals just drop you off alone in some lane way. My Canada is better
    3. SojBee posted on 05/16/2014 03:09 PM
      @bob Tripe!! Absolute garbage!! Perhaps you forget the sudden TTC strikes, Garbage strikes, the sweet unions deals, which was supposedly a deal for the tax payers; the waste at City Hall, and the current greedy councillors that form the leaders of this city. Nobody is talking about people dropping dead on the street - don't turn the discussion into something that it is not! It about waste and taking tax payers for fools!!
    4. Lisa posted on 05/16/2014 03:30 PM
      @bob Your Canada looks a lot like one where I'm punished for having a job and contributing to the economy, so that some leech on welfare can be rewarded for staying at home and getting drunk at 1 in the afternoon.
  4. Common Sense posted on 05/16/2014 03:28 PM
    Rob Ford won the Mayor's office because his platform was one that Toronto (and really, all of Canada) sorely need: Fiscal responsibility.

    Canadians are waking up to just how much of their hard-earned income is being confiscated to pay taxes which are then wasted on endless committees, redundant government employees, and the unethical demands of unions who make no secret of how willing they are to hurt us in order to pad their wallets.

    Canadians want fiscal responsibility. It's why Stephen Harper won a majority, and why he will again in the next election. It's why Tim Hudak is going to win the provincial election on June 12. It's why people are becoming more vocally anti-union and supporting groups like Working Canadians.

    The free ride is almost over, CUPE. You'll have to start working for your money soon.
    1. Roshanna posted on 05/16/2014 05:13 PM
      @Common Sense I've had it with that union greed, RIGHT TO WORK is what we need!
  5. ad posted on 05/16/2014 03:46 PM
    It took a panel to figure this out? lol sounds like more gravy train

    why do people procrastinate and leave thing's to the last minute?
    because it's more fun living right now in the moment than thinking of the future. It fun up until it's ALMOST too late to fix, then the fun factor is gone and pain sets in.
    ROB FORD is that radical flip of emotion for Canadians, nobody saw it coming and it's shocking a lot of people who were blind to real problems.

    Majority of Canadians have experienced so much pain related to government finance irresponsibility, it's simply to great to ignore any longer. Far greater than any pain Rob Ford may himself inflict, he is literally the lesser evil things have gotten that bad. This Ford stories will keep flooding without effect UNTIL the flip goes the other way and we are back on track financially and the public mind shifts.

    It's embarrassing to be a Canadian these days not because of Ford, but because of how long we put off important thing's he is was left to fix.
  6. John Douglas posted on 05/17/2014 10:35 AM
    Rob Ford is Mayor because the voters listened to his campaign rhetoric and didn't consider the man himself (or his more sober but dopey brother). Now, City Council lacks a proper method of having him removed from office.
    When Ford is defeated in the next election (should he be foolish enough to run again), the first duty of the new Mayor is to develop the standards to which any Mayor must conform, and the method of removing any future clown.
    It's nice that he is losing some weight, and perhaps attempting to deal with his addictions, but I don't want him kept in office. If he can prove himself by maintaining his personal actions and running the family business over the next 3-4 years, then he can try running again, but I hope he wouldn't.
  7. vhigge posted on 07/08/2014 09:38 AM







    [CFRB 1010]


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