Archived columns and blog posts by Matt Elliott

Cheers and jeers for councillors as post-Ford agenda takes shape

These days, Rob Ford's City Hall is best characterized as uneventful calm punctuated by high-level political farce.

The mayor, incredibly, has run out of things to do, despite lots of campaign promises left unfulfilled. At this week's council meeting, Ford neglected to set a key item to place at the top of the agenda and only roused himself to speak as part of an impromptu crusade against the current zoning appeals process. On that, he lost huge, with only a handful of councillors joining him. If not for would-be fights with Toronto Star reporters and hard-to-stomach radio broadcasts, there wouldn't be much to say about his mayor at all.

So let's set the man wearing the chain of office aside for now and look at some of the other councillors making waves – both good and bad – as the post-Ford agenda starts to take shape at City Hall.

Cheers for James Pasternak: The Ward 10 councillor who was famously swept into office with only 19% of the vote never looked comfortable in his role as Ford ally in 2011. In the new year, Pasternak has found his voice as a level-headed centrist, capable of marshalling support on both sides of council. He recently joined the budget committee where he immediately set out to use some of the city's giant surplus stash to reverse service cuts. At committee, he failed – but his motion is bound to come back at council next month, where it should pass.

Jeers for Denzil Minnan-Wong: Look, maybe it's unfair to dismiss notions like converting Yonge & Bay into one-way streets without full study, but that's hardly the point. Minnan-Wong shouldn't propose major changes to neighbourhood streets without first talking to the local councillor. This isn't the first time he's intentionally left Kristyn Wong-Tam out of the loop. He knows better.

Cheers for Michelle Berardinetti: Another erstwhile Ford ally who has developed a much stronger voice since distancing herself from the inner circle. The Ward 35 councillor and I disagree on a lot of things – and probably always will – but she's recently taken steps to make amends with the cycling community and hinted that she's on-side with using the budget surplus to preserve things like the High Park Zoo. If nothing else, I love her for this response to a question about maintaing Ford's service cuts: “Come on, are we going to get rid of all the cultural stuff in the city?”

Jeers for Doug Ford: When asked about the laundry list of stupid and/or offensive things said by guest David Menzies on his and his brother's radio show Sunday, Ford didn't do enough to denounce the comments. “I know Rob and I, we wouldn’t have made those comments,” he said. Sure, but he still seems okay with an invited guest saying them.

This post was originally published at on 2012-05-09T00:00:00.000Z

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Matt Elliott

City Hall watcher, columnist and policy wonk in Toronto.
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