Doug Ford made his first campaign stop at a fundraiser for the local Frontlines organization, according to John Nunziata. Ford is a close ally of the Nunziatas—who are both running for city councillor seats.
Frances Nunziata endorsed Rob Ford in the last municipal election, and Ford nominated her for council Speaker.
This time around, Frances Nunziata has not (yet?) endorsed a mayoral candidate. (She did not respond to my request for comment.) Last night, however, she campaigned with Doug Ford and her brother in Ward 12.
Mayor Rob Ford no longer has his radio show, or television show, or the support of the “biased media”¹, but he’s never allowed a little thing like support to stop him from doing whatever the id demands. So now he and his brother have taken to “the YouTube” (Doug’s words), to communicate their idea directly to their supporter.²
This week, the Fords released six videos. In one of them, Rob Ford lists the councillors he wants defeated—and the ones he thinks shouldn’t be. Frances Nunziata, our councillor, makes his short list of core supporters: she is one of only four he thinks deserves reëlection.
¹ These are Doug’s words. I know you know, but the “biased media” argument is the last refuge of a nutter. We’re witnessing the final thrashings of a man dragged into the light. Look at the backdrop of the video. It’s a wrinkly vinyl sign. My god; it’s Shakespeare. Ford had to hide under a vinyl sign in his final days—it is his family standard and his father’s blanket. Listen to the video. They sound like they’re far away and echoey. Ford Nation is produced by Wayne’s World local access cable—if Wayne were bereft of wit and irony.
Frances Nunziata, our councillor and the Speaker of Toronto City Council, rebuked Mayor Ford today. She joined an overwhelming majority of city councillors who asked the mayor to take a leave, apologize to the city, and cooperate with police. Frances Nunziata has been one of Ford’s most steadfast friends and loyal supporters.
Nunziata also had a tough day as Speaker. She drew the fire of Robyn Doolittle, the reporter who broke the crack story, who said, “Councillor Frances Nunziata is widely disliked in the role of speaker. Councillors believe she lets the Fords off and is partisan.”
She was also criticized by twitterers and redditors for not quieting down the Fords quickly enough on a number of occasions. At one point sure to make the evening news, Doug Ford repeatedly demanded of Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong—the instigator of motions against Ford—whether he had ever smoked pot, as if that were equal to Ford’s crimes.
Doug Ford’s shouting about pot went on and on while people yelled “Frances! Frances!” presumably begging her to use her powers as speaker shut him up. Yet whether she did him a favour or disservice by allowing him to continue is debatable.
Ford twice moved quickly—and, if you ask me, a indecorously, if not aggressively, toward Minnan–Wong, and at one point blocked his way. Nunziata tried, unsuccessfully, to get Ford to apologize. He refused at length. When he said in protest and only to Nunziata, “Madam Speaker, I’m sorry…”, she cut off his microphone and said, “Thank you, Mayor Ford…. That’s all I wanted you to say.” Even he laughed a little at having the rug pulled out from under him.
The Weston and Mount Dennis library branches will have to cut service hours if City Council accepts the recommendations of the city’s chief librarian. Both the Weston and Mount Dennis branches will be asked to close for an additional 2.5 hours every week.
The cuts have been ordered by Rob Ford, who told every city department to cut 10% of its budget. Not all libraries, however, are being told to close early. Of the 98 libraries in the city, 29 dodged the axe.
Despite Doug Ford’s stated willingness to close library branches, none of the libraries in the riding of the mayor’s brother are facing service cuts. Both libraries in Frances Nunziata’s riding are, however.
Rob Ford promised in his election campaign that “services will not be cut, guaranteed”. Cutting service will only solve part of the library’s budget problems however; collections will also be reduced.
Up for consideration at City Council today is a motion to find out whether the Air Rail Link between Pearson Airport and Union Station can be electrified in time for the Pan Am Games in 2015. If experts say it can’t be done (Metrolinx says it can’t), the motion calls for alternative transport arrangements for the games rather than beginning with diesel trains and later electrifying the line. This is in spite of the fact that diesel trains have already been purchased. Apparently the plan is to convert them to electric in 2017.
Who is behind this motion? None other than our own Councillor Frances Nunziata and Mayor Ford’s brother Doug. With backing like that, you can be sure the motion will pass handily and that in this election year, the Provincial Liberals will be torn between stonewalling and keeping the Ford boys happy.
You have to hand it to the Clean Train Coalition for keeping this issue alive and getting representatives at all levels actively involved.