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An Anti-Cycling Mayor Rob Ford does not a Council make

On October 25th, we the people of the City of Toronto elected a new Mayor and a new City Council. Much has been said here, and at BikingToronto generally, about Mayor Elect Rob Ford’s position on bicycling infrastructure.

While the Office of the Mayor has a lot of power, the real power, to set the agenda and plan the cities long term financial strategy, and thus effectively fund programs voted into law, lies in the Executive Committee.

Officially, the new Mayor takes over the Mayors Office on Dec. 1 and the first meeting of the new Toronto city council is Dec. 7. In that first week the council as a whole will elect the Chairs for all the Standing Committees, they automatically get a seat on the Executive Committee as well. Four ‘councilors at large’ then will also be elected to the Executive Committee. After that process is complete we’ll have a much better idea of which direction this council is heading.

Will the new Executive Committee represent the reactionary, knee jerk corporate agenda of the Mayor elect? An agenda that promises to cut social infrastructure and services, one that panders to the angry at the expense of the weak? Or will the next 4 years bring non-stop bickering between a progressive Executive Committee and an intransigent Mayors Office that will throw up every obstacle it can muster to block new services and programs?

It is this writers opinion, (after watching and writing about the neo-cons for 20 years), that if they cannot pursue their agenda (which is to dismantle the liberal democratic state – for personal and private gain), the neo-cons will create as much political anarchy as they can – which will then cause a populist revolt against incumbents, that they will then exploit to win more sets in the next election. The over all strategy is to reduce government power in favour of corporate power, and this was made very evident on election night when the first words out of Fords face, after he knew he had won, weren’t the catch phrases he repeated consistently through the election run, but a brand new one, one very familiar to me:

“Toronto is now open for business, ladies and gentlemen!”

(The Globe and Mail 10 25 2010)

Below is the text of the City of Toronto page that describes the powers and composition of the Executive Committee pre-October election.  Below that, with a table, I try to illuminate which way this council might swing.

In December, when the new Executive Committees membership page is published, I’ll compare the composition of the Executive Committee then and now; and see what we see.

The Executive Committee’s mandate is to monitor and make recommendations on the priorities, plans, international and intergovernmental relations, and the financial integrity of the City.

The responsibilities of the Executive Committee include:

1. To make recommendations on:
1. Council’s strategic policy and priorities in setting the agenda;
2. Governance policy and structure;
3. Financial planning and budgeting;
4. Fiscal policy including revenue and tax policies;
5. Intergovernmental and international relations;
6. Council and its operations; and
7. Human resources and labour relations.

2. To make recommendations or refer to another committee any matter not within the Standing Committee’s mandate or that relates to more than one Standing Committee.


The Mayor
The Deputy Mayor
The Chairs of all Standing Committees
Four members at-large who are members of Council, are appointed by Council and cannot be the Chair of the Toronto Transit Commission or the Police Services Board.


* Mayor David Miller, Chair
* Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, Vice Chair
* Shelley Carroll
* Janet Davis
* Glenn De Baeremaeker
* Paula Fletcher

* Norm Kelly
* Giorgio Mammoliti
* Pam McConnell
* Joe Mihevc
* Howard Moscoe
* Kyle Rae

Did not Run                In coming                        Ward
Rob Ford                   Doug Ford                        (Ward 2)
Adam Giambrone             Ana Bailao                       (Ward 18)
Howard Moscoe              Josh Colle                       (Ward 15)
Case Ootes                 Mary Fragedakis                  (Ward 29)
Joe Pantalone              Mike Layton                      (Ward 19)
Kyle Rae                   Kristyn Wong-Tam                 (Ward 27)
Michael Walker             Josh Matlow                      (Ward 22)

Incumbent defeated         Elected                          Ward
Sandra Bussin              Mary-Margaret McMahon            (Ward 32)
Suzan Hall                 Crisanti Vincent                 (Ward 1)
Adrian Heaps               Berardinetti Michelle            (Ward 35)
Cliff Jenkins              Robinson Jaye                    (Ward 25)
Bill Saundercook           Sarah Doucette                   (Ward 13)

Changing Colours

So starting from the top:

  • 1 went left to centre
  • 1 went from right to left
  • 1 ward went independent to centre
  • 1 ward went from centre to green-independent
  • 2 wards went from centre to right

It should be noted that Berardinetti Michelle used the Phamacey Bike Lane as an icon for everything that was wrong with the old city council, and won.


If I missed a change (and I know I did),  or you’re one of the people in the table and you disagree with your colour,  please let me know and I’ll adjust it.


Related Posts at BikingToronto

CYCLOPS Biking Toronto Blog: Say what you will about Rob Ford . . .

CYCLOPS Blog posted a small collection of art pieces to help us all deal with the election of Rob Ford as Mayor of the City of Toronto. One was a song video by Youtube user natalieboustead, of The About Face Collective entilted, “Rob Ford Won but it’s O.K Because….“.

One of the stanzas says what I just said, again, above…


and Remember
Rob Ford Won, but it’s O.K
at worst we’ll have
a stalemate council for 4 years until someone
comes along who has their shit together
and makes a facebook group and does some serious tweeting
and in 4 years we’ll have a progressive city council
and a progressive mayor
and everything will be amazing
we’ll elect a unicorn
and be covered in sparkles all the time


Update November 17th 2010

Today I meet Councillor elect Mary-Margarete McMahon and talked to her amoung other things, the colours I assigned her in the table above, she preferred green-independant; so the colours have changed. Read the whole interview: Toronto cyclists win strong Cycling Advocate in Mary-Margaret McMahon, councilor elect, ward 32 Beaches


Posted: November 7th, 2010
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