I suppose that few people are in danger of suggesting that Rob Ford is the sharpest knife in the drawer, which makes it all the more unfortunate that he's swinging around an axe like leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The target for Ford is, of course, city services. The pretext is the city's budget deficit, itself the product of downloading of services without the concurrent power to raise sufficient taxes by Ford's buddies in the Tory party during the 1990s, Mike Harris years.
Well, our blustery, reality-challenged mayor was on the radio shooting off his mouth about how much "gravy" needs to be cut from the city's labour costs. The first thing that has to be said is that Rob Ford is a fucking liar - going on that 80% of the city budget is taken up by labour costs when its just over half that amount. Then, using that figure to talk about how there's a "lot of gravy" to be cut - when he is a walking gravy boat. And, no, I'm not talking about his weight issues. He and his brother are millionaires and hardly in a position to lecture anyone about their lifestyle. But it's also just stupid to suggest that labour costs are four times too high. Is he really suggesting cutting the city's labour budget by 80%? Does he have the first inkling of the effect that such an assault would have upon not only such "communist" services like public parks and daycare subsidies - but also services required by his beloved business sector?
And his brother is no better, gassing on every chance he gets about outsourcing all of our shit - that we paid for with taxes and sweat over generations. Things like the public library system; the best and most heavily used one in the world, no doubt contributing to our low rate of illiteracy. If these guys have their way most of us will be living in a gray city of dead trees and overstressed parents who have nowhere free to take their kids on the weekend - while a minority of rich pricks like the Ford brothers will sit on their asses up at their cottages or swimming in their backyard pools.
So far there has been next to public resistance to the cuts - other than one demonstration of 10,000 back in the spring. But the library union has at least put up an online petition that you can find here. Go, sign it, send it on. I'm also told by a friend and comrade who works for the library and is actively involved in the campaign to defend it that there's a full-blown campaign taking shape.
Yep - info pickets outside TRL (Toronto Reference Library) and NYCL (North York Central Library) every week from next on through the fall, a series of Youtube video spots, a Read-In at Dundas sq., buttons to be worn by staff and handed out at point-of-service (in the fall, once we are in active bargaining), plus posters for the neighborhoods, a booth at Word on the Street, and we'll see what else comes out over the coming weeks
Here's hoping that this is the beginning of something very big. Ford is widely despised and the public sector is heavily unionized. It's time to rouse our sleepy heads and put a stop to this lying, vicious jackass.
Toronto Mayor Ford talks layoffs, suggests labour costs are 4 times too high - The Globe and Mail