All Hail Rob Ford, Toronto’s 64th Mayor

Toronto has elected Rob Ford with 47% of the popular vote, a sign that Torontonians are angry at overspending in city hall. Ford has campaigned on ripping out streetcars, cutting city council in half, allowing garbage collection to be bid on by private companies, and scrapping taxes on dogs, cars and home sales.

“The grassroots are going to speak out today. They are fed up with the wasteful spending and we’re going to stop the gravy train,” says Ford.

But it won’t be easy. Ford won’t be getting council support for everything. That $60 vehicle registration tax will be history, and overspending in city offices will likewise be getting the axe. His biggest strength will be contracting out things like garbage collection, street cleaning and other things that will certainly be doable.

“The people of Toronto are united around the call for change,” Ford said on the night of October 25th. Just don’t expect him to fulfill all his promises and certainly not with any great speed.

Ford also plans to hire 100 more front line police officers, including 30 just for schools; graffiti will be removed from public places; traffic signals “may” become synchronized; curbs will be colour coded so people know where it is safe to park; subways will be fast-tracked, pending provincial approval; more express buses will be added; the municipal land transfer tax will be gone by 2012; property taxes will be kept in line with inflation; and no more TTC strikes will be permitted on short notice.

Rob Ford describes himself as a “fiscal conservative and social liberal”, but the emphasis is really on fiscal conservatism in his goal to cut back on “back room deals.”

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