Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ford and the Jaws of Defeat

Just last hour, Council voted to ban shark fin soup (link to motion) in Toronto. It was overwhelmingly passed, 38-4 (vote picture via @graphicmatt), with Rob Ford, David Shiner, Doug Holyday and Giorgio Mammoliti being the dissenting councillors. 

A couple quick thoughts on it:

  • The fact that this was so overwhelming should be a bit embarrassing for Ford. It highlights the fact that for all of his populist style, his ideology remains outside of the mainstream. Even very small-government conservatives like Michael Thompson were willing to put that aside for what is a straightforward ethical issue. 

  • The claims of 'representing Chinese culture' from critics highlighted inauthentic representation. Doug Ford mentioned this during the debate, essentially arguing that he is a defender of traditional Chinese culture. Doug Ford is as much representative of Chinese culture as he and is brother are of a blue collar upbringing. It should also be noted that he and Denzil Minnan-Wong somehow made themselves absent during the vote. 

  • It's a nice small win for council's left. It's exhausting being on constant defense. As one councillor told me after the waterfront vote, preservation of the city is a less rewarding kind of fulfillment than building it.     

  • There's a small frustration in this issue too. As one staffer told me this morning, it would be nice if other issues- think community housing, selling part of Enwave and Hydro One, seniors issues- could galvanize public and council support like sharks do. This isn't to take anything away from the motion- it's good- but there's a lesson in here about telling a simple, sympathetic and powerful story to show why sacrifice for the greater moral good can enrich us all. 

  • Clearly Council needs more flying sharks. 

1 comment:

  1. of your bullet points, the penultimate is the most salient. Happy for the sharks and all, but really, fervor and standing applause for issues more indigenous, as with the Port Lands, should be where the bar is set for city council. Has the peter already gone out from the opposition. God almighty