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“Kinsella puts the Left on the right track with new book!”

- Calgary Herald


Ford follies, a continuing series: the politics of it

Rob Ford wins his appeal, so my earlier prediction was wrong.

But the Divisional Court is wrong, too.

By accepting the notion that a politician can set up a private fundraising vehicle – and direct lobbyists to donate to it, and control how it spends money – the judges have created the opening the Right wing have been lusting after for years: US-style PACs to get around spending limits. Political slush funds, now cheerfully sanctioned by the Divisional Court.

If the Right does it (and they will), then we progressives will have no choice but to do likewise. PACs will be everywhere.

The significance of today’s decision isn’t simply that a bumbling boor remains in office. Its broader significance is that one of the rules of democracy has been changed.

And in a way that none of us want.



48 Responses to “Ford follies, a continuing series: the politics of it”

  1. Peter says:

    Everybody take a valium. There is little precedent value here. The decision reflects the widely held view that this simply wasn’t serious or nefarious enough to warrant removing the elected leader of Canada’s largest city under an old statute that was obviously written with small town mayors and councillors dipping into the kitty to fund their home improvements in mind. Sorry, progressives, you’ll just have to get rid of him the old-fashioned way.

    The Court showed its disapproval by backing all the original findings of the judge about the seriousness of his actions and reactions and then ruled sensibly on a narrow legal point relating to the money and what it was and was not for. If you think the courts have tied their hands about multi-million dollar PACS because of a ruling on a couple of thousand dollars for amateur football, you are underestimating the creativity of Canadian courts.

    • Ted B says:

      On the contrary.

      The court upheld all of the lower court decision and even expressly rejected Ford’s defence that it was an “insignificant” amount. They went out of their way to approve of Hackland’s decision and affirm his interpretation of the statute.

      What they decided though was that Council did not have the authority to assess a fine, and so anything that happened as a result and in relation to that fine was moot, didn’t matter.

      Ford was saved from his own idiocy and law-breaking only by the mistakes of Council.

      • Ted B says:

        Sorry. Correction.

        The court affirmed Hackland’s interpretation of the statute and the facts.

        Including that Ford is a dolt, didn’t care that he was breaking the law and didn’t care about rules, laws, conflicts of interest and codes of conduct. That he acted with an arrogant sense of entitlement too.

    • Tim says:

      Right. Everyone go back to sleep. If this was a singular occurrence I’d grant you your point. But I’m going to say that the “creativity” of this particular court is a real problem given the history of the accused and the types he runs with. It seems to me that this is a foot in the door precedent and I hope Clayton Ruby is planning an appeal.

  2. Michael says:

    In a sense, PACs already exist: Working Families Coalition, Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, etc. Supposedly they’re ‘civil society groups’ but it sure does feel like they exist to shill for specific parties.

  3. George says:

    When will SFH be holding the benefit concert to assist Mr magder to pay the costs order?b

  4. Ted B says:

    Warren:

    The court decision is a pretty good one in law.

    They were not asked and so could not rule on the underlying question of Ford’s unethical breach of City Hall code of conduct.

    They only ruled on what Council was allowed to do as a result of Ford’s breach. Council does not have the authority to award a fine for corruption and the court cannot legislate a solution. So the problem is not with the court but with the law: it has no teeth.

    The court did confirm that Hackland was correct on the facts and the law, including the ruling about his arrogance and deliberate ignorance of the law and his breaking of the law. It’s just that by screwing up in assessing a fine it did not have the authority to assess, Council made Ford’s subsequent illegal conduct moot.

  5. Bloody Bounder says:

    I wonder if Clayton Ruby will have a better chance of getting the Supreme Court of Canada
    to hear an appeal considering it could be argued that today’s decision arguably opens the
    door to US-style PACS, as Warren correctly notes?.

    • Ed Frink says:

      This.

      Right wingers like Rob Ford should not be allowed to become mayor of Toronto. Especially when they get in when the progressive vote is split.

      The court decision today is a sad day for democracy.

      • Paul says:

        Yeah, those pesky voters just don’t know what’s best for them and can’t be trusted. Maybe we could even abolish elections altogether and just let Ed Frink appoint the next mayor.

      • Ted B says:

        I really don’t like Ford, but how is it a sad day for democracy?

        The court said council doesn’t have the legal power to fine Ford and so his actions in defending himself don’t really matter.

        It doesn’t have anything to do with the highly unethical act of getting lobbyists to pay his charity.

      • Jon Adams says:

        “Right wingers like Rob Ford should not be allowed to become mayor of Toronto.”

        WHOA. Let’s not start saying what kind of people we can’t and can have here.

      • Torgo says:

        Ah, I think what you’re saying here is actually the opposite of democracy.

        I have no love for Ford, but this wasn’t the way to drive him from office – vote the buffoon out instead. At the same time, Ford brought this on himself and the people of Toronto by fighting this pointlessly and not admitting a mistake.

      • Bloody Bounder says:

        Well said, Mr Frink. Ignore the idiots who are attacking your message.

        I agree that Rob Ford should not have been allowed to run for elected office,
        and that is not as anti-democratic as these people attacking you may actually
        think. In many European countries, there exists constitutional courts, which
        can and do, ban individuals and political parties from contesting elections, if
        they have previously uttered racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and/or
        Islamophobic statements. Germany is a prime example of this president.

        You know the more I visit this web site, the more I can’t get over how the
        vast majority of the people who post here, Liberals included, as such a
        bunch of Canadian born and bred, unilingual, unhyphenated, monocultural,
        suburban, propertied, mangiacakes. So many people who post here know
        so little about the political, economic, and legal system of other countries
        and are such quintessential toque wearing Canucks its unreal. So many
        Bob & Doug MacKenzie cakers on here!.

        Someone like Rob Ford, who has a criminal record for assault and DUI,
        coupled with his past bigoted statements, would have had his election
        campaign hopes dashed by so much European human rights legislative
        red tape that his great-grandchildren would need lawyers!.

        Listen up, posters on here, most of the rest of the world does not
        function like it does in North America.

      • mauser98 says:

        God Bless Rob Ford and Mike Harris

    • smelter rat says:

      Given the SCOC’s decision today on Quebec’s clearly discriminatory common law marriage rules, I wouldn’t get too hopeful that they’ll even hear an appeal.

  6. Bloody Bounder says:

    It is notable that none of the three judges who rendered the verdict today
    were visible minorities and/or Aboriginals. All three would appear to be of
    British Isles origin. Most unreflective of Ontario, and damn well unreflective
    of the City of Toronto.

    • Ted B says:

      Why is race notable in this case?

      Do you think their interpretation of the law is incorrect? And that race drove them to that incorrect interpretation?

      Or do you think that a minority would have rendered an incorrect interpretation because of their race?

      If you think no to those questions then, I would suggest, the race of the judges is actually not notable, as far as this case is concerned.

      • Bloody Bounder says:

        No, I do not believe that the race, or more specifically the ethnicity, of the three judges in question
        had any bearing on their decision at all. I am merely pointing out that the fact that all three judges
        are racially White and of ethnically Anglo-Saxon/Celtic origin is totally unreflective of Canada, Ontario
        and most importantly the City of Toronto, where Mr Ford is currently the Mayor. The City of Toronto
        is over 50% non-White and White Torontonians of Anglo-Saxon/Celtic ancestry are at best 1/3 of
        the total population, yet such people are disproportionately over represented in the courts which
        represent the City of Toronto, Toronto City Council, government workers with the City of Toronto,
        municipally owned and operated venues such as museums, theatres, ect., and on the corporate boards
        and senior management of private sector corporations but which are publicly traded such as the
        many banks, insurance companies, and other corporations found on Bay Street. Even non-WASP
        Whites such as Italian-Canadians, Greek-Canadians, Portuguese-Canadians, Spanish-Canadians,
        Russian-Canadians, Ukrainian-Canadians, ect; are poorly represented in the aforementioned
        institutions. Even the municipal symbols, seals, emblems, flags and heraldry of the City of Toronto
        absolutely reeks of Anglo-Saxon/Celtic cultural hegemony. The Scottish tartan and bagpipes used
        by the Toronto Police Service is a notable example. Sorry, but this is no longer a British city, and
        I know for a fact, from the many conversations I have had with Rob Ford’s supporters, that an anger
        and contempt for all of the racial, ethnic, culturally, lingualistic and culturally changes in the City of
        Toronto over the past few decades, at least in part motivated many of his supporters. Mayor Ford
        himself publicly said there were too many immigrant coming to Toronto and that Toronto should
        be a “refugee free zone”. While that statement may have inspired bigots amongst all races/ethnic
        groups, it is without a doubt, the Canadian born and bred, unilingual, unhyphenated, WASP living
        in Toronto to whom the message would have resonated the most.

        • Thomas Gallezot says:

          Sure! And who cares about the fact that a huge majority of new torontonians voted for Rob Ford. I don’t know who are these Ford supporters that you know but obviously they are not representative of the folks who voted for our Mayor and who are still supporting him. By the way, if the voters had all been “racially white and of ethnically anglo-saxon celtic origin” Smitherman would have won the elections. Big time!

      • Cath says:

        You’re right Ted B. and I’m guessing that the essayist Bounder can’t come up with an answer either, for the reasons you suggest.

  7. Bluegreenblogger says:

    If you want my opinion (and you wouldn’t have comment board if you didn’t in at least a general way), next weeks ruling will be far more significant to the issue of sleazy PAC fund style campaigning. I have worked on a number of different campaigns, and with different partys, and the contempt in which the Elections Finance Act is held by politicians is pretty well universal. It is worst at City level, because there have been so few prosecutions or punishments handed out, even over egregious breaches. It is kind of like election sign by-laws in Toronto. Placing signs illegally in theory leads to something like a $25 per illegal sign fine for the candidate. To avoid said fine, the candidate trots down to city hall, swears an affadvit that he was not aware of those 500 illegally placed signs, and he’s off scot free. The result is that signs go everywhere and anywhere, so long as they aren’t personally placed by the candidate. There are theoretical sanctions for breaches of spending limits, but every iteration of the Act opens loopholes and grey areas whilst closing something else. And the obvious elephant in the room is the lack of investigative capabilities at Elections Canada, and their seeming umwillingness to ever prosecute anybody. Michael above commented on how the National Taxpayers Federation, Working Families coalition etc are starting to function like PAC’s. PAC’s are legal though. The difference is that those organisations or their ilk are skating a fine line legally when they apy for outreach, or share their data with the Political Party they are cozy with. I suspect that when the fundraising drives certain charities are paying for are found to be undertaken by very partisan call centres, (the names of which shall remain shrouded in mystery–NOT), then it is likely that the fruits of the phone campaign might accidentally find their way into partisan databases, at no charge. That is not illegal for the political Party, since political partys can do whatever they want with data, so long as it is a ‘Political Purpose’ (Yes, the act actually says that!), for the Charity, the data was ‘purloined’ by the fundraisers, so they can plead ignorance quite readily. It is these kinds of faux regulations and laws that reward people prepared to commit illegal but hard to detect acts, and bring the electoral laws into disrepute. As far as I am concerned, this should not be a partisan issue. It should properly be the business of ALL Canadian politicians to sharpen up the various elections acts, and financing acts, and get rid of the perverse incentives to cheat, lie, and steal elections. It is no surprise that Canadians distrust all politicians, Canadians are correct when they surmise that almost every politician breaks the law to win elections. Those who don’t seldom win, and it is not the world in which I want my children to grow up.

  8. Bloody Bounder says:

    Sandra recently said on CTV that she feels the weight of history on her shoulders
    as she could very well soon be the first Premier of Ontario who is both a female
    and also NOT of British Isles origin. I believe this is yet another good reason why
    all OLP delegates should support her at the convention this weekend.

    You know my comments on this forum which strongly oppose racism, sexism,
    homophobia, misogyny, White privilege and Anglo-Saxon chauvinism are quite
    often attacked. However, I am more convinced than ever that Canada suffers
    from a disproportionate and highly malignant level of WASP influence. I look at
    Ford’s follies; the fact that all three judges in today’s verdict are of British
    Isles origin; the fact that the Harper Conservatives have renamed the CF
    as the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air force; the fact that
    the Harper Conservatives have weakened immigration, bilingualism and
    multiculturalism; the fact that the upper echelon of the Canadian judicial
    system, civil service, banking sector, corporate world, and military are
    over represented by WASPs, and many other things as well. Whiteness
    and Anglo-Saxon chauvinism needs to be demographically and electorally
    challenged. Canadians of British Isles origin are now less than 50% of
    the total Canadian population, but a great many of them act like they
    are the only true Canadians, and many of the older ones still think
    Canada should be a British Dominion.

    Also, a word to the wise, to those Italian-Canadians, Greek-Canadians,
    Portuguese-Canadians, Indo-Canadians, Chinese-Canadians, Korean-Canadians,
    Arab-Canadians, Persian-Canadians, Pakistani-Canadians, ect; you may be
    tempted to vote Conservative federally and/or provincially out of a desire
    for lower taxes, or perhaps “family values”. However, just remember that
    is the was the Trudeau Liberals with the 1967 immigration act that largely
    opened the doors to non-WASPs. Prior to that WASPs were given priority
    in immigration and British citizens could vote in all Canadian elections the
    moment they arrived here. A vote inn 2013 for any federal or provincial
    Conservative Party (with the expection of Quebec’s ADQ) is a vote for
    White privilege and above all ANGLO-SAXON CHAVUNISM and the
    entrenchment of the WASP power structures in Canada.

    • Bill says:

      Nurie, you are delusional. You might be the most racist person that comments on this site. I’m surprised Warren continues to let you post.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      Pot, meet kettle: “However, I am more convinced than ever that Canada suffers
      from a disproportionate and highly malignant level of WASP influence.” Allow me to quote the Oxford Dictionary at you:

      “Definition of racism
      noun
      [mass noun]

      the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races: theories of racism”

      There may be some validity in your arguments that skin colour, or cultural background affects social mobility. Then again, there may not, but when your world view is defined by such characteristics…….

  9. Sean says:

    Dean Del Mastro has been doing the same thing for about 6 years. First with the United Way and now with his “Hands Up” organisation. This is the same guy who is under two investigations for fund raising fraud and election spending fraud.

  10. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Weakened immigration??? Please explain. Don’t forget the part about higher immigration levels now than ever, or the part about what a bloody disgraceful gong show of abuses immigration has been for decades…until finally someone with some gonads started cleaning the mess up.

    As for the rest…

    Let me get this straight: French Quebecois are allowed their traditions and values, as are First Nations, as are pretty much whomever the hell shows up on our shores…but “WASPS” can pretty much stick theirs up their collective asses? Did I get this right? Forget 146 years of history since 1867, or another couple hundred years’ worth prior.

    This is Canada, born of British and French history, values, heritage and traditions, dating back centuries. And with a long and rich history of opening our doors to peoples…all too often fleeing oppression…from around the world. I don’t remember anything in the fine print, however, that this meant we had to give up our own “Canadian” identity. And I deeply suspect, had anyone thought doing so would garner this ultimate result of our generosity, immigration would have been handled somewhat differently over the last four decades.

    • Bloody Bounder says:

      “…what a bloody disgraceful gong show of abuses immigration has been for decades…until finally someone with some gonads started cleaning the mess up.”

      Yeah, ask the Aboriginals, the ONLY true Canadians, how they felt when your racist, genocidal, colonialist, and imperialist ancestors stole this country from them. We are in the payback phase now, White boy.
      From the 15th to 20th centuries the White Man conquered Africa, Asia and the Americas. From the late 20th century to now Africa, Asia and the Americas are conquering the lands of the White Man (through mass immigration). What does around comes around eh?. Payback is a bitch ain’t it?. :-P

  11. TimL says:

    “Malignant WASPS?”
    Sounds like a familiar commentor is back.

  12. Bloody Bounder says:

    To Al in Cranbrook and Vancoverois:

    Pierre Elliot Trudeau changed the name of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force
    to the Canadian Forces, as it was an vestige of British Imperialism, and it was unpopular in Quebec.
    The Harper Conservatives changed it back after almost 50 years, and did not state that they would
    do this in the 2011 Canadian federal election. Not all Canadians support the Monarchy, a foreign head
    of state, as our head of state. Many Liberals and even some Conservatives support a Republic.
    The vast majority of NDP and Greens support a Republic.

    I will NOT move to the USA, but instead will enjoy Canadian becoming a republic in a few short years.
    When Queen Elizabeth II passes away, the debate will reopen. There are very strong movements to
    dump Queen Elizabeth II in Australia and New Zealand. Jamaica will do so in the near future.

    Canada having the British Monarchy as our Head of State is an insult to the millions of Roman Catholics
    in this country, as it is still illegal for the British Monarch and his/her spouse to be a Roman Catholic.
    The Harper Conservative’s deceitfully re-Royalized the name of the CF, something he did not campaign
    on or put to a referendum, that coupled with breaking of the recent tradition of appointing a Governor
    General who is a female and a visible minority, in favour of going back to appointing a WHITE ANGLO
    SAXON PROTESTANT MALE is proof in my opinion of the Harper Conservative’s Anglo-Saxon chauvinism.

    You go and live in the UK if you want the German House of Windsor to be Canada’s Head of State.

    PS: The debate will soon be resolved for Canada anyway, as all polls indicate that the Scottish people
    will vote in favour of next year’s referendum on Scottish independence. I fully expect Welsh independence
    to follow shortly thereafter. The Scots, Welsh and Irish are far more left-wing and pro-European Union
    than the English who are right-wing at heart, anti-European Union and who drool over everything
    Ameri-KKK-an much like many WASPs here in Canada do. As soon as Scotland secedes, which it will,
    the British state will be finished and the “United Kingdom” which is the name of 1603 Union of the
    Crowns between England and Scotland will be put under serious scrutiny. Scotland and Wales will
    most likely become republics, and a majority of Scots and Welsh, and the vast majority of Scots and
    Welsh under the age of 30, want a republic, and despise the British Monarchy, which is really a form
    of English imperialism, which was forced upon them in Anglo-Saxon wars of conquest. When Queen
    Elizabeth II’s home state of Great Britain breaks up into an independent Scotland and Wales, with
    Ireland being reunited by default and England being made independent by default, your beloved
    “British” Monarchy will no longer have any legal or historic basis in Canada, Australia, New Zealand
    or anywhere else. Princes Charles, William and Harry will no longer be “Prince of Wales” when Wales
    is an independent republic. Prince Phillip will no longer be the “Duke of Edinburgh” when Scotland
    is an independent republic. Your beloved British Monarchy will be a rump English Monarchy, and
    a strong republican movement is also brewing in England itself. In fact, many English people are
    also sick and tired of being part of the British state with its vile and disgusting history of racism,
    slavery, colonialism, imperialism, land theft and genocide; and now wish to have an independent
    England. Also, most young English people like most young Scots and Welsh are also sick and tired
    of the German House of Windsor and the legacy of British Empire with all its evils that it represents.

    By the way, I believe I am correct in stating that Warren in an Irish-Canadian Roman Catholic
    who likewise supports a Canadian Republic.

    http://www.snp.org.uk
    http://www.plaidcymru.org
    http://www.sinnfein.ie
    http://www.sdlp.ie
    http://www.englishdemocrats.org

    • Canada Joe. says:

      Actually, it was Defence Minister Paul Hellyer under Pearson in 1968 who did that. Pierre Burton was right, 1967 was the Last Good Year.

      But at least the country is changing, for the better.

    • patrick says:

      But this means we’ll lose pages and pages and pages of Kate’s pregnancy, and, and, and, well, other really, really, really important royal doing and stuff. What will we do? WHAT WE WILL DO? Tea!

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