06.07.2012 06:34 AM

Is Rob Ford useless? (updated)

Is Rob Ford useless? Does he everything he touches turn bad?

(By the way, unless a store returns to recyclable paper bags, I won’t be shopping there. I don’t carry containers around with me, as a general rule, and this is going to be a pain in the ass for lots of people.)

Thanks, Rob Ford. You are totally, completely useless.

UPDATE: Rob Ford says it’s your fault. Quote: “It’s the people’s fault.”


  1. JamesHalifax says:


    How do such balls-ups occur?

    Well, at least the “greenies” will be happy.

    • Brent Sienna says:

      You forget this is Toronto City Council – they couldn’t manage a sidewalk lemonade stand without mucking it up.

  2. Jordyn m says:

    If Fort McMurrayites can deal with a plastic bag ban, Torontonians can too.

    I’m glad Toronto has finally decided to join my home town in banning plastic bags — as conservative David Shiner, whose motion was passed said, plastic bags ARE “junk.”

    • Dan says:

      That’s really interesting and reflects well on the town. I’d be interested to know how much that reduces Fort McMurray’s carbon footprint. If it’s anything significant, it does take some sting out of the oil sands.

  3. AP says:

    No warning, no public consultation, perfunctory debate.

    The same people who rightly rail against Stephen Harper’s government for cramming legislation down our throats without any meaningful public consultation and debate are today praising council’s leadership. Sad day for democracy in Toronto.

    • Nic Coivert says:

      Not at all. This is democracy in action. Nice that central control was thwarted. Toronto City Council is more democratic than Federal Parliament, by a wide margin.

      • AP says:

        When Ford wanted to cut services left right and centre there were public meetings where people spoke until all hours of the morning. Yesterday a member of council stands up and says he wants to ban plastic bags and council votes within hours. No public consultation, no study no anything. This you call democracy in action? You cannot be serious. Just because you like the by-law does not mean that you throw away democratic process. Yesterday was an example of how hard core conservatives and hard core leftists are essentially the same. They are autocrats who routinely lecture citizens about what is right and pay lip service to democracy and the rule of law.

        • Nic Coivert says:

          Yes, democracy in action, they voted, they acted, democratically. The right loves to complain that democracy is slow, and it usually is, this time it was swift, but it was no less democratic. And it was Ford brought it on by the way, he behaves disrespectfully towards council and those with opinions different than his own. A mayor that had the respect of council would not have been thus slapped.

          • AP says:

            Democracy is not just what happens in council meetings. It is possible to support the elimination of plastic bags and still be disgusted with what went down at City Hall last night.

    • Weston75 says:

      This was actually debated quite extensively. Also there are plenty of other case studies to choose from to know this is a good thing. This was not a off the cuff decision. I’m more disappointed in the progressives that are crying about this. It’s not difficult to understand why this is a good thing. Choosing to be woefully ignorant because you want the luxury of using a single use plastic bag when you forget your reusable is plain stupid.

      • AP says:

        When was it debated extensively? How many hours? When were the public consultations? When was the motion originally tabled? Where was this in the news? You’re conflating “I like the idea” with “no need to debate this.”

        • Weston75 says:

          How many hours? You think this needs to be debated for hours?

        • Ted B says:

          I do agree with you that this was an awful process as well as dumb decision and one that will cost taxpayers and ultimately do little for the environment, but it was debated fairly extensively both last night and when it was proposed and defeated by this same council not too long ago.

          Not every decision by council can or should be given full public hearings.

          What I don’t like about this, really really don’t like is not the lack of public consultation but the lack of public notice of such a vot coupled with the lack of any impact study so citizens can get engaged if we chose to.

          Having said that, there is nothing stopping anyone from lobbying councilors to have a third vote on this.

  4. Kristin says:

    The Halifax Regional Municipality recycles all those plastic bags along with all plastic containers. I think we have one of the best recycling systems in the country. Please check out http://www.halifax.ca/wrms/recycling.html

  5. Joey Rapaport says:

    & he’s phat…

  6. Kre8tv says:

    All part of a long painful lesson of what you get when you treat public policy issues in isolation based on how you feel rather than on the facts.

  7. Paul says:

    This sucks. I’m a single guy living in downtown Toronto. I don’t drive, and rarely do I “plan” to go grocery shopping. Usually I just pop into the store on my walk home from work, or when I’m out for a walk on the weekend. In neither of these cases do I happen to have a reusable cloth bag to pull out of my ass. My work backpack holds a laptop, lunch and not much more (not that I’d want to put eggs, raw chicken or beef in there with my employer’s $2000 laptop anyway….)

    Also, paper bags are useless for those of us without vehicles. Try walking any distance at all with more than say, one such bag full of groceries. When the LCBO went to paper bags I had a load of mixed tallboys of beer crash to the sidewalk halfway home when I got caught in the rain and the paper bag got soaked through. I’m lucky it wasn’t bottles I guess, but still the rest of the walk was a wet, miserable, awkward mess trying to cradle six loose beer cans in my arms.

    • Warren says:

      Ditto. Single guy with dog, and I don’t move around town with a shopping cart 24/7. This is so thoughtless.

      • Ted H says:

        There are some nice bags made of nylon or polyester or some such thin but sturdy material that open up larger than a typical plastic shopping bag but yet fold up into a bundle smaller than a sandwich. One should easily fit into a corner of a backpack, a jacket pocket or a cargo pants leg pocket. Leave it there until you need it, it won’t be in your way. If you have a problem with polyester, get cotton but they take up more room when folded.

        This is the new normal, get used to it. Backpacks were not common a decade ago, now everyone has one, especially in cities where public transportation is the norm. How much more effort does it take to carry a folding bag. Plastic bags are junk, they are ugly, they are everywhere and there better things to do with the petro-chemicals they are made from.

        • Weston75 says:

          I have two of these bags that bunch up into a little ball. They take up very little space. There’s no real legitimate excuse to need plastic bags from retail stores. If you forget a bag when leaving work or whatever buy a new one for a dollar (they are cheap) and blame yourself for not being proactive enough to remember a bag next time. Also a lot of companies are giving these things away as swag. In fact if you go to Bulk Mart they give them away for free for promotion sometimes. It’s fascinating to watch people cry over this privilege that does more harm than good. What next Warren? Will you demand cheaper gasoline?

      • Nic Coivert says:

        A doggy bag perhaps?

        Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • Mulletaur says:

      Buy a granny cart for about $25. I’ve been using one for ages, looks a bit silly but works a treat.

    • william smith says:

      simple, buy cloth bags or Warren, you attend enough seminars that give the bloody things away you probably have more than one tucked away carry it next time you go to the store – leave it in the car – it is very simple you just have to think about what you are going to do.

  8. Mr. Murdoch esq. says:

    Hmmmm. Guess we will be carrying our dogshit around with us in our bare hands.

    Thanks Rob you’r a hell of a guy.

    • smelter rat says:

      You can always buy poop and scoop bags. They’re cheap.

    • Ted H says:

      Did you ever see the Seinfeld episode where he talked about aliens watching Earth through telescopes? They determined that dogs were the dominant species (at least in North America) and humans were the subservient species because they followed the dogs around and picked up their shit. Maybe it’s just me, I have this thing about people having to deal with dog shit, it just isn’t right. This is a possible use for all of those wine bottle corks that would otherwise go in the trash. Remove the cork when you get back from the walk, stick the dog over the toilet.

    • Reality.Bites says:

      What size is your dog that you need SHOPPING BAGS????

  9. Tiger says:

    If you’re going to blame people for this, how about blaming the people on City Council who actually voted for the ban?

    • Tiger says:

      Re the update — shockingly bad politics on Ford’s part.

      I know what he meant; I see how it’s being spun.

      What he should have said (and actually meant) is: “It’s Council’s fault. And they’re going to keep on ramming through measures like this until we can mobilize the common sense ideas of the people of Toronto. And so I’m going to ask you all to talk to your friends, and talk to your City Councillor, until such time that they understand that they have to repeal this, or be fired at the next election.”

      • Michael says:

        We already had a Common Sense Revolution in Ontario. Didn’t work out so good.

        The problem with this mythical common sense is that it offers up simplistic solutions to complex problems. Usually by people who can’t be bothered or don’t have the wherewithal to understand the complexities of the problem.

        • Tiger says:

          Here’s a dose of common sense: banning plastic bags inconveniences people who haven’t got their lives arranged the way you do.

        • fred says:

          Or they hide it and sweep it under the rug like FlimFlam did with the Ontario debt.

  10. Richard says:

    At the closest Superstore to me here in Halifax, they have been “bagless” for about the last 5 years. We have the big reusable vinyl bags that we bring with us for our planned trips. There are the odd times where we’ve done an unscheduled run and we either buy accordingly (small number of items) or we spring the extra buck for another big reusable bag. It was a pain at first adapting to it, but it’s just part of the experience now. The only major pain in the ass is those times where the person in front of you in line takes absolutely no initiative to pack their bags while the cashier runs through the order.

  11. JamesHalifax says:

    Not just dog shit…….

    Plastic bags are also useful for other purposes. I use them to wrap my little guys soiled diapers in until garbage day.

    Glad the ban doesn’t apply to my area. (yet)

    • Ted H says:

      I have a little pack of grand kids, three of them still in diapers and they come over often so we have the exact same disposal issue that you have. However, I don’t like plastic shopping bags and I am glad to see the end of them. I will gladly buy a box of those white plastic kitchen bags once in a while to put the diapers in. By the way, all of those disposable diapers that everyone seems to use nowadays, that is a whole other issue isn’t it. There must be billions put in the trash every day worldwide, that’s a lot of paper.

      • JamesHalifax says:

        The kitchen bags are a good idea, however, the shopping bags were essentially free, as we had them on hand in any event.

        I wonder how many Toronto folks with babies will be cursing.

    • Michael says:

      You should be using cloth. 😀

  12. Michael S says:

    According to The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, Rob Ford is far worse than useless…


  13. bluegreenblogger says:

    The inconvenience of carrying re-usable bags will pass pretty quickly. I am proverbial cheapskate, and rather than pay, I keep a couple of folded up shopping bags in the glove compartment and by the front door. One potentially severe un-intended consequence will be with all those bags of green bin waste. I still buy some plastic bags, (about 7 per week) because they fit neatly into the counter-top organic waste collectors, then I tie up the bags and take them down 2 flights of stairs to the garage every time they are full. I credit that little countertop container with eliminating about 75% of our household waste that used to go into the garbage. I wonder how many thousands of people will stop using them, and simply toss food waste into the garbage bin instead of having leaky smelly crap oozing onto the kitchen counter? Probably a whole lot of tonnage when my experience is extrapolated over 2.5 million people. That will cost the city more than a few millions…. Still Ford has done his bit by creating a toxic and bitter environment at Council. It should not surprise that he gets kicked in the ‘shins’ every time he opens his mouth, but this particular council blunder will need a re-think sooner than later. Either that, or that rinky dink little firm that makes plastic like bags out of corn starch will be counting their millions, and blessing Rob Ford and Toronto city council.

  14. Michael says:

    Interesting the different quotes in the Star and in the Globe

    The Star:

    “I think we’re gonna get sued. I don’t see how we’re gonna win that. It’s gonna be very difficult. It’s not a smart move by council to ban plastic bags. I don’t think it’s gonna hold up,” Ford said.

    The Globe:

    “I don’t think it is going to hold up in court. You can’t tell people they can’t give out plastic bags. To me it’s ludicrous”

  15. Tim Sullivan says:

    Now how are the people of Toronto going to carry all the gravy?

  16. GuyC says:

    So the progressives want me to put my plastic bags of milk .plastic bottles of pop,plastic cartons of eggs,plastic covered blocks of cheese,plastic bags of vegetables,plastic covered microwavable bags of various foodstuffs and other assorted goodies wrapped in plastic into paper bags?
    Will the tree huggers be far behind demanding an alternative?
    Not since Walter Brooke whispered “plastics” into Dustin Hoffman’s ear has this much attention been paid to such a non isuue.

    • smelter rat says:

      This is absolutely not a ‘non-issue”. Take a look around next time you’re out for a stroll. There are plastic bags everywhere…on the ground, in trees, in lakes and streams. Humans are their own worst enemy. Time to pay the piper.

      • Nic Coivert says:

        I recall a trip to the dump 5 years ago and it was horrific. They had constructed a massive moveable wire-grate fence, 200 feet long and 25 feet high that they put on the downwind side of the dump and its only purpose was to try and catch the plastic bags that the wind was picking up and blowing across the countryside. They have since been able to do without it, since the 5 cent rule came into effect, but there are still billions of these one use things being produced.

  17. Brendan says:

    I’m against this plastic bag ban. However, I could change my mind if they allowed biodegradable plastic bags but council banned those as well. As long as they also ban biodegradable plastic bags I am against the ban. There was not enough consultation on this before they passed it out of nowhere. It was wrong to pass it out of nowhere. Very very wrong. And believe me, a few hours of debate on it is not enough. I am certainly not a Rob Ford supporter but Ford should work to get this ban overturned as quickly as possible.

    • bluegreenblogger says:

      The only sure way to ensure this stands forever is for hizonner to work to get it overturned. In case you missed the point of this post, the only reason it happened in the first place was because Ford tried to score some points and repeal the bag tax. He is now, officially a spent force. When a Politician becomes a laughingstock, it is time to hang up the gloves. I think that Ford shall try to regain some credibility in the Federal by-election in Etobicoke Centre, but that will blow up in his face, he will be exposed to further ridicule and he will be dead in the water. I expect it will be quite pitiful to watch. Expect some painfully awkward moments. I am seeing again and again the words ‘Fordian Slip’……

  18. kenn2 says:

    I can take or leave the bag ban. We’re still using up our horde of plastic garbage bags for the biodegradable trash, cos we understand that in that processing they successfully recover the plastic. We already do the weekly shop with reusables, anyway.

    But no-one mentioned the really big stupid: dropping the nickel charge now! What will people’s behaviour be, between now and the start of the ban (if it remains)?

    Since we’re on the topic of groceries, have you noticed how supermarkets are now packaging up the fresh produce? Can’t cherry pick the items anymore. They’re basically passing spoilage onto the consumer. In plastic, duh.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I absolutely refuse to buy veggies that way–and don’t get me started on pre-made salads (salmonella and e-coli anyone?)

      We have a farmer’s market in my city and there’s also a fresh produce shop just a ten-minute walk from where I live, across from my Superstore. I’ll go there to grab a couple apples for a snack (they let me use their sink to rinse them off), but I end up buying more than that every time.

      I handpick everything, including potatoes. Takes more time, but it’s worth it.

      (oh, a useful tip: if you have enough room in your fridge, keep your spuds in a clean, well-rinsed, not-softened cotton pillowcase in that fridge. They keep three times as long and the eyes won’t grow out).

  19. Bil Huk says:

    just so stupid.

    i was using cheap, thin plastic bags from retailers because they were basicall free. Not for my groceries, reusable bags were and are far superior.

    But I still need plastic bags for garbage liners, shit filled diapers, vomit catchers (and luggage when my wife isn’t around).

    Now i’m going to go to a store that will be retailing plastic bags, because instantly a market for these things was created as of yesterday. And i’ll buy nice, big, thick, environmentally unfriendly bags because i’ve been forced to.

    way to think that one all the way through Toronto.

    • Philip says:

      So, bottom line, you are simply can’t be bothered to pay for the things you consume. You would rather take the free lunch now and pay the costs forward. A Conservative, I presume?

  20. Torgo says:

    I’m sorry for those who find this inconvenient, but I lump this issue in with the incandescent light bulb and the numerous complaints from people about their phase-out. If we’re unwilling to make small changes and compromises in our own daily lives to deal with environmental issues, I have no idea how we’re going to do the real massive and societal work that needs to be done either to drive down our carbon emissions or to come up with technological fixes to deal with the effects of climate change.

    • smelter rat says:


    • Tim Sullivan says:

      The problem is they are small changes. Incandescent lights serve a purpose AND those very dim new lights can be used too. How long do I have to wait in a hall way to get the dim bulb light enough to walk through the hallway?

      Plastic bags are more hygienic that reusable, especially when packing pork or chicken with non-cooked items like loose vegies and fruit.

      Moderation. I have big boxes I always forget in the car. I need bags for garbage pails and dog poop. The new bags at the YIGs are bigger than the old but they pack ’em like the old (few things), and charge me .05. It is a nuisance charge when I’m spending $100.00 on some basic things.

      Things change, and not for the better all the time. I used to get free banking services for the privilege of lending the bank money to lend out. Now I pay over $30 in banking fees per month. I was even once charged for depositing cash! Watch a client flip when I charge for photocopies.

      I’m all for some savings, paying for what I get. But seriously, let’s be rational instead of all this all of nothing policy making. Someone is not wanting to make a decision.

      • MCBellecourt says:

        The problem with those flourescent bulbs is the mercury they contain, and they also trigger migraines in many people (me being one of them). As for halogen? I have photochromatic (self-tinting) lenses on my eyeglasses and they don’t even go all-the-way lightened when I step into a room lit with them.

        I recoil in horror when I see babies in their prams/strollers with their eyes facing upwards toward those lights in a mall or government building, with nothing shielding their tiny eyes from the potential damage these lights can do.

        And being legally blind is no fun. Trust me on that one.

  21. Bill From Willowdale says:

    Political tactics and strategy — Rob Ford has a grasp of neither. I think you’d have to go back to Joe Clark to find an elected politician who had such a reverse Midas Touch. If Ford didn’t have a chance of winning the plastic bag vote, he shouldn’t brought it to council. Not only that, it was his Executive Committee member David Shiner that suggested the anti-bag amendment. Such an offence should get you booted from Team Ford. What a mess!

  22. Philip says:

    It’s called capitalism folks. If you want to use plastic bags for shopping, picking up after your dog or even dirty diapers then buy them, just like you everything else you consume. Plastic bags have a cost attached to them, the cost to make them, to transport them and a cost to dispose of them. Everyone got a free ride because retailers ate the cost of the plastic bags, now in Toronto, the free ride is over. I’m at a loss as to why the usual suspects aren’t thrilled about the workings of their favorite hobby horse.

    So let’s see just what all the drama is about.
    Doggie Bag:
    $5.99 for 90 bags of Nature’s Miracle Advanced Pick Up bags from PetSmart. 6 cents per bag, $36.00 per year. Just an extra $3.60 a year, if you were already paying the 5 cents per bag in Toronto. If you are on a budget and don’t have a big dog, you might want to try No Name Sandwich Bags at $2.29 per 100. Or 2 cents per bag. I’m sorry, if you can’t afford either the $36.00 or $3.60 more per year, then you really shouldn’t own a dog.

    • Bil Huk says:

      jesus, look ‘capitalism’ up if you don’t know what it is.

      it’s certainly not telling retailers they’re forbidden under penalty of fines from selling customers plastic bags to carry their stuff. on what planet is that capitalism that capitalists should be excited about?

      • Philip says:

        Easy there, Turbo. If you want an item you buy an item. As a consumer you can choose to pay the price of a particular retailer or you can go elsewhere or do without that item. Manufacturers will either make the item, change the features of the item or stop making the item due to consumer demand. Retailers will allow the market to set the prices at which they can sell the most items at the most profit. This works for cars and plastic bags equally. It’s pretty simple.

        • Bil Huk says:

          this is the point, i can’t buy the item now, not at any price, irrespective of demand. there are not supply and demand factors in play. offering a plastic bag is a finable offense as of Jan 2013.

          at least triple the 5 cents on the bag to 15, but still offer it for people that prefer it.

          to prohibit someone from getting a plastic bag when they buy something altogether, at any price, is silly.

          • Philip says:

            Are you seriously trying to tell me that a consumer cannot by plastic shopping bags? Seriously?

            Staples does sell white plastic shopping bags (with the handles) in a box of 250 for $23.99. Slightly under 10 cents a bag. So the product you claimed doesn’t exist, actually does and at a price signigantly less than your suggested bag fee. To sum it all up: a manufacturer does make the item, a retailer does sell the item to consumers, at a price they deem profitable and you have a choice whether or not to buy the item. Capitalism.

        • BIl Huk says:

          after reading your idea of capitalism, i’ve got a solution that will make all the progressives happy with regards to the environmental impact of the oilsands.

          my idea is to apply a tax to any oilsands production that is shipped directly to the middle east for consumption.

          its a tax on hydrocarbon production which is exactly what progressives have been calling for. Awesome, huh?.

          • Philip says:

            It’s OK to just admit you were wrong Bil, without trying to get snarky about it. If you still want to use white plastic shopping bags in Toronto, you are still able to do so. You are just going have to spend actual money, instead of getting them for free. You want to play, you have to pay. That’s capitalism, Bil, I’m not sure why you have a problem with that?

  23. MCBellecourt says:

    Capitalism was already at play with the 5-cent fee, though. Ah, well…

    If nothing else, this story was good for a few laughs. Hizonner is quite the source of amusement.

  24. frmr disgruntled Con now Happy Lib says:

    For half of my life I only knew paper bags……and as recall we made out just fine with them……yes occassionally soaked bags, and leaky garbage, but for the most part they worked well….I applaud Toronto for banning plastic, and I hope Vancouver(which aims to be the “greenest” city in the world) gets with the program soon…..

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