The Ford Nation Versus Rosedale

Or, the inner city versus suburbia.

Mayor Ford would not have become mayor of Toronto had it not been for the amalgamation of the city with surrounding municipalities in 1998. He campaigned against the urban elite – for which Rosedale, an affluent neighbourhood in the original City of Toronto, is considered a symbol – in order to persuade the inhabitants of the vast and growing suburban areas – Ford Nation – to vote for him.

The interests of suburbia and of the inner city are far from identical, both with respect to tax policies and to transportation issues. It is therefore not surprising that suburbia is more inclined to vote for rednecks than Rosedale.

The present scandal related to Ford’s drinking and drug-consuming behaviour vindicates those who voted against amalgamation in 1998.

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8 responses to “The Ford Nation Versus Rosedale

  1. An article in the NYT echoes Eric’s view:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/opinion/torontos-hot-mess.html?ref=opinion
    an excerpt: “. . . the city is divided and angry. Mr. Ford has played off its fissures perfectly. City Hall is broken — a result of a disastrous amalgamation undertaken by provincial conservatives.”

  2. Elisabeth Ecker

    There is another dangerous aspect to this story. Wages have not kept pace with the increase in productivity and have not kept up with inflation. Many seniors have lost their retirement savings or had them dramatically reduced. Therefore, many people are financially stressed and will vote for anybody who will promise them lower taxes. This is especially true for people who come from communist countries and don’t understand the concept that taxes are part of a capitalist system.

  3. Amalgamation was imposed on the city to punish Barbara Hall for supporting the public sector’s days of protest against Harris. It was calculated to make it very difficult for a downtowner to be elected mayor. So we got Lastman, and now we have Ford, who – hard to have imagined – is far worse. But Ford has stayed completely in character throughout his public career: trusts no one, holier-than-thou, considers himself above the rules that affect the masses, incapable of making deals (because he’d have to trust someone to do that), and thus completely ineffective.

    The overlap of voting districts that supported Ford and those with the lowest education was very strong. That’s not a surprise. It’s one thing to be against ‘elites’ – but it would be preferable to be against elites and smart. Hasn’t happened…

  4. Sorry – it seems to me the last comment about the present scandal “vindicating those who voted against amalgamation” has some sort of logical contradiction – what would you have said if a wonderful upright person had been elected? Would the decision to amalgamate have therefore been “vindicated”?

    • I fully admit the logical flaw. Since I live in Rosedale I naturally think that before we were amalgamated with aliens the chances for a wonderful upright person to be elected were greater. May I add that I have had second thoughts since I posted the blog. In the universe as it is unfolding, larger units are likely to be more effective than villages like Rosedale. There was a good case to be made for amalgamation, in addition to those mentioned by John G.

  5. Thank you, Eric for your response. This may not be directly related, but there are some bright and effective mayors – in Surrey, BC a huge spread out area that will soon eclipse Vancouver in population, Dianne Watts is a very effective, dynamic mayor. She is creating urban hubs along the skytrain, attracting high tech investment, while at the same uniting and giving hope and possibilities to a populace that can be working class, poor, ethnic, or new urbanites moving to Surrey. When she has finished her work there, I think she could be premier if she wants to be.