In defence of his embattled brother, Councillor Doug Ford has trotted out the claim again that their administration has saved the city $1 billion. It’s of a piece with the mantra from Mayor Rob Ford that he should be allowed to “move on” with his work of saving taxpayers money.
Here lies the danger in the highly entertaining focus on the mayor’s personal foibles.
For as bad as lies about drug use, alcoholism, association with gangsters and possibly sexual impropriety may be, worse for the city in the long term are misrepresentations about the supposed achievements of the Fordites.
The billion-dollar claim has already been debunked as some kind of new bookkeeping in which both spending hikes and spending cuts are counted as savings.
Taxes are in fact slated to go up, albeit moderately, and the costs the city is taking on with the subway plan ensures pressure on taxes for years, if not decades, to come. As for contributions from other levels of government — where do you think those funds ultimately come from?
And for all this, Ford did not succeed in bringing subways to the suburbs. We’re getting one short line that extends only slightly further than previously covered by rapid transit. It will take years to build and eventually add to the already seriously overloaded downtown lines.
Nor has Rob Ford found any gravy train to stop, although he still implies that’s the work he’s doing.
We need to be clear on the full extent of Rob Ford’s failures to prevent both him and his policies from returning.