Ford says he'll have support for his agenda
Published Tuesday, October 26, 2010 9:15PM EDT
Toronto's mayor-elect Rob Ford said Tuesday that he believes he'll have the support on council to implement the agenda that voters solidly supported in the civic election.
"We've got a lot of good councillors, and I look forward to working with each and every one of them," he told reporters during a brief scrum at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School.
Ford said he wants to learn how "councillors want to contribute to the city, and learn peoples' strengths."
There will be 15 new faces on the 44-member council. Some, such as incumbents Giorgio Mammoliti and John Parker, have already pledged support for Ford's fiscally conservative agenda.
One new councillor is Doug Ford, Rob's brother, who won Rob's old Ward 2, Etobicoke North. "My brother's going to be a huge asset to the city," Rob said.
In a separate interview, Doug Ford said he would be donating his $100,000 councillor's salary back to community organizations for the next four years -- while keeping his job as president of Deco Labels and Tags, the family's business.
Rob Ford told reporters that his priority will be cutting the $60 car registration fee and after that, he'll look at chopping the land transfer tax.
He said the city will have to "tighten its belt" on efficiencies. He will work to contract out services such as garbage collection and cleaning police stations.
"There's a lot of fat down at City Hall, and there's a lot of waste … so it won't be hard to fill in the $38 million or $40 million from the vehicle registration tax," Ford said.
He anticipated a good working relationship with the city's unionized workforce. However, one of his proposals is to eliminate the city's fair wage clause, which requires contractors to pay the same wages as the city's unionized workers.
Outgoing Mayor David Miller contacted him Monday night to wish him the best after his election win, Ford said.
"I thanked him for doing a great job, and I really appreciated his phone call," he said.
As mayor, Ford will have a bully pulpit stemming from his city-wide mandate, but he only has one vote. He must convince 22 others to vote with him in order to get his agenda through.
Councillor-elect Mary-Margaret McMahon, who knocked off Ward 32 (Beaches-East York) incumbent Sandra Bussin, said she will try to work with Ford.
"I hope I can soften him a little bit on the environmental front, but I'm happy to work with anyone," she said Tuesday.
Mike Layton, son of federal NDP Leader Jack Layton, won the election in Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina) -- the ward of defeated mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone.
"I think it's going to take a lot of building bridges, maybe around specific issues," he said.
Those Ford can count as allies -- besides his brother, Parker and Mammoliti -- include:
Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston)
Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre)
Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt)
Former budget chief Shelley Carroll and Coun. Adam Vaughan will likely be leaders of any left-wing alliance that forms.
"I'm not sure that some of the cuts he's proposed in the past are going to fly with the new councillors and the old councillors who have been elected in this election," Vaughan said.
Doug Ford said he doesn't see any real trouble ahead.
"It's not going to be an issue at all. We ran through the list. We feel we're going to have up to 30 votes," he said, adding they know not every councillor will agree on every item.
Newstalk 1010 host John Tory, a one-time mayoral candidate, said Ford's success with council will depend on the issue.
"I think on the vehicle registration tax, he'll have no trouble getting everyone to go along with him," he said. "On something like streetcars, it will be tougher, because there will be a majority who say it's not the right move to make."
About 52 per cent of Toronto's eligible voters took the time to cast a ballot in the city's municipal election, setting a new record since amalgamation.
Ford was declared mayor-elect after capturing 47 per cent of the vote Monday night, according to CTV's election website. Former Ontario deputy premier George Smitherman won 35 per cent of the vote, while Toronto's outgoing deputy mayor, Joe Pantalone, won nearly 12 per cent.
At the start Ford was considered a long shot to win, but led in the polls soon after entering the race seven months ago.
In the final tally, the 41-year-old won 383,501 votes, with Smitherman taking 289,832 and Pantalone 95,482.
The intense campaign resulted in high voter turnout compared to the 2003 and 2006 municipal elections, which saw turnout of less than 40 per cent.
In his victory speech Monday evening, Ford thanked his main competitors and told supporters that he intends to stay true to his election promises.
"Four years from tonight, you'll look back and say, 'Rob Ford did exactly what he said he would do,'" he told a crowd of thousands.
The 10-year city councillor pledged to stop "the gravy train at city hall."
Standard & Poor's has given Toronto's debt an AA rating, which is the company's second-highest. However, the debt load could rise significantly in coming years, according to the company's forecast.
With reports from CTV Toronto's Alicia Markson and Naomi Parness