Toronto’s Great Worst Day

After a relaxing week in Montreal I’m tempted to write an entire post about the Queen Elizabeth hotel, smoked meat, or the BBQ restaurant my wife and I found while there. I may still, but in the meantime I’ll stick with the usual. Politics may not be as tasty as good BBQ, but it is messier which makes for good material.

On Friday Toronto Community Housing Corporation CEO Gene Jones resigned. Having been on the job for less than two years, Jones’ departure was the result of a scathing report by Ombudsman Fiona Crean. The report lists serious HR infractions and a general disregard towards policy which would cost most senior private sector executives their job. Surely then Mayor Ford who wants the city to run like a business was pleased with Jones’ resignation? Of course not.

I suspect Rob Ford only supports running Toronto like a business in the sense he understands how a business runs. A family run operation where he doesn’t have to do anything but show up, where nepotism is the first and last word on hiring, and where rules are of course for other people.

No wonder Robbie’s upset. Gene Jones resigned in essence for doing his job the same way Rob Ford does his.  I could offer more on the parallels between the two but that’s been done already, and better than I could hope to.

Ford went as far as to call the decision “one of the worst days in Toronto history”. A statement which proves he knows as little about Toronto’s history as he does anything else. Without trying, I can think of three days in Toronto’s history that were worse due either to a loss of life, loss of rights, or just plain loss. Jones resigning before being fired because he had no respect for the rules of the job? Doesn’t even crack my top 50.

In fact, I would say it’s a pretty good day for Toronto when a city employee loses their job for the reasons Jones did . Considerably better than when senior staff do for refusing to sacrifice sound planning to the Mayor’s transit whims. On another good day Ford himself lost his job for having as casual a relationship with city rules, as he does with telling the truth. The day he was reinstated is on my list of “Days Worse than April 25th in Toronto’s History” by the way. A list on which I assure you October 25th, 2010 is prominently featured.

There have been several days in Toronto’s history worse than Friday was. A city of our size is all but guaranteed from time to time to be struck by real tragedy. Those of us who care about Toronto can only work towards ensuring better days ahead, and hope those outnumber the bad ones.

For the masochistically delusional, myself included, a day featuring the Leafs and a Stanley Cup parade ranks high on the list of better days to come. Those more inclined to deal in the possible have October 27, 2014 circled on their calendars instead.




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