June 04, 2015

The honeymoon's finally over for Toronto mayor John Tory

Neil FlaggRebel Blogger

Remember “GreensboroGate?” Of course you don’t. Yet for the better part of July, August, September and October of 2012, it was the obsession of the hyena-pack known as the Toronto media, who used this trifling issue to try to bring Mayor Rob Ford down.

Maybe you faintly recall, with just three weeks to go before the August 2012 50th anniversary celebrations at the Ford family business, Deco Labels and Tags, some long-overdue repairs and maintenance to the company’s city street, Greensboro Drive, had yet to begin. Mayor Ford made some calls and arranged a meeting with city staff, and in three weeks, all the work was done in time.

Abuse of office, they cried! Conflict of interest, they bellowed!

Fast-forward two years, to the heat of the 2014 Mayoral campaign. John Tory had become the media favourite in the race to become Toronto’s next Mayor. It was no secret that Tory was a registered lobbyist for Rogers Communications Inc., still sat on the RCI board of directors, and remained part of the Rogers Control Trust, the entity that owns 91% of the voting shares of RCI. Was the media interested?

Nah. Crickets. All the major media outlets in Toronto, in their crusade to defeat the Ford family, jumped on the John Tory campaign bandwagon, endorsed Mr. Tory, and ignored any hint of a problem. Conflict of interest? Nah, nothing to see here, move along, move along.

With only one professional journalist, Joe Warmington of The Toronto Sun, willing to explore this issue on the record, Tory and his people were able to shrug it off as some sort of personal vendetta from a writer who is seen as being very tight with the Fords. However, all that began to change earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Warmington finally got a City Councillor to go on the record regarding Tory and his status on the Rogers Control Trust. “He should recuse himself as soon as any discussion about use of a phone comes up,” said Jim Karygiannis, a former federal Liberal MP who fell out with that party over the abortion issue, and now seems to be a loose cannon on a city council dominated by Wynne-connected Provincial Liberals. Karygiannis has gone to war with Tory on behalf of the Taxi industry lobby, which has good reason to suspect Tory’s unflinching support for Uber stems from Tory’s Rogers ties.

After Karygiannis opened the can of worms, Tory agreed to appear on Warmington’s Tuesday night radio show on NewsTalk 1010 to discuss the conflict-of-interest story, among other issues of the day. It was a testy exchange that is well worth the listen; Tory was prickly, at times agitated, and made it clear he was not amused at having to answer questions about his multiple declared and potential conflicts of interest.

Another journalist finally joined Warmington in exploring the issue of Mayor Tory’s conflicts-of-interest. In a stunningly blunt article published Wednesday in Metro, a Toronto Star property no less, Jessica Smith Cross exposed three John Tory campaign insiders who moved directly into lobbying at Toronto City Hall – John Capobianco, John Duffy, and Courtney Glen.

On the Facebook page "I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford,” my fellow administrators and I, as well as several fine regular commenters, tried to warn Toronto about the problems associated with a Mayor Tory. We nicknamed him “John Liberal” for working openly with Ontario Liberal Party politicians and insiders to get elected – that would come at a price.

We also nicknamed him “Mr. Rogers” for his lifelong family and business ties to Canada’s largest media company (and multi-million-dollar contractor to the City of Toronto), Rogers Communications Inc. We taunted Toronto’s left for abandoning Saint Jack Layton’s widow to line up behind what should have been their worst nightmare, a Board of Trade crony corporatist Wynne Liberal.

It gives me no great pleasure to say “I told you so”. The last thing I want is for the tax rolls of Toronto’s residents to be used as a fresh new ATM machine for companies, politicians and lobbyists closely tied to the Mayor’s pecuniary interests and election campaigns. It does please me, however, to see that it took just seven months for the can of worms to be opened on the John Tory administration.

For the next three-and-a-half years, he won’t be able to open his mouth without first declaring his potential conflicts of interests, or having his potential conflicts examined by the media. Thanks to Warmington, Smith Cross, and Karygiannis, the door has been opened for all to use this legitimate and crucial issue as a wedge against the Mayor’s agenda, for better or for worse.

Give it another year. Toronto’s going to be begging for another Mayor whose biggest potential conflict is the express repaving of Greensboro Drive.


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commented 2015-06-04 15:58:54 -0400
While back I wrote an article, under the title of “Why Do Majority of Voters Vote for These People? Is it a law of attraction, or pure ignorance?!”
There are extremely tough competitions among members of the mainstream parties to get ahead and become leaders of their parties, and eventually become heads of governments. They are like sperm swimming fast against each other, and at the end only one manages to penetrate the egg!
Why do these people all of a sudden, after all the hard work they put in, as soon as they obtain the power, behave like morons, and bamboozle the very people who elected them and pay for their lavish life style? Is it because power corrupts? Or is it because corrupt individuals want power at any price!
But our concerns must be focused on who these people are and what the common personality traits among them are. Have you ever wondered why certain people lead governments?
In order to find an answer, we must find out about their primary objectives and goals, and whether they do what reasonable people do at any circumstance, or not!
There is no doubt that they are smart, or they would not have gotten where they are; however, are they intelligent enough to comprehend the ramifications of the public policies they push for?! And if they are, do they give a damn about the consequences of their actions, which affect millions of citizens?!
Reading peoples’ minds is impossible; but, interpretation of their behaviour can reveal a lot about their personalities and to some extent, their intentions.
Do these “leaders” seek power for the sake of power? Do they want to compensate for their own shortcomings? Do they despise the public? Do they look for affection? Do they desire rock star recognition? Do they want to get rich? Do they believe that they know better than everybody else? Do they just serve their masters?
Ordinary citizens must obtain some sort of education and/or skills and gain experience in their fields, in order to have acceptable, if not impressive, credentials to apply for a job; they must submit their resumes to the prospective employers, pass personality exams, and partake in multiple interviews before getting hired.
Why haven’t we, as an advanced society developed a similar system to examine the qualifications of our “leaders”? Why don’t we, as tax-payers, demand certain tests, such as basic independent psychological evaluation, to ascertain the mental stability of these individuals before giving them the power to decide on our destiny?!
For example, looking back at the recent municipal elections in Ontario, people could clearly see drastic change in the direction and behaviour of the newly elected “Mayor”! John Tory kicked off his campaign as a questionable candidate because of his past conduct, anywhere from his contribution to the demise of federal Conservative Party in 1993, to his involvement with Charter Communications’ shady practices which led to its bankruptcy, and introducing “The White Papers” while enjoying the ride as the leader of the Ontario PC Party, just before the 2007 Ontario general election, which led to the Liberals second majority government in Ontario, and losing his seat to Kathleen Wynne.
Anyone with a sound mind would ask why people vote for such a person among 60 plus candidates! How could he get away with such a poor performance, or lack thereof in many cases? It’s simple. He had lots of money from the certain benefactors with deep pockets. Unelected individuals and industries, provide unlimited access to the mainstream media, while he was swearing allegiance to his past employers, in order to broadcast baseless ideas, along with a big basket of empty promises. And let’s not forget the main ingredent, a large number of uninformed voters and low voter turnout, of course!
Ironically our legal system uses public resources to deal seriously with those who break the law and leave behind one or a few victims; however, there is little or no consequence for unsuitable and/or incompetent “leaders” who leave thousands, and even millions of victims behind as a result of their bad judgements, and because of the impact of certain decisions made by these public officials on behalf of their constituents. Where is justice when you need it most?!
Here is the icing on the cake: people like John Tory, Kathleen Wynne, etc., will always land much better jobs, top positions, with much less responsibility, and much more money and perks, after they are out of the office. Shocking, isn’t it?!
Those who would give their word or promise something they know they can’t deliver are either stupid or deceptive! John Tory introduced his “code of conduct” to the voters, months before Election Day, claiming he will:
“Respect and defend our laws, not break them.” Is he suggesting that people should expect to have crooks and criminals running for public office?!
“Keep an open schedule, which is easily accessible to the public.” Availability to the constituents is part of the Mayor’s job, isn’t it?!
“Conduct press availabilities, at least once a week.” Is he doing us a favour, using tax-payers’ money and public resources to promote himself?!
“Use City resources exclusively for city business, and tightening spending rules.” Apparently the operative word is “EXCLUSIVE!” He increased the mayor’s office budget by more than $325,000!!
“Introduce real penalties for city staff members who abuse their positions of power.” Is he going to impose “Real Penalties” for the “elected” members who betray their constituents? Why does he leave them out?
“Force all lobbyists to register, in order to level the playing field for union lobbying.” However, he can hand-pick companies such as The group of 13, and pre-select consultant teams, giving them millions of dollars for the studies on issues that he promised while he was campaigning for office! Not to mention the involvement of his sons in projects that are questionable, such as Live Nation and Billy Bishop airport, with the possibility of conflicts of interest!
“Work to build relationships with neighbouring municipalities and other levels of government.” Has he been isolating himself?!
And then there’s the list of bogus and useless comment items, such as “Mend relationships and build bridges within a divided city council”, “Not have enemies list." He said he will use the office to work with people, not to “carry on old fights”, “Treat city staff professionally and with courtesy”, suggesting that he is better than other past Toronto mayors who were not professionals and did not do their job; and he is going to clean up city hall! Like we haven’t this before!
Interestingly enough there is no mention of tax-payers, citizens, constituents, voters, or people, in any of the items in the list; it is very clear that John Tory exhibits extreme narcissistic personality traits, and it has been increasing ever since that he was elected as the Mayor of Metropolitan Toronto!
All signs and symptoms are very similar to those of psychopaths. Even though mainstream media do their best to camouflage his actions, the evidence is there in the plain sight for the public to examine. Then why do voters keep electing psychopaths? Is it because they are in denial or simply like to have deceptive creatures manage their lives?! It seems to me that the public, collectively and not individually, practices masochistic behaviour, by giving mandates to maniac “Leaders” to shaft people continuously!
commented 2015-06-04 14:13:22 -0400
great article. However Tory never had a honeymoon, like everything else it was manufactured by the media. Unfortunately no matter what Tory will never be affected by critical press.
commented 2015-06-04 13:55:41 -0400
oh please neill flagg when you going be mayor toronto?neill do you lobby for rob ford?