For over three and a half years Rob Ford has been damaging our city’s reputation. With the upcoming election we have a chance to turn things around by electing someone who is qualified to be our mayor. Our mission is to ensure that the next mayor is a genuine leader that can properly represent Toronto. It’s up to voters to choose someone fit for the job.
LIES AND MISLEADING RESULTS FROM ROB FORD
1) In a Thursday interview on CP24: “We had the lowest tax increase than any North American city around.”
Toronto’s tax increases during Ford’s tenure were lower than those of most big cities on the continent. But San Antonio, Texas, and Windsor, Ont., both froze property taxes entirely over these four years. Ford sometimes qualifies this claim and compares Toronto only to North American cities “its size,” but he didn’t here.
2) “We have 150 cranes in the sky.”
Even if he is allowed a rhetorical conceit. Ford uses “cranes in the sky” as a proxy for the number of buildings under construction, even though they aren’t the same thing; in June 2012, when Toronto had 189 buildings under construction, Ford said there were 189 cranes in the sky. According to the city, however, the number of buildings under construction dropped to 111 in January. That was still tops in North America, but it wasn’t 150.
3) “I’ve saved over a billion dollars.”
As the Star has previously explained: hundreds of millions of Ford’s claimed savings are phantom “efficiencies” that did not save the city money at all; $200 million of the claimed $1 billion is from the elimination of the car tax, which is not a government “savings” in any traditional sense; $24 million is from hiking user fees, which is money out of people’s pockets — and, crucially, Ford has not counted the costs of his other decisions. If he is counting the elimination the car tax, for example, it is only fair to count the imposition of a new $745-million tax to pay for the Scarborough subway extension. The net figure is nowhere close to $1 billion.
4) On CP24 and to reporters: “Created 57,000 jobs.”
Ford began making such claims in September, when they were more accurate: as of the late summer and early fall, there were indeed between 55,000 and 65,000 more people employed than when Ford became mayor in December 2010, depending on how you did the math.
But by continuing to make the “57,000 jobs” claim, Ford is ignoring the current reality: employment numbers have worsened markedly over the last six months. As of February, only about 6,000 more residents were employed than in Dec. 2010, according to seasonally adjusted city statistics provided to the Star — 1,285,000 versus 1,279,000. By Ford’s logic, then, he has now “created” 6,000 jobs.
It is misleading, finally, to claim that he himself “created” these jobs. That is standard political rhetoric, but economists agree that Toronto mayors have limited influence on employment growth.
5) On CP24: “I’ve created more jobs than any mayor ever has.”
By Ford’s definition of “created”— tallying up the increase in the number of total employed residents during a mayor’s term — Mel Lastman “created” more than 60,000 jobs when he served between 1998 and 2003. Barbara Hall was even better, “creating” more than 70,000 jobs between 1994 and 1997.
6) “We’re getting subways built.”
Ford can fairly claim to be “getting” one subway built: the replacement for the Scarborough RT, for which he successfully secured federal funding. But construction on even that line has not begun, and it is false to say he is building subways, plural. His unfunded proposal for a Sheppard subway was defeated by council.
7) “I have the lowest expense account than any member of council.”
Ford’s actual expense account is bigger than those of councillors. He likely meant that his actual expense spending is lowest on council, which is not true either. Ford’s expenses are extremely low for a mayor. But, for good reason, he has spent more money to run the large mayor’s office — $44,995 in 2011, $19,253 in 2012 — than various councillors spent to run their own smaller offices.
8) “Contracting out garbage; we’ve saved close to $100 million.”
The seven-year contract for west-of-Yonge service is expected to save the city about $11 million per year, or a total of $78 million. That is the savings figure used by the city, and the one Ford usually uses. To get to $100 million, you have to include the estimated savings from a hypothetical two-year contract extension council has the option of agreeing to in the future. It’s not a done deal.
9) “We got a union deal done. That’s $150 million.”
City officials say Ford’s widely praised collective agreements saved $141 million, though they have not explained exactly how.