November 17, 2013

Communists call for mobilizations to stop Ford AND his corporate agenda

The following statement was distributed by the Young Communist League Toronto at the "Save Toronto" rally on November 13th, 2013.

It's More Than Just the Crack…

We should not forget that in addition to the scandals of alcohol, drugs, lies, and embarrassment Rob Ford actively pursued a political agenda. This agenda, which Rob Ford and his lackeys masked as an attack on “the gravy train”, turned out to be nothing more than a total assault on working class Torontonians.
With this in mind let’s take a quick glance at the record of a Mayor that promised “No cuts to social services” has over these three years pushed through:
  • Cuts to Social Housing
  • Cuts to Childcare Subsidies
  • Cuts to Libraries
  • Cuts to Fire Services
Along with other anti-working class measures such as:
  • An Increase on User Fees for Community Centre Programs
  • The Privatization of Garbage Services
  • Anti-Strike Legislation for TTC Workers

Ford’s former allies and other big business lackeys want us to focus on the crack and ignore the deeper issues, and they are planning continue his policies of austerity under a “cleaner” image. We must reject these representatives of Bay Street whether they come dressed like Rob Ford, Karen Stintz, John Tory or anyone else.

We demand that our mayor reject big business politics:
A Mayor who stands up for the working people of this city.
We must demand that our electoral system be accountable to the people:

Expand democracy to include an electoral system with instant recall.
In November 2012 the Communist Party of Ontario released the following statement during the time that Rob Ford was faced with losing his position due to ruling on conflict of interest by the Ontario Superior Court. The main thesis, calling on movements "fighting the right-wing policies and forces behind Rob Ford to keep mobilizing, otherwise his agenda could continue under a different face," stands today.
Communist Party Welcomes End of the Gravy Train for Rob Ford, Warns His Far Right Agenda Still Threatens Toronto

TORONTO, ON – The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) welcomes the Ontario Superior Court’s order for Rob Ford to vacate the mayoralty of Toronto because of his contempt for the residents in not excusing himself on conflict-of-interest grounds from a council debate, itself triggered by his abuse of office to benefit a charity named after himself. The Party supports a by-election to replace Ford and calls for the movement fighting the right-wing policies and forces behind Rob Ford to keep mobilizing, otherwise his agenda could continue under a different face.
Party Leader Liz Rowley explained that “Rob Ford had campaigned on ending ‘the gravy train’, but when he took office Torontonians saw that in reality this meant lay-offs, contracting out, cutting services, and charging steep fees for services the public needs and wants. It’s the corporations who backed Ford who are on a ‘gravy train’ of enjoying record profits, record low taxes, and municipal services at the expense of ratepayers and tenants who are paying more and more, and getting less and less. They’re also salivating at the prospects of more privatization of city services and assets under the right-wing majority at City Hall.”
Rob Ford’s own exploitation of his office for his family’s benefit and his personal causes, as well as his contempt for democracy, for the public and the public interest, and for the high office of Mayor of the sixth largest government in the country, by being absent during Council meetings to coach football games amongst many other transgressions, shows Rob Ford was making a new Gravy Train all by himself and has no respect for the people of Toronto.
Congratulations are in order to the Stop Cuts Coalition and others who have had success in stopping his agenda, such as the “lifeboat” motion to moderate some of the cuts in January, but we need to keep up the mobilization because the right-wing majority on Council and the corporate interests who bankrolled Ford’s election won’t rest. They could find someone else to do their bidding, with more grace and less Gravy.”
Liz Rowley had characterized the Rob Ford administration as one where “the public is not welcome” when she was removed from City Hall for merely suggesting budget committee hearings be extended by one day to allow for all 348 registered deputants to have their democratic say. Liz Rowley said “Rob Ford and the right-wing agenda he represents were going after our libraries, recreation centres, seniors’ homes, HIV/AIDS programs, school nutrition programs, three of our child care centres, three of our homeless centres, theatres, and zoos, but his removal does not mean they are stopping. We need to show we reject this agenda now, under any face new or old.”
The only real guarantee that the Fords and co. will be side-lined is through the election of a progressive majority in the 2014 civic election, and through the building of a strong and progressive civic reform movement in 2013 that can unite all those forces now fighting the right-wing agenda at City Hall, to develop a progressive municipal platform and put forward a slate of progressive candidates who will fight for it in the next election.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) calls on the provincial and federal governments to end the chronic financial crisis in Toronto and other municipalities by providing cities with a new financial deal, including:
  • provide adequate funding through statutory transfers to Toronto and all municipalities, enabling cities to provide the array of municipal services necessary in the 21st century
  • stop the firesale of municipal land and assets, including public housing, schools, and parks; and reverse user fees
  • upload the Harris download and rescind balanced budget legislation
  • fund the capital and operating costs of the TTC and municipal transit systems; reduce fares and increase ridership
  • transfer 50% of gas and road user to municipalities
  • collect unpaid and deferred corporate taxes, and introduce progressive tax policies based on ability to pay
  • remove education from the property tax, cut property taxes in half, and fund education through provincial general revenues
  • develop a provincial and federal affordable housing plan and enact rent controls
  • introduce a provincial system of universally accessible affordable quality public child care
  • give cities status in the Constitution; and protect local autonomy and democracy
The Party’s 10-point prescription for a People’s Recovery, its alternative to the austerity policies advocated by Rob Ford, as well as Tim Hudak and Dalton McGuinty in the provincial Legislature, is available here.

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