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Ford voted Metro’s newsmaker of year

Some images of Toronto in 2010: Civilians set police cruisers ablaze while the streets become a military fortress; a rising political star is humbled by a sex scandal; an unlikely slugger powers his way into the record book; and an international hip-hop star emerges from Forest Hill.

Some images of Toronto in 2010: Civilians set police cruisers ablaze while the streets become a military fortress; a rising political star is humbled by a sex scandal; an unlikely slugger powers his way into the record book; and an international hip-hop star emerges from Forest Hill.

But one image from 2010 resonates most with our readers: A 41-year-old family man from Etobicoke declares war on the gravy train, and Torontonians enlist en masse. Rob Ford, elected mayor in a landslide, was also voted Met­ro’s newsmaker of the year.

We sat down with Ford recently for an interview:

Were you surprised at how quickly you were able to kill the vehicle registration tax?

No. People hated that tax. They didn’t want to pay that extra $60. So I said if I am fortunate enough to be mayor, the first council meeting, we will get rid of it.

How do you plan to make up the $64-million shortfall?

You just gotta tighten your belt. You have to lead by example, right? They gave me a budget of $2.7 million. I said I don’t need $2.7 million, so I reduced it by $700,000. I reduced 26 per cent of my own office. And all I am asking other departments to do is 2.5 per cent. So if I can do 26 per cent then it’s pretty easy for the other departments to do 2.5 per cent.

You said you want to cut the number of councillors in half. When do you plan on doing that and how?

End of the third year, beginning of the fourth year.

How would that be worked out?

A vote. We have 22 MPs in Toronto, 22 MPPs, and we don’t need 44 councillors — all this duplication and waste.

Why do you think that?

My dad was an MPP, and I saw how hard he worked and what he did as someone who represented a whole provincial or federal riding. Then I looked at myself when I was a councillor — myself and Susan Hall sharing the same riding as my dad — just tripping over each other. You get invited to a Christmas party. You see your MP there and you see your MPP there, and you see two councillors. Too much duplication and waste.

I understand you’re not a big fan of parades. Are you going to cut funding for parades?

I think we have to review all funding for all parades. It’s not balanced out. Some parades get funded and some don’t. It’s time we get the private sector involved. The people at the Santa Claus parade came up to me and said they should get funding, they’re not getting funding. The St. Patrick’s Day parade people said they should get funded, they weren’t getting funded. I just want a level playing field. Either we all get funded or none of us get funded, or have a combination of private, public mix.

Previous mayors have march­ed in the Pride Parade. Are you going to march in the Pride Parade if invited?

I have gone away every July … I always take my family up to the cottage — sort of our getaway time. If I’m here, like I said I would be more than happy to attend any parade, not just that parade.

 
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