Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Olympics: Dodged a Bullet, Set a Precedent?

Mayor Dad announced yesterday that Toronto is not going to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.


As observant readers have noted, this blog was opposed to the greed-corruption-anti-democracy festival that the Olympics bring to town.

What galled me the most was the total needlessness of this kabuki.

Some points:
• We had already decided against this idiocy until John Tory got a bee in his bonnet and decided to drag us all through his dithering for more than a month.

• An Olympic bid was not on anyone's agenda. No one campaigned on it. It had zero interest, let alone support. (See link above. Not one person appeared at the economic development committee meeting to speak in favour of a bid.)

• One man, John Tory, all jacked up on Pan Am juice -- a third-rate sports event, amounting to a "high school track meet" in comparison to the Olympics -- decided to revisit an issue that no one gave a shit about. Why? Who knows? Maybe because he's an elite former executive who wants to run a one-man show.

• Speaking of which, Tory completely ignored elected representatives on city council, while lying his ass off about consulting them.

• Speaking of which, look how many council members refused to disclose where they stood on the matter, despite being repeatedly asked by constituents and media. (And kudos to those who did.)

• And finally the total lack of transparency. Which, one gathers, is typical for this sort of elite takeover of civic processes, but which, none the less, is infuriating.

In short, I was deeply offended and mightily pissed off by the sheer gall of elites deciding that we peons were going to pay BILLIONS for a big-ass party, while having no bloody say in it at all.

Then, as the topper, Mayor Dad calls a press conference to gather on the roof of a snack shop -- and doesn't that just scream World Class City? -- to blather on and on about how carefully HE considered everything (someone really should count the number of first-person pronouns in that speech; it's embarrassing) only to decide HE couldn't look people in the eye …
The truth is, I can’t look people in the eye at this point in our city’s development and tell them that an Olympic bid is the best use of our time, our energy, or our investment.

John Tory, the very embodiment of the Olympic Spirit -- in all its entitlement and noblesse oblige.

Toronto is entering dangerous territory here that I and Cityslikr thought we had faced and (barely) survived in the Rob Ford era.
But even if the mayor declines to proceed, city council needs to make it clear, in the strongest way possible, that this was never a mayor’s decision to make alone, that all the behind-the-scenes, Freedom of Information access only deliberations were unacceptable and undemocratic. If Mayor Tory’s doing all that on an Olympic bid, what else is going on back there?

City council needs to nip this mayor’s imperious inclinations in the bud now. It needs to show the mayor exactly who the boss is here. Like Rob Ford before him, Mayor Tory seems to have claimed a mayoral mandate as some sort of executive fiat. He’ll keep thinking that until city council shows him otherwise.
Wakey, wakey, city council.

And citizens of Toronto.

UPDATE: Janice Forsyth, who was a strong voice for reason and facts, still has questions too.

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