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article imageOp-Ed: Doug Ford’s $50,000 Toronto parks donation now vilified

By Andrew Moran     Dec 9, 2013 in Politics
Toronto - Since entering office, the Fords have been vilified and criticized in the media and by their opponents. Mostly rightly so, other times not so much. The latest criticism over one of the Ford’s charitable acts is absolutely ridiculous.
This past summer, the Etobicoke City Councillor and brother of embattled mayor Rob Ford announced that he would be personally donating $50,000 to help revitalize 10 parks across the city. Ford isn’t using public tax dollars, he isn’t using funds from his public salary, he isn’t using money from his city hall budget. No, he is using his very own funds, whether you call it earned or inherited, it doesn’t matter.
In 2011, during a budget committee meeting, he informed one of the speakers that he would be donating $1,000 of his personal money to help cover a breakfast program for children. In light of facing budget cuts, which he supports, he used private charity to keep such a program afloat, something that would happen nowadays even without government support.
What happened after each of these instances? Ford was harshly criticized as being a sycophant and accused of vote-buying, though Ford has already admitted he will not be running for re-election but he might run for the Progressive Conservatives in the next provincial election.
No matter how cantankerous Ford may be down at city hall or how doggerel he can be during city council debates, this charitable donation is a thoughtful one that is going to a worthwhile cause. Heck, even if it is vote-buying, it’s still going to a worthwhile cause either way.
Here is what Ford told the Toronto Star:
“My idea is similar to the High Park playground that burned down and everyone helped out. This is the same theory but what I’m donating is really just seed money, that’s all.”
“I think if you put seed money in and the community gets involved, you can leverage my $5,000, and go to corporate sponsors — the Home Depots, the Lowe’s, the Canadian Tires, and there’s a snowball effect,” Ford told the Toronto newspaper “And it brings the community together.”
Did he just say he wants to get private funding for parks rather than stealing from taxpayers? That is a marvel and munificent concept, but one that is viewed with contempt for whatever the reason is; capitalism, private business, free markets, who knows?
Residents in the city of Toronto are taxed to death by all three levels of government. It isn’t feasible to imagine that every single program deemed worthy by self-described omnipotent leaders at the federal, provincial or municipal level can be funded by simply digging their hands into each taxpayer’s pocket again and again.
Instead, a city official has decided to use his own funds to pay for something. Ford’s entire salary is returned to taxpayers or donated to charity and claims zero expenses for his budget. These are admirable traits whatever the motivation behind them may be because the taxpayers are the ones benefiting in the end.
Unfortunately, it can be quite easy to concede that city hall is just wasting those additional funds on buying new chairs for our esteemed representatives, who feel they need a raise for doing...sorry, what do city councillors do all day besides wasting money?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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