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Ford’s influence on provincial byelections is debatable Much has been made of Mayor Rob Ford’s deliberate and enthusiastic involvement in the two provincial byelections that recently took place in the city. Over the course of the campaign, Ford stumped and shouted, alleged corruption, berated, paraded and, of course, endorsed two candidates from the party of his late father. He put as much energy into the enterprise as one might expect a mayor to put into mayoral duties. Ford might take some of the credit for decisively helping his Deputy Mayor, Doug Holyday, deliver the first Toronto Progressive Conservative seat in a decade. The claim would be more credible, of course, if he’d been able to do the same for the PCs in ScarboroughGuildwood. It might be more reasonable to say that Holyday was in an excellent position to do so, all on his own. The long-serving municipal politician has had good years and bad over the course of his career — sometimes better

david nickle the city known for utterly losing his temper on the floor of council, and sometimes, as these past few years, for bringing genial calm to a tumultuous field. While Holyday has never been anything but partisan, he’s proved essential to the Ford administration, delivering in negotiations with unionized workers what could be some of the most lasting changes to the way the city does business. When Ford was dealing with what seems will be only the first part of his alleged crack video scandal, Holyday was a supportive second-incommand. He was also an appropriate scold, joining much of the public in urging the mayor to address the allegations against him head on. That Holyday would win in a riding that had been confidently Liberal for a decade isn’t surprising. That Ford’s

candidate should lose in a riding to the east of there, in spite of everything... well, if a mayor’s word means anything in influencing a vote, that is a bit of a surprise. Fo rd a n d h i s f a m i l y have been a-courting in Scarborough since the 2010 municipal election. Ford promised and could well be on the cusp of delivering a subway there. Scarborough folk were lined up through the trees at his first-ever Scarborough FordFest party. Personally, he polls well there, too. Yet he could not transfer that combination of elbow grease and pixie dust to influence a provincial vote. It might be that the office itself doesn’t hold much influence. When Ford’s predecessor David Miller waded into federal elections in a less partisan way, he tended to pick candidates in individual races that had a decent chance of winning. Mel Lastman, a savvy political operative from way back, knew enough to stay out completely.

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is a division of

It might well serve as a sobering lesson to the Fords, who obviously enjoy campaigning and do seem to have a knack for it: regardless of how much fun it is out on the hustings for some other level

of government, their energies might best be applied to dancing with the ones that brought them, and doing the job they were elected to do.

i

David Nickle is The Mirror’s city hall reporter. His column runs every Thursday.

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| NORTH YORK MIRROR | Thursday, August 8, 2013

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