Councillor Doug Ford has suggested that Toronto should get rid of all its streetcars except a couple that may benefit tourists, and also urged residents to call for an election to unseat the province’s Liberal government.
The Ford brothers attacked the province and TTC chair Karen Stintz during their weekly radio show, calling the former “irresponsible” and the latter, a “problem.”
Doug Ford labelled the Liberal government as “arrogant” and “cocky” on his Sunday show on Newstalk 1010 with his brother the mayor.
The councillor’s irate comments were inspired by the province’s decision to cut $149.3-million in funding to the city.
The city says the cut will affect affordable housing, and came as a complete surprise. While city staff produced a letter as evidence that the province made a deal to fund social housing programs till 2018, Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the province made a projection, not a promise.
“We have the most irresponsible provincial government I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” said Mr. Ford while accusing the province of spending billions of dollars engaged in scandals like eHealth and the investigation of the gas plant decision. “The nerve of these guys ... They’re taking the residents of Toronto for granted.”
Mayor Rob Ford said his brother is “dead on.”
“I’m furious right. I’m just trying to keep everything in control,” said the mayor, who is meeting with Mr. Sousa Monday to discuss the cuts.
The loss of funding would result in either a loss of social programs or a six-per-cent tax increase to keep the programs running. The mayor has repeatedly said he will not raise taxes.
“I’m gonna have to cut programs and it’s the province’s fault,” he said.
The Ford brothers said the province should have consulted with them before announcing the funding cut. They expressed their dissatisfaction with Premier Kathleen Wynne who, just last week, said she wants to repair the province’s rocky relationship with Toronto.
“It’s time for an election,” said Doug Ford. “It’s time for people to speak up against this government, this Liberal government.”
The Ford brothers also criticized Karen Stintz, the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission for supporting a study to ban cars from the downtown portion of King Street during the morning rush hour, opening it up for streetcars only. The study was proposed by TTC CEO Andy Byford, who said that King is the busiest streetcar route, carrying approximately 57,000 people each day.
“CEOs don’t make it through without getting direction from the chair and vice-chair,” said Doug Ford, referring to Ms. Stintz’s role in the traffic study.
Mr. Byford’s proposal will be discussed at a TTC board meeting on Monday.
“I don’t know why you would waste time and taxpayers’ money for a study removing all the cars off of King Street and make it just for streetcars,” said Rob Ford, arguing that the study would go nowhere.
The Ford brothers said that streetcars should be replaced by articulated buses than can move in and out of traffic, while Doug Ford offered that tourists may like to see a streetcar or two running in the city, “maybe on Spadina or something.”
With a report from Elizabeth Church, Adrian Morrow and Sunny Dhillon