When Mayor Rob Ford leads his first official trade trip to Chicago next month, he won’t just be promoting Toronto as a business destination – he will also be swapping crime-fighting advice with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Unfortunately, their [Chicago’s] crime has gone up a little bit and we’re going to try to combat that, [and] help them with that and see what we can do,” Mr. Ford said on Tuesday as he formally announced the Sept. 18 and 19 trade mission.
“I think we’ve been dealing with our crime issues very well here lately. We can share ideas and learn from each other.”
Mr. Ford’s meeting with Mr. Emanuel is expected to be the centrepiece of a two-day “Team Toronto” visit to the Illinios city organized by Councillor Doug Ford and chaired by George Cohon and Robert Deluce, the founders, respectively, of McDonald’s Canada and Porter Airlines.
The two mayors are expected to “reaffirm” a renewed version of a 1991 partnership agreement between their cities.
Mayor Ford, who is paying his own way to Chicago, couldn’t say precisely which sectors he’s hoping to target on the trip, although he mentioned manufacturing and technology as possibilities.
But he’s hoping the face-to-face meetings will lead to new head offices in Toronto.
“If we can get them to open up their head offices here and come up here, that’s the goal,” he said.
The full list of business leaders and councillors participating in the mission will be released closer to the date of the trip.