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(Ron Boyd for The Globe and Mail/Ron Boyd for The Globe and Mail)
(Ron Boyd for The Globe and Mail/Ron Boyd for The Globe and Mail)

mark schatzker

On literature: A public service announcement from Doug Ford Add to ...

"Well, good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don't even know her. If she walked by me, I wouldn't have a clue who she is."

Doug Ford, Toronto City Councillor, Etobicoke North [space]/p>

NARRATOR'S VOICE: This public service announcement is brought to you by City Councillor Doug Ford.

INT. North Elms Public Library. Etobicoke North City Councillor Doug Ford wanders through the stacks. He pulls a title off the shelf and flips it open.

FORD: If you're a concerned taxpayer like me, you're probably wondering why you paid for this book. It's by Ernest Hemingway. I've never heard of him either, but the name definitely sounds made up. Want to know what it's called? The Sun Also Rises. You don't need to buy a book to know that.

So if anything it should be called The Sun Rises. That mightbe a good title for the inspirational story of someone who went bankrupt and then started a successful small business. But even if your name actually was Ernest Hemingway, you'd have to change it.

[Ford pauses, momentarily lost in thought. Then he perks up, stricken, at last, by a great thought.]So how about The Sun Rises: Why Your Failed Business is a Recipe for Success! by Dr. Ernest F. Hilton. Now that's a book I would pay for.

Which brings up another thing about libraries. Why do people want to borrow books, anyway? I borrowed golf clubs once, and it just isn't the same.

More importantly, why should the government pay for it? If the government bought cars and people borrowed them for two weeks for nothing, and then returned them two weeks late and only paid a $1.50 penalty, you would say that's insane.

[Ford raises both hands and nods his head.]/p>

Yet that's what the city is doing with libraries. There are these serial borrowers - social parasites, basically - who put their names on lists and wait for weeks to borrow books they could easily go out and buy.

[Ford looks grave.]A lot of them, I am sad to report, are children.

[Ford picks another book off the shelf.]Here's another: Henry IV, Part 1. Is anyone else bored?

[Ford gives the camera a withering look.]Why would you call it "Part One"? It should just be Henry IV. If there's a second part, call it Henry IV: The Sequel. Or better yet, Henry Returns. And then after that you bring out Henry Begins, which would be about what happened before the first two stories, when Henry IV first discovers his super powers.

[Ford walks further down the aisle, pulls a third book off the shelf and sneers.]Oh and look, here's one by Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin. Here's a thought: If you're blind, maybe you're not cut out to be an assassin. Let me guess - he's lining up for welfare because he obviously isn't any good at his job but he feels entitled to it.

[Ford picks another title.] The Edible Woman. I mean, come on. There are children in here. Even some adults don't approve of that sort of thing.

[Ford picks another title.] The Handmaid's Tale. Let me guess: A story about some loser who complains a lot written by a loser who complains a lot and then borrowed by losers who read it and then go around complaining. Hey, it's a free country. But why should the city be paying for it?

Well, I have news for you Margaret, Ernest and Henry. Not any more. Not at Northern Elms Library. And if I have anything to do with it, not in the city of Toronto.

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