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29 Comments

news

Rob Ford Has Lost His Boilerplate

Council's executive committee approves motion to replace the Ford-approved stock paragraph that appears on all City press releases.

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It seems there was another power that could be stripped from Mayor Rob Ford after all: council’s executive committee decided December 5 that Rob Ford’s beloved boilerplate would no longer grace each and every City press release.

The boilerplate message has been a source of controversy for a while now. In 2012, Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) wrote a letter to city manager Joe Pennachetti in which he described the form wording as “inappropriately ideological, partisan, and aspirational in nature.” City communications staff agreed, and offered to rewrite it. Ford, though, was apparently not interested in changing a single word of the passage, and so until now, it’s looked like this:

“Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto’s government is dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

The paragraph being offered in its place (and likely to be approved by Council in two weeks’ time) fails to mention customer service excellence, cost-cutting, or “subways, subways, subways,” although it does introduce the notion of “quality of life”:

“Toronto is Canada’s largest city, sixth-largest government and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. Toronto is one of the best cities in the world to do business, consistently ranked at or near the top in global competitiveness, innovation, entrepreneurship and quality of life. Toronto is proud to be the Host City of the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games, the world’s third largest multi-sport Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, visit www.toronto.ca , call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us on twitter @torontocomms.”

And, in case you’re in the mood to wax nostalgic about a time when a Toronto mayor was inclined to celebrate things like environmental awareness and creativity, we give you the David Miller boilerplate:

“Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Comments

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    Slowly, relentlessly, Toronto is scrubbing out the stain that is Rob Ford.

    • Gerlinde Paterson

      You said it.

  • OgtheDim

    You know, if he just would have left out the “reducing the size and cost of government”, most councillors could have lived with it.

    • dsmithhfx

      Also: “creating a transparent and accountable government” — not so much, as far as the mayor’s office is concerned.

      • Not_Applicable

        Other than refusing to answer questions, and in some cases literally running away from the press (and often lying when he does “answer” questions), and not taking responsibility for his numerous (mess)-ups (other than admitting to being embarrassed, which totally counts you guys), I think it’s been a very transparent and accountable government.

        • wklis

          Of course, the press did not “ask the right questions”.

    • Lee Zamparo

      I don’t know about that. What the hell does a ‘transportation city’ even mean?

      • Roger B

        ‘transportation city’ – A youtube video that promised new subways wherever LRT lines were proposed, replacing streetcars with buses and moving bikes from roads to 100km of new ravine & park trails. Funding would be provided by eliminating billions from the gravy train and by developers.

      • OgtheDim

        Yeah, but council could have lived with it. Personally, I think the new version is far better. But, Rob could have gotten a compromise. Fool doesn’t know how to win the long game.

    • luganman

      don’t forget customer service or whatever the hell that means

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    I’m a citizen and resident, not a customer, so I approve of this change.

  • ephena

    I am not a bloody customer. The city is not selling me services. They are a municipal government, not a business. I am a citizen. To call me anything less, to reduce me to a cog in some financial whirlygig, is disrespectful of me, of democracy, and of the values that Canada used to be based on. Government is not like business, and the faster that gets through the thick skulls of pandering politicians, and skinflint taxpayers who don’t give a crap about anyone other than themselves, and don’t look past their front door, the better things are going to get.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    “delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and
    accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and
    building a transportation city”

    What’s funny about that phrase is precisely how little of each Ford has actually delivered. (Okay, maybe it’s just funny to me…)

    In fact, I seem to recall a recent story in which Ford, in a post-crack video news attempt to look hands-on, attended a committee meeting to vote against doing the work needed to assess city hall’s current customer-service practices and recommend improvements. In other words, in the guise of saving money, he actually made it more difficult for the city to find a way to deliver on the promise of “customer service excellence” — which he has never defined in terms of goals or benchmarks, but it sure done sound purty during those stump speeches.

    • dsmithhfx

      Rob Ford’s notion of “customer service” seems to involve him running back and forth between TCHC towers and peering into broken refrigerators, and his friendly neighborhood crack house where he parties with gangbangers. And you know what, I now suspect his TCHC “customer service” visits were just a pretext to cover for his extra-curricular activities in the area.

  • OpportKnocks

    Lost his boilerplate? I hope it costs less than 1.5 lbs of kronic to get it back.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      …or 1.5 lbs of kush or hezza or dugga. All words I hadn’t heard until yesterday.

  • luganman

    Ford has finally achieved a personal first, that is:
    ‘Lying while apologizing for lying’

  • Brian Young

    I found that line the most objectionable of all, but it does reveal the mercantile mindset of the Ford Klan.

  • Allan Sorensen

    so with a quick re-write Toronto is no longer

    “dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a
    transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of
    government and building a transportation city.”

    what a relief that must be for City workers. They can go back to sleeping on their desks now that those unreasonable and onerous expectations coming from the mind of a crack smoker have been erased.

    • dsmithhfx

      City workers are there to provide services to citizens, not “customers”. Mostly, they show up sober and put in their full shift without sneaking off to get drunk, score drugs or coach football, doing what we pay them for. Unlike our mayor, and staff he pays with our money

    • OgtheDim

      Well apart from the weird idea that the workers of the city take their cue from the boilerplate….

      The boilerplate is there to sell the city, not to tell people reading it that Toronto is run in a certain way.

      “Toronto is one of the best cities in the world to do business,
      consistently ranked at or near the top in global competitiveness,
      innovation, entrepreneurship and quality of life.”

      That is far more professional.

      The use of the boilerplate is typical Ford stuff. Talks a good game. Far too narrowly focused on his own need to do and be seen to do…but doesn’t actually do anything.

      Rob talks.

      Real leaders implement and get done.

      • gkadar

        What does ‘global competitiveness’ mean?

        • Conservative Astroturf Brigade

          That it is a good place to do business, better than most around the world. It is true, Canada is quite privileged once you look beyond unskilled manufacturing and Toronto is a major beneficiary.

    • OpportKnocks

      Are you related to Theodore Sorensen, JFK’s speachwriter? He could do one hell of a boilerplate for Ford to use in Scarborough: “Ask not what you can do for your city, but what subways the city can build for you!”

  • OgtheDim

    In which is no longer used as common parlance – nor is it necessary for the verb “to do” to be understood.

    English evolving in front of our very eyes….

  • Bradford Hamilton

    We Americans, are sick and disgusted by this man that is all over our news everyday. Please impeach him and jail him so we can go back to Anderson Cooper and Dr. Drew. Thank you Canada.

  • 1moreastronaut

    I am not a customer, Rob. I am your employer.