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Powerless petition seeks to impeach Rob Ford

Posted by Derek Flack / July 15, 2011

Rob Ford Impeach PetitionAn online petition to have Toronto mayor Rob Ford impeached is gaining steam as it spreads across social media networks. Created two days ago, it has currently racked up about 1800 "signatures" with at least half of these coming yesterday evening and overnight. Given the recent vote to scrap the Jarvis bike lanes and the series of cuts suggested in the Core Services Review, the timing of the petition doesn't come as much of surprise.

"His campaign was run on falsehoods, smoke and mirrors but the numbers are in and Rob Ford can't balance a budget without cutting services and significantly raising your taxes," reads the explanatory preamble. "Rob Ford is not my mayor. Now let's make it official."

But here's the thing: regardless of how many signatures it gets, the petition is ultimately impotent. You can't impeach a mayor in Ontario, nor can a legislative body charge a municipal leader with an offence — that's the domain of the criminal courts 'round these parts. So even if the so-called pinkos participate en masse and the document goes completely viral, Ford's staying put.

Back in 2009 a similar petition was formed to oust Mayor David Miller. Still available online, it topped out at 2157 signatures. One suspects that this petition will easily exceed that number (probably by the end of the day), but it doesn't really matter. If anything, stuff like this tends to buoy Ford and his supporters. As much as social media can be used to mobilize political effort, signing a powerless petition just isn't the best way to exercise one's democratic rights.

Photo from Rob Ford's Facebook page



rek / July 15, 2011 at 11:16 am
Anyone who thinks services can be maintained, let alone improved or expanded, without raising taxes doesn't understand anything. Things wouldn't be nearly as bad under Ford if he was willing to "significantly increase [our] taxes" – services and infrastructure on the chopping block or already chopped would have been spared!
zxc / July 15, 2011 at 11:21 am
1800 of 3 million. I'm surprised if any politician gives a damn. Plus with online petitions, people can easily sign multiple times.
s / July 15, 2011 at 11:22 am
too bad they can't petition him to go on a diet.
Louise / July 15, 2011 at 11:24 am
I'd like to see a petition started to bring back the car registration fee. That, bar none, was the dumbest thing Ford has done in light of our financial climate.
Joe / July 15, 2011 at 11:27 am
Perhaps if more people actually decided to vote and were well informed before doing so we wouldn't be in this mess! I wonder how many of those petition signatories voted for Blob Ford or did not vote at all.
s's enemy replying to a comment from s / July 15, 2011 at 11:29 am
Yeah S. Let's make fun of his weight. That's real productive. People like you make me sick to my stomach. You are the worst kind of intolerant.
Jimmysmack / July 15, 2011 at 11:30 am
This is why we're not in power, by the way. We just love defeat and futility. Fighting the good fight against an all too powerful enemy.

Our psychological flaws as progressives allowed an utter rube and his brother to ascend to power in this city with a cast of literal clowns like Mammoliti.

Once we get the failstick out of our butts, maybe we can start doing something about it.
Ford Supporter replying to a comment from s / July 15, 2011 at 11:31 am
There is a bigger problem here: people wasting time complaining without offering alternatives. Bike lanes slow traffic. Budgets need to get balanced. Why doesn't everyone stop complaining and start brainstorming?
Kylie / July 15, 2011 at 11:40 am
I bike to and fro every destination in this city. Big bike supporter! But, the Jarvis bike lane was in horrible condition - 9 out of 10 times I took a quiet side street to get from Adelaide to Bloor. Let them take Jarvis and lend the money they would have spent fixing the tiny bike lane to support other projects in the city. If they insert parking meters on Jarvis - isn't that extra income for our city? :)
Ratpick replying to a comment from Ford Supporter / July 15, 2011 at 11:44 am
Bike lane comment aside, I could not agree more.

And if you're not going to throw your support behind this mayor, then start thinking ahead to how to defeat his simpleton a$$, next time around.

Impeachment efforts are, quite frankly, a waste of energy.
lidz / July 15, 2011 at 11:45 am
how about a fundraiser to hire a hitman?
Nick replying to a comment from Ford Supporter / July 15, 2011 at 11:46 am
"Why doesn't everyone stop complaining and start brainstorming?"

If you've watched council lately you'll know that the brainstorming hasn't stopped, but that the right is completely stonewalling everyone in favour of unspecified and unquantified stakeholders. The question we should be asking is: who is really guiding Mammoliti's thumb?

You will have also heard that bike lanes do not slow traffic, because bicycles are traffic. Delineating road uses clearly only serves to make things simpler and easier for everyone who uses our roads.

You're right about the budget, though.
Joe Pants / July 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
You guys should have voted for me.
amy replying to a comment from Joe / July 15, 2011 at 11:58 am
hear hear! we shouldn't have elected the man in the first place, no point in a facebook petition now.
Realist replying to a comment from Ford Supporter / July 15, 2011 at 11:59 am
After the education cut, Toronto's property tax rate is 0.562% If we raised it to 0.608%, the budget would be instantly be balanced and you'd still be paying a lot less than someone in Ajax (1.381%) or Mississauga (0.963%).
Jenn / July 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm
I started the petition to see if i could get 10,000 people to agree that Ford is not the man for the job. If I succeed, I'm taking the petition to council to make the point that people care about their city. Even the folks that voted for Ford are getting screwed because he will increase taxes and reduce services.

While the petition has no legal power it can raise awareness. And that, my friends, is better than nothing.
Jane N Finch / July 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm
Lets have a petition banning Twitter and Facebook. Two "tech marvels" that couldn't be more annoying, self-obsessed and practically useless.
Olena / July 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm
Wether the petition is impotent or not, it's giving an outlet to many frustrated citizens who feel that they have no other way to voice their opinion and be heard. Will it get rid of Ford? Of course not, but it's getting attention - from and other media - and it's letting people who feel that City Council has let them down get their anger out in a more productive way. If this could lead to actual protest and activism that gets Council's attention, then it would be an effective tool.
Craig / July 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm
How about this for a solution:
Don't initiate a property tax freeze when you know you are going to be in a deficit situation the next year. Don't blow the previous gov'ts surplus to balance said budget. 2 years of modest proerty tax increases are better than one giant property tax increase.

Reduction of staff is also a good idea, but again you can't cut 3,000 jobs in one go and not have it affect services. A long stead decrease through attrition is a more sensible route.

Contracting out work: there are some things that can be provided by the public sector. Not necessarily any better, but cheaper. However, I doubt Plans Examiner is one of those positions.

Don't nickle and dime the budget, cancelling funding to Pride will not solve you budgtary woes, in fact a 1-3% reduction in the salaries for councilors and the mayor would cover that. What's the saying Penny wise and Pound foolish?
enema for s's enemy replying to a comment from s's enemy / July 15, 2011 at 12:08 pm
You're probably as fat as Ford. Ford is waaaaaaaaayyyyy fat. Two fatties. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Stick that up your ass and sing about it.
Gabe / July 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm
Online petitions are useless. There's no signature, no address. If want to impeach him then put the work in yourselves, go door to door explain to real residents your passion and what you hope to achieve.

FYI - I'm a Rob Ford supporter.
Mike replying to a comment from Jenn / July 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm
More than 10K people voted for candidates other than Ford during the last election, so I doubt it will be difficult to find 10K who don't think he's the man for the job now. No offence, Jenn, but this seems like an exercise in complete futility.
Gabe / July 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm
He needs to cut services and raise taxes. We all need to sacrifice in order to get the future rewards. Everyone always just wants the rewards. The city's in trouble we know this we need to cut back for the future gain.

If your own personal finances are in trouble and your in debt. Do you continue to acquire more debt and keep spending or do you get tough with yourself, cut back and pay down your debts?

Do you continue to throw good money after bad?
BH / July 15, 2011 at 12:21 pm
Do people really still believe in the power of online petitions, the laziest of ways to pretend you are doing something?

There's one way to deal with Ford and people will have to wait a few years to exercise it.
Jim / July 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm
The question is, is he at least better than Lastman? (
Antony / July 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm
jane replying to a comment from Gabe / July 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm
Gabe, of course there are going to be cutbacks in this city's scenario... But I think what's troubling is that Ford is already backing off the promises he made during his campaign.

Plus, creating an additional $7 million cost (of removing the Jarvis bike lane) at this time is pointless and cost-hungry.
Mike W / July 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm
I'm glad "signatures" was appropriately quoted.
Here's a few points

-if you want Ford out, find someone better first. E-Health Smitherman was not it.
-even if you could impeach him, an online petition is just a waste of time.
-Ford doesn't make decisions on his own, why not try impeaching the councillors you don't agree with?
rek replying to a comment from s's enemy / July 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm
Actually no, the worst kind of intolerance is toward someone for something they have no say in, such as race, physical deformity or mental illness, heritage, etc.

Ford's a fatass because he's lazy and eats a lot. He could change that very easily if he wanted. Even if he's genetically predisposed to corpulence, he's still choosing to cram his face and sit on his ass.
Matthew Fabb / July 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm
While I agree with the petition, I don't think it will amount to anything. I saw some people on Twitter linking to a petition to reverse the amalgamation of Toronto, so that old Toronto could have more control over the downtown core, but unfortunately that ship has long sailed and I doubt it will be reversed.

The following blog talks about targeting the so called "mushy middle" and naming it project 23:

Basically, ignore the hardcore Ford loyalists and focus on those in the middle who have been siding with Ford. Especially those who had narrow election wins and could possibly lose the next election if enough people turn on them. The site mentions the idea is still in it's infancy, but I think that's better area to focus on while waiting for the next election.
Paul / July 15, 2011 at 01:04 pm
It would have made more sense to target the mushy middle, particularly in the case of the bike lanes.

But the defence should have been lead by someone other than the bike union, as it makes it solely cars vs. bikes, and as it turned out, that's how the debate went.

I would have liked the defenders to be focusing on pre and post-change accident rates on Jarvis and the safety aspect, make the issue about road infrastructure and how the a 4 lane Jarvis was safer than 5 for cars and pedestrians.
Elaine replying to a comment from rek / July 15, 2011 at 01:17 pm
I think the best example of Ford's perceived laziness was when a few years ago, he openly complained in council about the "Ride for Heart" fundraiser because he got caught in traffic on the Gardiner on the weekend. The gall of it all!

Rob Ford hates healthy active people.
skeeter / July 15, 2011 at 01:23 pm
as much as i dislike Ford, i think this petition is annoying and ridiculous and merely provides the conservative right with more fodder for hating the left.
realityCheck / July 15, 2011 at 02:11 pm
Ford is an idiot... but so are the folks engaging in these kinds of tactics who are increasingly coming off looking as little more than petulant crybabies... these kinds of petitions mean squat.
Doomed / July 15, 2011 at 03:56 pm
Why do I imagine that "signing" the "petition" will just be helping our "council" decide where to implement service cuts?
Bob from Etobicoke / July 15, 2011 at 04:51 pm
Great shot of the skyline btw lol. Rob Ford doesn't get it. And I am not a downtown urbanite, but I love the city, a good mayor has to find a balance. He is fighting to turn Toronto in Peel Region, smh.
Peter / July 15, 2011 at 05:11 pm
We can't impeach him but we can delegitimize his mandate to be stupid. Somebody get in touch with the originator of this petition and get her to change the Goal of this petition
mike / July 15, 2011 at 05:46 pm
congrats Jenn for starting the petition. It will bring some awareness.
The best thing people can do is call your cauncil member over and over again demamnding that they dont become a yes man/woman for Ford
Simonyyz / July 15, 2011 at 05:49 pm
So, I signed it. E-activism is getting a bad reputation as lazy-person's activism, and the 'impeachment' language is both bombastic and provocative. Not the tone I would have chosen. certain moments e-petitions and their ilk have gotten the attention of our political leaders and altered their support for specific policies or legislation. UBB is the latest example. A sudden, surprisingly vigorous, online ruckus scared the federal government into acting.

And the thing about spontaneous, populist uprisings is, you never really know when they'll happen or what will spark them. Doris/Stockwell Day anyone? So I don't see the harm in taking a swing at sending a message of general discontent over Ford's policies to council members, the general public, or anyone else who will listen.
DoomedisDumb replying to a comment from Doomed / July 15, 2011 at 06:19 pm
Because you are delusional? Councilors cannot care less for the nameless and addressless constituency. If your councilors really wanted to check the waters, their barometer of choice is clearly interacting with those in their ward, perhaps on their porch step.
doomedisdoomed replying to a comment from Doomed / July 15, 2011 at 06:26 pm
Because you are delusional? I'm sure councilors really care about the nameless, addressless constituency. Plus, wouldn't it be wiser for your councilor, assuming that you do live in this city and hence have a say in our matters (which is a status one cannot determine through online petitions) which means you do have a councilor, to basically talk to their constituency and figure out what services matter for that community so when approaching the issue of cuts they take a finer and more finesse approach to it? oh yes, no to all cuts but when we have to cut, should we not prioritize and should this type of prioritizing not be representative?

I'm sure all this can be effectively communicated through an anonymous petition.
Simonyyz replying to a comment from DoomedisDumb / July 15, 2011 at 06:28 pm
Well, I don't think these forms of political expression as mutually exclusive.
I also write letters, vote, go to candidate debates, etc.

What's that saying - "I know that half my marketing budget is wasted. I just don't know which half."

E-petitions are a long shot, but it's a small investment.
dave / July 15, 2011 at 08:30 pm
I don't know Mr Ford and I have never met him but this forum reminds me of that saying " that democracy is the worst for of government until you know the others"
Adam Sobolak replying to a comment from lidz / July 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm
"how about a fundraiser to hire a hitman?"

Actually, if it weren't so fundamentally, nay, suicidally beyond the pale, a "Kill Rob Ford" movement almost shouldn't be that *un*likely, given the tensions in the air...
sdcf / July 16, 2011 at 12:03 am





Tat / July 16, 2011 at 05:49 am
I still dont see why TTC doesnt look for property sales as a way of revenue!

I mean.. many asia countries are doing this and it accounts for 2/3 of their profit.. and the fare is only 1/3 of their profit..
Dette replying to a comment from Louise / July 16, 2011 at 08:58 pm
Why would you even say the extra car fees be brought back? As a Toronto resident, I resent having to pay the extras when there are so many commuters NOT paying the same fees. It isn't just Toronto residents using the roads ... do your research and see how many commuters there are!! I pay enough taxes as it is and if you want to pay more - that's your problem
Greta / July 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Toronto can have it's own Arab Springs.
Fravj Trotz / July 28, 2011 at 11:16 am
I realize that the petition to impeach is powerless. However, it is still a statement. These Ford guys listen to on one but each other. We need to speak out in as many different forums as possible. I suggest everyone email all of the councillors about the cuts being proposed, and about the fact that there is no vision driving these cuts. It took me 10 minutes to email the entire council. we should be flooding the councillors with emails constantly. Karen Stint's Blackberry was full yesterday with 3000 emails. Everyone should be writing constantly. DO IT!
Nia / July 31, 2011 at 01:44 pm
How dare he suggest limiting library access. The library is a safe haven for children who are at risk and for lower income individuals to obtain free entertainment. Why don't we shut down elementary schools to save money. Forget traffic lights. Let's start policing ourselves to save funds!
Connie / September 12, 2011 at 10:54 pm
If we as democratic citizens of the municipality of Toronto cannot impeach an overbearing, dishonest and power hungry animal like Rob Ford who refuses to listen to the public needs and ideas for a better Toronto,then who do we need to talk to to change this law. Rob Ford and his circle of buddies are showing that they do not care about democracy and would certainly like a dictatorship instead!!!! There has to be a way to get him out of office before the end of term!
Roz replying to a comment from rek / September 17, 2011 at 01:15 pm
The only way to influence the outcome of the proposed cuts to services and the sellout of the port lands is to really put pressure on your councillor. Two Fords wield two votes so let your local bloke feel the pressure of numbers of tee'd off constituents who will be voting. Tell everybody you know to email, phone, tweet councillors with a bona fide, informed comment. Just bitchin' won't work. Petitions help but don't mean as much.
Alexander Duncan / October 27, 2011 at 10:49 am
What sort of legal change would permit the council to outst the mayor? Is there a constitutional document describing how the city government is organized? Who has the power to amend it? That's where the effort should be put, not a petition to do something legally impossible. Let's change the law itself and get rid of this embarrassment to the city!
P Johnston / February 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm
A petition may not work to oust Mr Ford but it certainly makes me feel better people are out there who disagree enough to take the time to vote.

Please lets ensure that there is a better candidate that captures our imagnination when Mr Ford's time is at an end!

Why can we not have a non-confidence vote of a Mayor?
Leila replying to a comment from rek / June 9, 2013 at 09:59 pm
Amen to that. FAIR taxation would also help. Check out the work of Michael Rachlis and Doctors for Fair Taxation:

there is also Lawyers for Fair Taxation. These are groups of people in the higher financial echelon who are standing up and saying they should be taxed more for their financial bracket. We do have a sliding scale right now, but poeple with incomes upward of 100,000 annually are not being taxed accurately.

Higher taxes would improve things greatly. However there are many ways in which our government is misspending money that could be used more efficiently. It is a major shame for all of us in Toronto that Ford will likely be in place until 2014's election (though as an optimist I still have a little hope for a resignation), because even though he will probably not accomplish anything he would like to, he is still causing damage to the budget, to morale, and stopping progress that desperately needs to happen. Things have been in decline since the Harris debacle and the formation of the megacity. That's another serious issue here, one which has resulted in the least urban mayor a city has ever seen. Hopefully people will wake up and exercise their right to vote here in the city this next time around. As someone in their mid twenties I will do my best to rally my generation!
Mario / November 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

Mayor Ford.

One of the local papers is running an ad for a clown.

Here are the qualifications.

preferrably oversize
must act and sound ridiculous
not easily embarrassed

Mayor Ford, they are waiting for your call.
Other Cities: Montreal