Powerless petition seeks to impeach Rob Ford
An 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