It’s a well known fact that the Fords have a lot of wastewater (I mean, how can you not when you ingest that much alcohol and illicit drugs??). But now there’s a new type of wastewater ruining the Fords’ dinner parties, and it may have led to money coming back to the Ford family company.
The city of Toronto has a municipal wastewater treatment program wherein companies are charged for the volume of a variety of junk in their wastewater. Phosphorus, suspended solids, city by-laws, etc. It’s nothing too fancy, and there’s a $500 minimum if you’re part of the program but you don’t have enough waste for additional fees.
In November 2012, the general manager of Toronto Water, Lou Gironimo, prompted Councillor Mike Layton to change the fee system to charge companies for each mineral which exceeds the limits, rather than only charging them for whichever exceeded by most. On it’s face the proposal makes sense, so obviously Rob Ford would oppose it. And oppose it he did.
The companies involved in the program would have had to pay a couple of hundred, or maybe even a few thousand dollars more had the change gone through. It’s really a trivial amount.
The kicker is that in July 2012, Deco Adhesive, the Ford family company of which Doug is the president and Rob a director, joined the program, and may have suffered a loss had the amendment gone through. This information was only revealed last week, and now people are fuming.
Mike Layton said that “they should be declaring [the conflict of interest]. It’s pretty simple.” In a real functioning democracy, instead of voting on a bill where your financial situation could change depending on the outcome, you politely abstain from the vote. We live in Canada, so this could not be reasonably expected.
So, what will the Fords say in their defence?
- We didn’t know. Doug Ford says that he had no idea that Deco was part of the program. He’s just the president of the company and also a city councillor. It’s almost like it’s an essential part of both his jobs to know this.
- It’s a conspiracy. Mike Layton is Olivia Chow’s step-son. Obviously then, anytime he speaks publicly is equivalent to biased support for the Chow campaign. I don’t think I even need to dignify this one with an answer.
- We wouldn’t make any money anyway. This is likely true. Deco was paying the minimum payment and their actual fees likely wouldn’t change. It just doesn’t matter. It’s still a conflict of interest.
- They’re so mean to us. Doug Ford says it’s a “witch hunt,” and that this is yet another attack on the Fords’ credibility. I’ll be the first to say that some of the other “conflict of interest” charges against the Fords have been bunk. This is not the case here: The President and a director of Deco Adhesive voted against a bill that would potentially see Deco’s fees increase. It’s clear cut.
The kicker is that they likely went into the vote thinking that it would be tight, but in the end the amendment lost 22-18. Both of them could have abstained and they would have been fine. It makes you wonder whether the wastewater is the tainted sludge destroying Toronto, or the liquid in the sewage system.