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Is Ford Fest 2013 an Illegal Campaign Event?
Robocalling and a larger venue suggest otherwise

Image via Varsity Tents

On Tuesday evening, Scarborough residents were robocalled on by the Ford family to promote Ford Fest, the family’s annual celebration of all things fun and Ford. The automated call was made on behalf of the Ford family, and promises “free food, free drinks, amusement rides for kids and entertainment for the whole family,” this Friday.

Not everyone’s convinced that the event is necessarily for the community, however. “(Ford has) never been interested in governing, it’s always been about campaigning – he’s just on the campaign trail,” Councillor Adam Vaughan said. And considering that campaigning before the official campaign period is a violation of the Municipal Elections Act, the question remains, is Ford pre-campaigning ahead of the 2014 election? 

Section 68.1.1 of the Act says that “The election campaign period begins on the day he or she files a nomination for the office under section 33.” As of now, the nomination period has not opened up – Ford has merely preempted it by pledging to run for reelection. 

Usually held at Ford’s mother’s North Etobicoke backyard, Ford Fest 2013 has been moved to the larger Thomson Memorial Park in Scarborough, an important election battleground in 2014. Organizers are anticipating up to 5,000 guests. Normally Ford Fest happens in September, but the summer date could be a calculated move to reach out to residents in a show of confidence that Ford’s capacities as mayor are as strong as they ever were, despite six members of his office leaving at the height of the alleged crack video scandal. Along with live music performances, Ford Fest typically consists of Ford and his allies, unified under the Ford Nation banner, reaffirming their commitment to the citizens of Toronto and comment on their work in City Hall, like his promise that property taxes will not increase in 2012.

What is abundantly clear is that this event is not and has not been merely a service to Ford’s constituents, but one that functions as a rally, offering a gathering of like-minded constituents and politicians the chance to consolidate their vision and reach out to potential voters. The premise of a privileged family contributing to their community is made flimsy and transparent by their heavy investment into promoting an event that is, for all intents and purposes, a chance for Ford to look and act like the Mayor that the people of Toronto so desperately need. 

[via Toronto Sun]


Vidal Wu is an intern at Toronto Standard. You can follow him on Twitter at @vidalwuu.

For more, follow us on Twitter at @TorontoStandard, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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