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LEAKED: Rob Ford's Modest Proposals for Red Tape Awareness Week
Found scribbled on a crumpled scrap of paper in a garbage can outside city hall

This morning Mayor Rob Ford proclaimed January 21 – 25 to be Red Tape Awareness Week. Cutting red tape is definitely part of Ford’s mandate to reduce the size and cost of government and it remains a thorny issue for Toronto’s small business owners. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says that small Canadian businesses pay just under $6000 per employee to comply with government regulation — that’s about 45 per cent more than small businesses in the US – and regulation costs the Canadian economy about $31 billion.

At a press conference, Ford and some of his city council colleagues touted some of the measures that his administration has taken to reduce the burden of over regulation on businesses – like allowing licensed businesses to pay some of their fees online instead of in person – and outlined some of the changes they hope to make in the future, including streamlining building approval processes. Most importantly, the mayor and his colleagues used scissors to cut a “ceremonial band of red tape” to send a message to any would-be tape applicators out there. Red tape? We’re cutting it. It’s all very commendable and only slightly innocuous. Combined with last week’s budget that did not rely on the previous year’s surplus, Ford’s Assault on Red Tape amounts to a pretty solid platform for a re-election campaign.

But leave it to gaffe-master in chief Rob Ford to steal his own thunder. Toronto Standard has obtained what appears to be an internal memo from Ford’s office with a list of proposed red tape cuts along and pro-business talking points, complete with hand-written notes (shown below in brackets). Our sleuths found the memo crumpled up in a garbage can outside City Hall so read into that however you like, but frankly, whoever wrote this should be embarrassed.

  • Eliminate the limit of two (2) pinball machines per amusement establishment. Pinball might just be the future of entertainment – who’s to say? Who are we to tell amusement establishment operators they can’t offer pinball? Red tape is unfairly TILTING the pinball industry out of favour with the markets. Allowing unlimited pinball machines will be a huge BONUS for small business.
  • Lift the moratorium on Designated Vending Area permits for the downtown core and allow Food Trucks to park wherever they want. Permit fees for food trucks amount to GRAVY flowing into city coffers that could be FLOWING into residents mouths and business owners  pockets. Red Tape is STAPLING our stomachs closed for business. (Note: This analogy makes sense because tape and staples are both office supplies.)
  • Remove the requirement for paid duty police officers for basic road work and construction. Don’t make business owners and taxpayers feed the PIGS. Let job creators BRING HOME THE BACON. (Is this offensive to cops? Please investigate.)
  • Extend “last call” at city bars past 2 am to allow alcohol to be sold into the early hours of the morning. Laws are arbitrarily constricting liquor sales. Less RED TAPE more RED STRIPE (more booze examples: Johnny Walker RED LABEL, RED WINE, RED CAP STUBBIES… Can we think of any more? Google it.)
  • Over regulation? More like over-REGURGITATION. As in barf. That’s what I do when I see red tape.
  • Lift the ban on dragging a dead horse down Yonge Street on Sundays. The Horse Funeral Bros. and Uptown Dog Food Co. are just two of the dozens of local companies seriously affected by this arcane law. 24/7 production is a necessary component of all dead horse-related industries. Let’s get rid of the red tape and let’s see more RED STREAKS OF HORSE BLOOD on Yonge Street. (Too graphic? Or not graphic enough? We need to repeatedly hammer home this message vis a vis dead horses.)
  • Allow residents to keep monkeys as pets — this frivolous law is hampering the city’s fledgling monkey-sized coat industry. (LOL this is cute)
  • Eliminate the requirement for public consultation for casinos in Toronto. This pesky HEADACHE has thus far prevented the launch of a SINGLE casino in our great city, floating, mega or otherwise. A casino will boost Toronto’s chances to attract investment from abroad. Nothing says “wise business investment” like the glittering neon lights of a thousand slot machines.
  • High taxes and red tape remain the biggest impediments to small business in Toronto. We need to cut taxes in HALF with the SCISSORS OF AUSTERITY. Marxists have KIDNAPPED the entrepreneurial spirit and metaphorically duct-taped it to a chair in the ECONOMIC BASEMENT. What colour is that tape? OH YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT’S RED. Big Government has clipped the wings of our ENTREPRENEURIAL EAGLES and only the power of conservatism can liberate these BUSINESS FREEBIRDS. For too long this fair city has suffered beneath to crippling weight of TOO MANY RULES. It’s time to let FREEDOM REIGN and put the economic steering wheel back into the hands of our most trusted community members: PROFIT SEEKERS. (Wow. I am in tears. That was beautiful.)
Again, we have no way of knowing if Ford will follow up on any of these proposals or if they are even representative of his views at all. Who knows? They could just be the ramblings of some fool with access to a computer. But here at Toronto Standard, we report the news, and we definitely didn’t make any of this up to make anyone look silly.

____

Michael Kolberg is an editor at Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter for jokes @mikeykolberg.

For more, follow us on Twitter at @torontostandard and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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