Don Cherry introduces Mayor Rob Ford at city council
Hockey commentator’s racy comments overpower event
(Written for Town Crier Dec. 7)
Hockey commentator Don Cherry’s message was almost as colourful as his jacket as he introduced his friend Mayor Rob Ford in a ceremonial inauguration at city hall this afternoon.
Cherry stole the show with comments about the “left-wing pinkos” on council and in the media.
“I wore pink today for all the pinkos out there,” said Cherry, who couldn’t be missed in his fuchsia jacket.
He further chided the “the left-pinko media” who he says “ripped him to shreds” when it was announced he would introduce Ford at the ceremony.
The controversial character said he supports Ford who he describes as honest and truthful.
“He is like (new MP) Julian Fantino what you see is what you get.”
That feeling is mutual as Ford commented to reporters on Cherry’s remarks after the event.
“What you see is what you get. That’s Don Cherry,” Ford said.
Unlike his guest, Ford wasn’t partisan in his inaugural speech to council.
“It is an enormous honour and privilege to serve as your mayor,” said Ford.
He took the occasion to reiterate that customer service as the number one priority.
“It feels great to help people.”
Ford said transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government, and creating a transportation plan are also key priorities.
“We must understand that every dollar we spend … is a dollar earned by the taxpayer,” said Ford. “People work hard for their wages. There is no bottomless money pit.”
Before the speeches Ford posed for pictures with each of the 44 councillors. There were lots of hugs, smiles and handshakes with the mayor and councillors regardless of ideology.
Left-leaning councillors Gord Perks playfully pretended to punch Ford in the cheek as the mayor laughed and Glenn De Baeremaeker planted a kiss on Ford’s cheek.
Afterwards, the new mayor had a quick one-minute and 16 second media scrum with reporters.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We are going to get the city on its financial feet and get rid of the $60 car registration tax. I had a productive meeting with the Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) and today I had a productive meeting with the Premier (Dalton McGuinty), so things are going well. I can’t wait to get to work next week at the first council meeting.”
When asked about changes to Transit City, which was one of the issues he spoke to McGuinty about this morning, Ford ended the media scrum.
Today, Ford won his first vote on council, which was his picks for the Striking committee. Council unanimously endorsed his recommendations for the seven politicians who will review Ford’s picks for various agencies, boards and commissions.
Council will meet on Dec. 8 to vote on the committee’s recommendations.