Rob Ford Won't Declare State Of Emergency During Ice Storm; Will Retain Power As Result

While it’s no longer surprising when Toronto Mayor Rob Ford does something disgraceful, his latest move has the potential to be disgraceful in a creative new way. Due to a massive ice storm, hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents are freezing and in the dark. However, Ford won’t declare an official state of emergency, despite his own admission that the city is experience “the worst storm in Toronto’s history.”

Is this because, as Ford says, “the worst weather is over?” Perhaps, although that’s cold comfort to the the roughly 250,000 people without power. It’s also possible, though, that he’s not declaring a state of emergency because doing so would strip him of his authority to handle the response, and hand power over to the deputy mayor.

“A state of emergency is not needed at this time,” Ford explained at a press conference Monday. “You don’t want to cry wolf sometimes.”

Only Ford knows what’s going on inside his head, and even that’s questionable. It’s possible that he’s being sincere: Two Toronto City Councillors who are themselves without power said that a state of emergency isn't necessary, and the city manager agreed. On the other hand, four other councillors have asked Ford to declare one, as doing so would free up additional resources from the province to help residents combat the storm.

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Following accusations that he'd smoked crack, hit his wife, driven while drunk, threatened murder on video, and in general engaged in chronically irresponsible behavior, Ford was asked to resign by all but two members of the city council. But the mayor refused, and so the city council voted in November to strip him of most of his mayoral powers instead. This included a provision that gives the deputy mayor authority over handling the government’s response to a state of emergency, which could explain why he’s reluctant to do so during this ice storm. What a noble way to ring in the holidays.