By: Adriana Di Santo
Toronto City Council has rejected a proposal to rename Centennial Stadium after Rob Ford, the late mayor and a former high school football coach.
The motion to rename the stadium was supported by current mayor, John Tory, but was controversial.
City Councillor Vincent Cristanti is disappointed with city council members who voted against the renaming.
“Rob Ford was bigger than life itself,” Cristanti said. “He was a city council and a mayor of our wonderful city. A mayor that always put people first.”
Cristanti said Ford did this in a way that was extremely sincere because he cared about the people of Toronto.
“He brought customer service and looking after our people to a whole new standard that is unmatched by any other politician,” Cristanti said.
“If anyone needs to be remembered in a special way, it’s him,” he said. “I was very angry at the results last night. It could’ve been avoided. Although Mayor Tory supported the movement he clearly knew that this was not going to pass council. It was very poorly handled, I am disappointed in council members,” Cristanti said.
The Ford family doesn’t appear to be taking the news easily either. Crisanti has a close relationship with the family, and he said they are also saddened.
“This is just another relentless attack on Rob, even when he’s not here,” Cristanti said. “Things happen in life and what goes around, comes around – it’s quite sad.”
“Some of the councillors who voted in favour were close to the Ford family,” Cristanti said. “Even Rob’s funeral – it was massive, thousands of people were there including many city councilors who voted against Rob. The hypocrisy is crazy, I don’t know how some of the councilors can live with themselves knowing they did this.”
The council members voted 11-24 against the proposal.
Although Tory was all for the idea, even putting his own politics aside, city council members weren’t on board.
Councillor Jon Burnside said that the city is constantly “memorializing” politicians.
“For me it wasn’t about Rob Ford,” Burnside said, “For me it was about the issue of constantly naming city assets after politicians.”
Burnside said he understands there are some people who perform better than others, but there should be a five-year interval before memorializing someone who has died.
“If you’ve done that good of a job than five years down the road [is] the time to consider it,” Burnside said.
Burnside did have his own personal feelings about Ford, both personally as well as professionally.
“Some of the things he did I agreed with, some of the other things he did I didn’t agree with,” Burnside said. “He was a nice guy on a personal level, however do I think he was an exemplary human being – which I think all politicians should be above everyone else.”
There were also votes to memorialize councillors Pam McConnell and Ron Moeser. Burnside said that he and another council member voted against memorializing any councillors.
“Everyone else besides Michelle Holland also voted against any kind of memorializing of Pam McConnell or Ron Moeser,” Burnside said. “So I would say given that there was only two of us who were consistently against Rob Ford and the other councilors, just based on that one can infer that we both think we shouldn’t be memorializing politicians all the time.”
There were also councillors who voted against Ford but instead voted for a McConnell tribute.
“I can’t speak for everyone on council so I’m not sure what everyone’s rational was,” Burnside said.
Dawn Morrison said that politics and nice people don’t mix. Morrison said the Ford family should have known they wouldn’t get their way with the proposal.
“I don’t necessarily think he did anything good enough to have a stadium named after him.”