CTVNews.ca Staff
Date: Thu. Jun. 7 2012 7:27 PM ET
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has lashed out against the surprise vote to pass a citywide plastic bag ban, calling it “the dumbest thing council has ever done.”
The motion to ban plastic shopping bags in the city was introduced by Coun. David Shiner Wednesday during a debate originally about scrapping the mandatory five-cent fee charged for plastic bags.
Shine’s motion passed in a vote of 24-20. The ban will come into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
Ford called in to a local radio show Thursday morning, to express his surprise and dismay.
Ford said that the ban will lead to the city “getting sued,” and come with other costs too.
“This just hurts the taxpayer, it hurts the economy,” he said. “It hurts everybody.”
Ford also told listeners he felt “sorry” for Shiner, who proposed the motion, saying Shiner will have a tough time facing his constituents come election time.
“David Shiner goes out and moves this motion, I feel sorry for him. That’s going to be hard to explain,” Ford said. “We have to get rid of some of these councillors.”
Ford also pointed a finger at the role he believes public engagement, or the lack thereof, played in the decision.
“It’s up to the taxpayers, it’s up to listeners,” he said. “They have to be more engaged and they’re just not and it’s frustrating when stuff like this happens.”
There was no staff or public consultation on the issue before the bag ban was first introduced, and then passed, at the same council meeting.
The surprise motion left councillors allied with Ford decrying the bag ban on Thursday.
“After you think about it, you’re still scratching your head that we would make such a significant decision without looking at the implications,” said Counc. Denzil Minnan-Wong.
Coun. Doug Holyday said that the ban could lead to lawsuits against the city because of the lack of consultation.
The mayor said it would be “difficult” to expect a reversal of the ban, considering it would take the support of two-thirds of council, or 30 councillors, to reopen the issue.
Some councillors who supported the ban include key allies of the mayor, including Shiner himself.
Not everyone is upset with the ban, though.
A mandatory fee charged for plastic bags, which came into effect in 2009, already reduced single-use bag consumption by 50 per cent.
This is the next step, said Jo-Anne St. Godard, executive director of the Recycling Council of Ontario.
“The mindset is already there and we know that the behaviour has already been changed, so we think this out-right ban it just a natural next step,” she said.
Jennifer Aquino, a manager at a Naot shoe store, said many customers bring their own re-useable bags already.
Councillors also voted in favour of removing the mandatory five-cent bag fee, passing that motion with a vote of 23-21.
This means the plastic bag fee will be removed as of July 1, 2012, before the bags are banned altogether six months later.
Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20120607/ford-bag-ban-dumbest-thing-cou…