Toronto Mayor Rob Ford rejects 3-per-cent pay raise

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

It's good to see a politician walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

Toronto city council is getting a 3-per-cent pay increase next week as part of an automatic cost of living increase, but refreshingly, mayor Rob Ford will be rejecting it.

The mayor's salary was set to rise to $172,803 from $167,770, while councillors' pay is scheduled to increase to $102,608 from $99,620, according to a briefing note sent to councillors this week and obtained by the Globe and Mail.

The pay increases, which are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, are the first raises for the city's elected officials in more than 18 months.

[ Related: Rob Ford goes back to work after health scare ]

This isn't the first time Ford has led by example with regards to fiscal frugality.

Last month the mayor hammed it up in front of Sun News cameras cutting up his free Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) admission passes — a perk given to all city councillors.

Complimentary CNE midway passes and a free, 18-day unlimited parking pass also got chopped on his desk before he ordered staff to send the shredded passes back to the attraction organizers with a letter questioning the "gravy train" freebies.

"This is what the gravy train is all about and this is obviously the gravy train is still alive and well down here because they are just giving it out," Ford said.

"It burns me up, I've been fighting this for 12 years now. Some of the [agencies, boards and commissions] that's our biggest problems ... You put people on there, you think they are going to lead the charge and they don't, they just turn a blind eye to it. We'll have to make some changes until we get people on there that will stop this."

[ More Political Points: Jean Charest considers suing CBC over allegations ]

While Ford campaigned on a promise to end government waste, much of the media attention bestowed upon him has been for his many, many, many questionable comments and behaviours.

And he certainly faces more challenges ahead including a $2.6 billion debt, a perceived gang and gun problem and major transportation issues.

But give credit where credit is due.

While a $5,000 pay increase and couple hundred dollars worth of fair passes are negligible in value compared to the City's budget,  Ford did campaign on a platform of fiscal common sense and, on that, he's leading by example.

You could even call him a role model.

That's right — Rob Ford, a role model.