Elizabeth Church

… If you want to destroy civilization, you burn the libraries

Doug Ford, the blunt-talking Toronto councillor and brother to the mayor, is ratcheting up the cost-cutting rhetoric at city hall, vowing to support library closings

“Mr. Ford, a rookie councillor who has quickly gained a reputation for headline-grabbing statements, said Tuesday he would close a library in his ward “in a heartbeat,” characterizing a growing movement to save branches backed by Margaret Atwood as an “over-reaction,” led by “library groups.”

“Good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don’t even know her. She could walk right by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is,” said Mr. Ford

“She’s not down here. She’s not dealing with the problem,” he went on to say. “Tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected.”

“Mr. Ford figures there are five or six library branches within a two-mile area near his ward, which includes what he described as a little-used location in an industrial area.

“Asked if he would vote to close that branch he said, “Absolutely I would. In a heartbeat.

“And my constituents, it wouldn’t bother them because they have another library two miles one way and two miles the other way.”

“Ms. Atwood has devoted several tweets to the Etobicoke councillor, who got into hot water earlier this month by suggesting there are more libraries than Tim Hortons in his ward – a statement which proved to be an exaggeration.

“At Tuesday’s meeting, the library board voted to defer consideration of KPMG’s report…

“Library supporters applauded two members of the public who made presentations.

“I do not want the official Toronto city library bookmobile to become a Tim Hortons truck,” said Himy Syed, who argued Toronto needs many libraries to serve its diverse, multilingual population.

“If you want to destroy civilization, you burn the libraries.”

Elizabeth ChurchElizabeth Church | Toronto City Hall bureau chief
The Globe and Mail (07/26/2011)

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