Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toronto councillor to Margaret Atwood on library closures: “get elected to office or pipe down”

Toronto councillor Doug Ford (brother of Toronto’s thuggish mayor Rob Ford) has attacked beloved Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood, saying he wouldn’t recognize her if she walked down the street, and that she should keep her opinions about planned Toronto library closures to herself. The councillor said that if Atwood wanted to comment on policy, “she should get herself elected to office or pipe down.” Doug Ford previously promised to privatise or shut down “everything that isn’t nailed down” in the city.

Atwood criticized Ford via Twitter, after Ford incorrectly stated that his district had more libraries than Tim Horton’s outlets (TH being a ubiquitous Canadian donut chain). Ford declared that a library he’s slated for closure in his ward is “unnecessary” though the Toronto Star reports that it circulates 96,328 books per year (another 16,550 are used in the branch) and serves 39,775 patrons a year. The 2006 census put his ward’s population at 53,660.

“Well good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don’t even know her. If she walked by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is,” said the councillor and advisor to his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, after a committee meeting on proposed cuts.

“She’s not down here, she’s not dealing with the problem. Tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected. And we’d be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood.”

Atwood, an activist on literary and human rights causes, waded into municipal politics in a minor way last Thursday.

It’s great to see Atwood standing up for libraries. She had previously compared Canada’s fair dealing laws (which are critical to the library system) to car theft.

Doug Ford blasts Margaret Atwood over libraries, says ‘I don’t even know her’

(via Beth Pratt) and Boing Boing.)

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