Post-Ford Classical Toronto?

The Toronto Star has an interview with Norm Kelly, the deputy mayor of Toronto who has basically inherited most of Rob Ford’s powers  (I’m assuming I don’t have to explain Toronto’s mayor to the world, judging from talk from various folks) after Toronto City Council basically stripped the latter thereof. Inter alia:


You have become known, or are becoming known, for your historical analogies.


You’ve made the Rome analogy — the two consuls. Is there a historical figure that, in this role, you see yourself as like, in some way?

Nooo. But: maybe yes, in a small way. If I could meet Alexander the Great — did you see the movie Alexander?


Oh. Have you read much about him?


Well, here he is. About five-foot-four, blond hair, one eye blue, one eye brown, a fearless warrior. I mean, he led his army into battle. Brilliant strategist. He loved fighting. But at the same time, he carried The Iliad with him — it was under his pillow when he slept at night. And he was a very thoughtful guy. He thought about things. I think one of the reasons he may have been bumped off by the Macedonian generals is that he began to think of a culture in the Middle East that was Hellenic, a blend of Hellenic and Eastern cultures. And a lot of historians have analyzed that period. And so I’d love to see life through his eyes.

The other one is Octavius. Augustus. Do you know much about him?

I don’t.

Everyone knows Julie. Big Julie. Julius Caesar. The republic is in decline; the leading politicians have personal armies and they’re beating the crap out of each other; thousands of lives are being lost. Areas devastated.

Caesar, obviously, people thought was reaching for the crown, or for a power that would pull everything together and end the republic. Octavius, his nephew, outsmarts Antony and all the other high-profile guys, and he establishes the empire — except he did it in the guise of the republic. He knew how to work with people; the only title he held was princeps, prince. And you know what that means? First speaker. And so he just stood in the Senate and said “Geez, I’m just like you guys, and I don’t have any — yeah, I speak first, but what the heck.” So just to get his understanding of what motivates people and how you react to them.

I think those two guys — one with flair and a dramatic sense of life and zeal, and the other guy cautious. […]

For the two consuls ref:


The experienced politician — who has said determining the property tax increase is one of his top priorities — again assumed a diplomatic tone on Thursday, when asked about working with Ford on the budget.

“The Romans built the most successful empire, one of the biggest empires in history, under the leadership of two consuls occupying the same seat,” he said. “If they can make it work, then we should be able to do it.”


FWIW … worth noting the rare Classical references in a Canadian context. They don’t happen often …

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