During 2010 campaign, Rob Ford told voters he would keep 5-cent bag fee
The city-mandated 5-cent fee Toronto retailers charge customers for plastic shopping bags was not part of Mayor Rob Ford's 2010 election platform. Ford didn't like that the fee imposed under David Miller went straight into merchants' pockets, but was not thought to have taken a strong stand on the fee's future.
But a reader pointed us to this audio from an Oct. 20, 2010 debate with Joe Pantalone and George Smitherman, moderated by John Tory. Five days before the election, candidate Ford said: "The five-cent bag tax, I haven't said I'm going to eliminate it but I'm going to put it towards some sort of environmental program to educate people about the environment. Putting it in the pocket of the owner of a convenience store or something, that defeats the purpose. It's not helping. There's less plastic going to our landfills, which is good, but you know what, why is it going into their pocket? Lets put it into some sort of environmental program that will help educate people about the environment and take it from there."
Then, one month after taking office, Ford said he wanted to kill the fee.
Earlier this month, Ford said: "This bag tax has been around too long." Later, he led his executive committee in voting to do kill it.
What Ford was talking about on the eve of the 2010 election sounds a lot like what Councillor Michelle Berardinetti is saying now -- keep the plastic-reducing fee but find a way to aim it at the environment. She wants to start an incentive program to get big retailers diverting some of their bag profits to green initiatives including the city's tree canopy.
Council is expected to decide the bag fee's future at its June 6-7 meeting.