July 9, 2013 2:52 pm

How Toronto Mayor Ford handled the crisis: social media reacts

Flooding on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto on July 8, 2013. (Adam Dabrowski/Global News)

Adam Dabrowski/Global News

TORONTO – An all-time one-day rainfall record was set in Toronto Monday evening, when water flooded major highways, neighbourhood homes, stopped subway service and necessitated a rescue of passengers from a flooded GO Train.

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While not nearly as dire as the consequences from June’s flooding in Alberta—120,000 people forced from homes, 22 local states of emergency and an estimate of 10 years to rebuild—the Toronto floods quickly elicited comparisons of  #stormTO to #abflood on social media.

At the heart of the issue was how Toronto’s much-criticized Mayor Rob Ford compared to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in the time of crisis.

Ford’s first criticisms came when the Toronto Mayor Ford account tweeted that the worst was over hours before the rainfall peaked, using the wrong measurement for rain, and deleting the tweet soon after.

Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale was quick to highlight the removal:

Things got worse for Ford when Toronto Sun reporter Don Peat described Ford’s location during the storm:

The mayor commented on his location in a press conference on Tuesday, saying he spent some time in his car before checking on his mother’s and neighbours’ flooded basements.

“I was in the car with my kids and my wife trying to get some information,” he said. “A lot of people were in their car, obviously trying to get some information.”

Although Torontonians had been urged to stay off flooded roadways, Ford’s actions contrast with those of Nenshi, who held multiple press conferences and provided frequent and detailed updates on his Twitter account throughout the Alberta floods. Nenshi, though sometimes criticized as pandering to the media, earned the nickname “Superman” for his efforts, and even inspired t-shirts with his face on them following the disaster.

As a result, many suggested Nenshi might be better suited to helping Toronto with the floods:

Though at least one called for some perspective Tuesday morning:

However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Ford’s Twitter stream was more active, particularly with tweets updating residents on the power outages:

With files from James Armstrong

© Shaw Media, 2013

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