Atwood on Ford fight: 'I don't need it' - 2011-08-25
In between the zingers she directed at the men she has called "Twin Fordmayor," at a news conference organized by the librarians' union, Margaret Atwood insisted she doesn't relish her ongoing battle against Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford, who are not twins. "I don't need it in my life, no," she told the Star after the news conference. "But as I said, I didn't start it. I retweeted a petition, then other people made these comments. I didn't make them."
A moment later, she added: "I do have other things to do in my life. But once they start, of course, then you have to. . . " Doug Ford inadvertently turned the celebrated Canadian novelist into the de facto leader of the battle against cuts to Toronto's library system. After she endorsed an anti-cuts online petition and mocked Ford's assertion that his ward has more libraries than Tim Hortons restaurants, Ford told reporters: "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." On Thursday, Atwood joined eight other Canadian writers for the launch of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union's "Why My Library Matters to Me" essay and video contest.
She began her remarks as follows: "Hello, my name is Margaret Atwood. You may not recognize me, but that's okay, because this is not about me." The writers each made heartfelt statements about the value of libraries. Before he got to his, mystery novelist and former Star funnyman Linwood Barclay expressed mock excitement that he had "finally" learned what Atwood looked like. "Sometimes authors' profiles are not as high as they should be, or we would like them to be. In fact, I have a solution to that. I have brought with me today application forms for all of us here on the platform — applications to join the Lingerie Football League," Barclay said. Doug Ford's daughter, Krista, is the captain of Toronto's LFL expansion team. Library union president Maureen O'Reilly also took a shot at Ford. Introducing Judy Fong Bates, whose Midnight at the Dragon Café is the library system's "One Book" selection for 2011, O'Reilly said: "Maybe it will be the one book Doug Ford reads this year." Winners of the contest will get lunch and a "literary-themed outing" with one of the writers. Other than Atwood, Barclay and Fong Bates, they are: Michael Ondaatje, renowned author of The English Patient; fellow Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam; Anna Porter; Joy Fielding; Sylvia Fraser; Robert Rotenberg; and Susan Swan.