Wednesday morning, once again citing an obligation to attend his family's own annual gathering at his cottage in Muskoka, mayor Rob Ford stated he will not be attending Toronto's Pride Parade.
While much has already been said this and last year about the mayor's obligation to attend given that the event is a huge financial boost to the city and celebrates the city's considerable gay population, there are in fact considerable benefits to having RoFo skip the festivities.
I can think of at least seven.
1. He clearly doesn't do parades very well.
About a week ago the mayor threw out his back throwing candy to children at an Easter parade. Indeed his injury was so substantial that he needed to duck out of a city council meeting early and abandoned his weekly weigh-in for his "Cut The Waist" challenge.
If children's candy can do such a number on the mayor's back, we wouldn't want him risking serious injury by attempting the same stunt with something as substantial as condoms or beads.
2. If he hadn't declined, angry lefty city politics bloggers would have nothing to talk about today.
3. Going might send a mixed message to the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
If Rob Ford were to attend the parade, the city's LGBT community might think that Rob Ford is suddenly concerned with the issues that effect them, which would be a departure from 10 years avoiding the parade as councillor, statements saying the city shouldn't fund "sexuality", his gaffe stating that only gay people and junkies get AIDS, and various suggestions from Ford allies during the mayor's term that funding for Pride might get cut. By not going, Ford's at least being consistent in his lack of support for the city's queer community. Suddenly changing streams might just be confusing to everyone.
And no one wants to be confused. It's a parade!
4. He could probably use the time off.
Let's be honest. Rob Ford doesn't have the easiest job in the world. Toronto Life just ran a cover story that calls him "the lonliest man in the city" and details the "weirdest mayorality in the history of Toronto," and The Wall Street Journal wrote up a story about Ford that likens his first year to "some weird reality show."
He's largely regarded as an ultra-divisive politician, his allies in city council seem to be abandoning him, his approval ratings are down following that whole transit debacle and all this is to say nothing of his looming conflict of interest trial and his losing battle to lose a few pounds.
In short, it's probably not too easy to be Rob Ford these days.
Maybe it's best for everyone if he can just sit on a dock and crush a few beers for the Canada Day long weekend.
5. Potential for Gravy.
I don't know that any floats in this year's parade necessarily plan on using gravy as part of their celebrations -- and let's be honest, it's totally possible -- but it's nice to have the option. If RoFO was there, it could be potentially awkward if his nemesis brown liquid makes any sort of appearence.
6. Mammo's got it covered.
Last year, city council ally Giorgio Mammoliti famously showed up with a camcorder to dig the scene at Pride's Dyke Parade. If anything happens this year worthy of Mayor Ford's attention, I'm sure Mammoliti can make him a copy of his recording.
7. And finally, Rob Ford won't be there.
The pride parade is a celebration -- and a crazy fun one at that. Do you really want arguably the least happy person in the city in attendance at a big party against his will?
Can you say buzz kill?
It's not like he's going to show up with a super soaker and start dancing in a convertible.
Rob Ford's attendance at Pride would be awkward, begrudging, and distracting.
And besides, with RoFo in Huntsville with the fam, there's zero chance we have to see him on the cover of The Sun in a wet t-shirt.
And for that we can all be grateful.
Follow Ben Johnson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Ben_T_Johnson