The City of Toronto, like any major city, is facing major problems. There is poverty, unemployment and in certain rough sections of the city, murders and violence. There is serious gridlock. The transit system is over used and in need of repair. The city's overall infrastructure is decaying and is also in need of massive amounts of funding that the City itself cannot afford.
Notwithstanding all these urban ills, the Toronto Star, recently devoted its front page to the bizarre story of what I have dubbed Tuchusgate.
Here's what happened: Women's Post publisher and former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson alleged that at an evening public function, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford "grabbed my ass" (as she put it) and uttered inappropriate comments about his wish that Thomson had been in Florida with him because his wife wasn't there.
In another article, the Star reported that the Mayor denied all these allegations.
The liberal Star is no fan of Mayor Ford's and seems to take great pleasure in covering -- at length and in depth -- all of his troubles.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun, which is more of a tabloid rag, seemed to get its own great pleasure from issuing a large front page headline reading "Assgate." The more right-wing Sun included comments from Mark Towhey, Ford's chief of staff, which made Thomson's allegations seem less credible.
This is a classic "he said/she said" allegation and defense scenario.
I do not know whom to believe.
But this matter suggests a few things.
Toronto politics is a really dirty business. And the greater city of Toronto is still very polarized between those who support and love Mayor Ford -- "Ford Nation" -- and those who cannot stand him and will do practically anything to get rid of him before the next election.
Sadly, I tend to think that "politics" played a large role in Thomson's going public with the allegation about Ford groping her.
If Thomson was groped by Ford, she should have gone to the police and pressed for charges of sexual assault to be laid against the Mayor. And what if Thomson was only interested in an apology? There was still no need for her to go on her Facebook page and tell all her FB friends about these alleged incident, then to be interviewed by various newspapers and talk shows about it. She could have gone quietly to Mayor Ford and sought an apology from him.
Instead, she sought to embarrass Ford publicly. Perhaps to bring him down a notch. Maybe even to boost her public profile and the circulation of her paper. All under the guise of promoting and defending women's rights.
My Facebook friend Rob Davis dug up an old video of John Turner, the Liberal candidate for prime minister in 1984, who was caught patting women's bums when greeting them on the campaign trail. Turner's bum patting was the beginning of the end of his campaign. He came across as a sort of "immature private-school boy" who had somehow had missed out on the women's movement of the '70s and '80s. (Here is the CBC link to the famous Turner bum patting of Iona Campagnolo, the female Liberal President who apparently had to take being groped by Turner, for the Liberal Team.)
As I said, politics can be a dirty and slimy business.
I think Rob Davis's point in resurrecting the Turner bum-patting was to remind us that such behaviour can also be laid at the backdoor of silly old white Liberal men, as well.
In other words, buttheads, like confirmed and alleged buttpatters, come in both Tory Blue and Liberal Red.