As mayor, I am often asked what the key ingredients are that make Markham one of the most vibrant and successful municipalities in Canada. The answer is simple. Diversity is Markham's strength. Professionals, business executives, retail operators and skilled trades persons come to our city from all over the world.
Even though the absence of the home team in the 102nd Grey Cup may disappoint fans in Vancouver, the city's mayor is still upbeat about the CFL championship game that takes place this weekend. It's an event that will entertain residents and visitors alike, mayor Gregor Robertson promised during a press conference on Wednesday.
You know that feeling when you're hurried to get to work or an appointment downtown but the subway trains are all packed? So you fidget with angst until a less jam-packed car zooms into the station? Now, multiply that stress by 20 times. That's what it feels like to be a disabled man or woman waiting for a subway train in Toronto, at any time of day.
In 2012, referring to council, Doug Ford said: "I can't get anywhere with these monkeys." Was that a term of endearment? How can Mayor Ford expect to get anything done at City Hall when you use such language? Oh, that's right. Since then, he mostly hasn't. No need to answer. When you told the father of an autistic child who rightly and democratically challenged your views to "go to hell," what were you thinking?
I've even taken to exclusively wearing my Blue Jays hat on tour. Sadly, when people see it they connect it with one person: Rob Ford. Since Mayor Ford has been stripped of virtually all of his power, I thought he may have some time to listen to a fraction of the great music that I think defines Toronto.
People keep saying "Toronto deserves better." But there's more to it than that. Ford Nation deserves better. Forget your politics for one second. Forget left or right or suburban or urbanite. This guy shouldn't be your guy, no matter which side of the fence you fall off of during a drunken stupor. Ford Nation should want better than Rob Ford, because Ford Nation should be better than Rob Ford. If our leaders are supposed to be shining examples of the people they represent, surely Ford Nation can find someone else. Not just for Toronto, but for themselves.
The question of how cities regulate night-time behaviour is a very old one, but it has emerged as the focus of innovative thinking in the last two decades. The conflict between a growing market of young people demanding late-night entertainment and gentrified homeowners complaining about noise is being handled in various ways across the country.
Ford used his party time on the Danforth to seek the spotlight while posing for countless pictures. He knew all eyes were on him because he was smiling for the attention. He knows the cloud of suspicion that surrounds him is darkening the city's reputation and causing dysfunction within city council. He honestly doesn't even seem to care.
Living in Vancouver, I'm no Rob Ford fan. I'm not even sure what that is. Media outlets across Canada and around the world reported on what the Star published while their reporter Robyn Doolittle has gone Hollywood. Drug dealers, no video proof, there's nothing right about this whole thing. Folks, prepare yourself for the new normal.
I've been told that it's impolite to say "I told you so," so I won't say that exactly. But given today's divisional court ruling overturning Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's removal from office, I will say this: "The lawyer I quoted told you so." That lawyer had warned that the lower court judge was wrong to interpret the law as empowering council to force Mayor Ford to pay out over $3,000 for a code of conduct violation. And today the divisional agreed. Do you think Rob Ford is unfit to lead Toronto? Then begin a campaign for a better candidate for 2014. But don't use the legal system to undo a decision of Toronto's voters.
Despite the grand conspiracy pushed forth by Toronto's anti-high school football illuminati, Rob Ford the World's Greatest Mayor is keeping his job. Sure, Rob Ford may be an angry drunken high school football coach who also just happens to be the mayor, but he's our angry drunken football coach. If you're not one for performance comedy, we can kind of understand why you might be upset about Big Dawg Rob's return, but here at VICE, we would like to to welcome the gravy man back with open arms.