If you're from some non-Toronto region of this country, you may best know Mayor Rob Ford as that guy who stars in all the breathlessly outraged stories your hipster Ontario friends post on Facebook -- not anymore. On Monday he was removed from office. Perhaps he should consider running for the Green Party. By my estimation we can thus anticipate a Green majority government sometime around... 6632 A.D.
What an exciting time to be a political addict in Canada. Who says Canadian politics is boring? People who aren't paying attention, that's who. First, the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was removed from office. Second, we find out that Mark Carney got headhunted to the U.K. And elections, you know, the best sport ever? There were three! And they weren't boring, at all.
Once in a while it's refreshing for us to have an example of integrity, and of those stepping over the line getting called out for it. So, I say thanks to Toronto's erswhile mayor, Rob Ford, for providing me with some concrete examples of how not to act.
Mr. Ford should not be treated differently than anyone else. I am not implying that he should be above the law. We should be fair when applying the severity of our legal system. Other politicians who have been involved in much more serious offences should have been treated as such. With respect, I consider the sentence against Rob Ford to be a little too harsh.
Ever since that first tender cry of Rob Ford, a sound that can only be described as a siren being sped up through a yak bak repeated by a smarmy parrot yelling at you through an intercom -- shrill and persistent and hammering down on your senses -- we were suddenly all awake, galvanized to this frothing renegade on our radar. Everything he did was newsworthy, on all the national front pages. The whole country was paying attention to Toronto, some saying we finally got what we deserved. Ford was, in his own fumbling toward ecstasy sort of way, successfully rallying the entire country.
On November 26, 2012, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was found guilty of breaking provincial conflict of interest law, and has been ordered to leave the mayoral office in 14 days. He can and will appeal the ruling, and likely will. Here are some of the lessons I have learned from the troubled and short reign of mayor Rob Ford.
On November 11, 2012, Rob Ford was officially removed from office for violating the Municipal Conflict-of-Interest Act. A humble leader would have simply paid back the money before it became an issue. A careful leader would have taken the time to familiarize themselves with the rules and regulations, before taking the highest office in the city. Rob Ford has truly been the master of his own demise, and his pathetic downfall was not due to any left-wing conspiracy -- it was simply the last, wheezing gasp of a mayor who tried to do one too many end-runs around the rules.
A court ruling booted Rob Ford from his job as Toronto Mayor, declaring he violated the Municipal Conflict-of-Interest Act. In just another example of Ford putting football before politics, the charge arose because of a council vote to recommend Ford repay donations he solicited for his private football foundation using official city letterhead. Many Toronto citizens (and a particular media outlet) have a contentious relationship with Ford, whether it be over his decision to repeatedly ditch the city's gay pride parade, his questionable driving habits, or his explosive temper. While some may be mourning, many more are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Here are some reactions.
Municipal politicians are in positions in which they may abuse the public trust. These controversies should be a launching point for a broad discussion of how to improve municipal governance. Canadian cities need a new model, and for accountability, transparency, and efficiency, there is no better governance model than that in Phoenix, Arizona.
Earlier today, Toronto City Councillor Georgio Mammoliti caused a stir when he discounted an independent report by Toronto's esteemed Ombudsman, Fiona Crean. In her report, she found that the appointments to city agencies and boards had been "compromised" by political influence. As a public servant, Mammoliti has advocated ideas that are disturbing at best. In a heated exchange, Councillor Perks spoke for all of us when he told Coun. Mammoliti, "Shame on you -- get out of this chamber" and called him a "bully."
You've given the media so much to comment on: missteps, mixed messages, leaderless moments in city hall, all topped off with the cherry of antagonism. Of course they don't like you. Your job is to be the face and the leader of the city in which we all live, and sometimes, you're not so good at it. They are very good at their job, which is reporting on you.
On a recent radio segment, Doug Ford boldly proclaimed, "There's no one that helps black youth more than Rob Ford," followed by, "These are kids who have nothing." If Mayor Ford really does hold the view that the black youths he helps have "nothing" without his football program, he is only furthering the sentiment that no matter how hard black people and communities work, they still have "nothing" if their hard work and perseverance is not supported by a white saviour.
Only a few years ago, if you'd attacked a politician for his weight, or complained about where she ate her dinner, it would be seen as poor form. Reporters could write about a politician's views on taxes and trade, but the burgers and buns on his dinner plate were off limits. How times have changed.The fight against obesity has mobilized a growing number of public health zealots, who've taken a punitive, selective and judgmental approach to anti-obesity policy.
In the wake of reports that Toronto's mayor has been distracted at the wheel, only one question remains: why won't Rob Ford use a driver? One look at his signature provides the only answer that hasn't been put forward, an answer provided not by his aides who are rebuffed when they offer to take the wheel, and not by puzzled journalists who conjecture about the issue.
Earlier Tuesday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught by a member of the public while he was reading and driving on the Gardiner Expressway. Last year, there was also another accusation of the mayor driving while talking on the phone. The mayor should accept a publicly paid driver immediately and if his focus is still to save and advocate for the taxpayer -- he should live his words and even consider paying for it himself.
As a Canadian, I often balk at examples of racism and discrimination so explicit in American politics.In the fallout of Toronto's recent shootings, however, Mayor Rob Ford and Minister Jason Kenney's comments about reviewing "immigration law" (Ford) and "foreign gangsters" (Kenney) are guilty of exactly what members of Mitt Romney's team have done -- attempting to turn certain communities into "others" who are somehow less American or Canadian because they are racial minorities.