I recently delivered a TEDxTalk in Toronto's Distillery District, inspired by the event theme "invented here." I wanted to talk about politics, but I knew if I did that, I'd likely lose the audience. So I explored the reasons behind the yawn reflex when someone mentions politics: I titled my talk "How to Hate Politics."
You just can't keep Rob Ford out of the news. This past week alone, he's been the answer to a Jeopardy! question, a punchline on the late night shows, and - oh, yes - the star of a brand new video!
If you plan on taking a selfie in your boxers exposing your Anthony Weiner, getting caught picking up a prostitute, smoking crack or anything else that may land you as the question in Jeopardy, then you are no longer the king in the king's court, you have become the jester; and not even Disney has made a movie depicting a jester becoming king, that would just be too absurd.
We Canadians pride ourselves on not being as easily wound up as our big brother to the South. So maybe it's a Canadian thing -- writing people off. Maybe the pejorative, hipster phrase "whatever" was originally "whatever eh"?
You grow even fonder of your city when you've travelled abroad, I remember returning from a trip overseas and almost kissing the ground when I landed ...
Currently in Canada, Senators, Supreme or Federal Court judges, and privy councillors are allowed to use the honorific of "Honourable." The trio of senators who have been suspended without pay -- Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau -- all retain their honorific titles of "The Honourable Senator" while under suspension. Stripped of their salaries, offices and budgets, it seems oddly Canadian to allow them to retain these clearly meaningless titles. So should we in Canada also move to do away with honorific titles completely? Should there be no more "Honourables" or "Worships" at all?
Relieved of most of his civic responsibilities, Rob Ford is occupying his time by campaigning for re-election and torturing the premier. He's got her over a barrel, and he knows it. Premier Wynne, on the other hand, has nothing to gain in this dispute. She'd love to dodge it, but Ford won't let her. She can't be seen to reinforce Ford's misbehaviour by ignoring it and meeting with him. But, she can't stand up and publicly disenfranchise a democratically elected civic leader, especially one whose electoral mandate dwarfs hers 15 times over.
How could we help him feel better about himself so he does a better job for our city? As hard as it may be for some of us to swallow, we could try to lose the blame and the judgement and throw him some slack. Why? When people treat us well, the better we feel, and the better we feel, the better we behave.
You are not brilliant because you could play three strings on a guitar when you first picked it up. Your artwork really was just pieces of pasta, glue and paint... it wasn't "just like Van Gogh". It wasn't the cutest thing when you first passed gas (or the last time in front of Grammie).
I have followed Ford for over 13 years, especially when he was an obscure Etobicoke councilman. The guy has a big heart. He cares about his constituents. So when the ice storm struck, Ford naturally helped out on a daily basis. I predict that the 2014 Toronto Mayoral campaign is over. Ford is unstoppable.
ntario Premier Kathleen Wynne published an op-ed in the Toronto Star yesterday titled "What the government -- and its critics -- can learn from the ice storm." It fails miserably as a thoughtful after-action lessons-learned contribution, but is reasonably passable as a partisan campaign ad. But, governments and their critics, including Premier Wynne, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and their respective supporters, detractors and civil servants, can and should learn a lot from the recent ice storm that hobbled North America's fourth largest city. I fear they may not.
Over the last few weeks, as expected, there has been a transition in the media headlines from the antics of Ford to the augury of flu. There was more than enough reason to believe that the virus that caused the pandemic from 2009-2010, better known as H1N1pdm or "swine flu" was back.
This being a Municipal Election year in Toronto, and the day before nominations officially open, I found numerous potential Mayoral and Council Candidates doing the rounds inside the Rotunda of Toronto City Hall. Among City Council Wannabes wandering the Rotunda was one Al Gore, declared Mayoral Candidate. Oh really? "Al Gore"?
Rob Ford smoked crack. So what? Oh, and he plans to run for a second term as Mayor of the Greater Toronto Area in the Fall 2014 election. Really? Here is a prescription for six actions that would be good for Toronto in 2014, even if by default they result in four more years of Mayor Rob Ford.
2013. Wow. Could you be more proud of how this country chose to treat its most recent 365 days?
One of the corollaries of our governing WASP culture is a loathing of animal appetites, an emphasis on self-control at the expense of, well, everything. Which is why it's great to see Rob Ford pour beer, crack cocaine and oral sex all over this carefully built myth of false gentility that means "Canada" to the outside world.