As we all watch in awe as the human train wreck that is Toronto mayor Rob Ford continues to unfold, let us take a moment to reflect on the very ugly role that racism is playing in the Ford saga. I think that many of the people who claim to be disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford does drugs are, on some level, actually disturbed by the fact that Rob Ford (allegedly) smokes crack with Somalians in Little Mogadishu.
Rob, meet Kelvin. He can be a tremendous role model for you (and for all other politicians who have lost their way). Kelvin reminds us just how amazing human potential is, even coming out of a thoroughly corrupted environment. Kelvin is not paid a salary by his community, but maybe we should start demanding more out of our own (paid) community representatives.
What would Abraham Lincoln or Vaclav Havel think of Rob Ford, or the growing list of other politicians fallen into an unethical swamp? Two leaders who fought against the tyranny of slavery or of communism would surely shake their heads at our sliding scale of accountability.
Nigel Wright's problems, which we now know include RCMP allegations that he has committed bribery, fraud and breaches of trust, are entirely separate from Rob Ford's issues. But with every unnecessary television appearance Rob Ford makes -- with every fight he picks and every aspersion he casts on others to deflect blame from himself -- the Toronto mayor highlights just how much more dignity Nigel Wright has shown in the face of serious allegations of wrongdoing. The two are a study in opposites. Here's what I wish Rob Ford had learned from Nigel Wright.
Canada has been called a laggard when it comes to climate action, but the reality is that it's far worse than that, our policies and politicians are making us into a climate denier as a nation. Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq's statement that climate change was "debatable" is just a tiny glimpse into the harsh reality of the Harper government.
Is anyone tired of this brainless doorknob yet?
Way back in May, I had commented about my unease with Ford's relationship with young black males. I said that his proximity to these kids as a football coach smelled of the Penn State scandal. Was Ford a teacher? No. Was Ford in anyway involved in the education system? No. Was Ford a crack user? Yes. Was Ford an alcoholic? A pathological liar? Yes and yes. I'm sorry, but there is no way I would have wanted my child, who as Ford said would either be "dead or in jail," groomed and mentored on how to become a man by a drunk crack addict who could pretty well end up dead or in jail when this fiasco comes to an end.
I'm tired of the manipulation. Of your "Ford Nation". You are actively lying to these people. Your supporters, the people who believe you to such an extent that they are willing to overlook anything. Corruption. Crime. Drugs. Gravy. Crazy. I feel sorry for you, and I feel sorry for the voters who don't seem to know any better.
Most importantly, unlike Springfield Toronto has a city council and councillors. Unlike Mayor Quimby, Mayor Ford is not a power unto himself (as much as he thinks that). Oh, I almost forgot. Unlike Springfield, which is a fictional town in a cartoon, Toronto exists in the real world -- as real as the world gets, anyway.
Between Toronto's mayor who might as well be declared the Buffoon King, freewheeling, self-centred Senators who use taxpayer money as their own personal ATMs and a Prime Minister who would rather prorogue than progress, well, it's a great time to be a Canadian comedian. If it weren't so sad.
No, he owned up, no strings attached. He said he made a statement that turned out to be not true. He said he understood that it is scary to get a cancelation notice. And he apologized. Obama's apology gets full points for being unequivocal.
So somebody's taped you. Doing something. Say, smoking crack cocaine. Maybe having sex. Maybe having sex while smoking crack cocaine. Regardless, the tape in question was for your eyes only, and now here it is, hanging out in public, without any permission from you. What do you do? What can you do? Well, you can learn from the leaked tapes of celebrities past.
Ford's is the Canada where teenagers deal hash out of their parents' garages and play with shotguns in the basement. Where St. Patrick's Day is the biggest night of the year. Ford's going nowhere so long as his Canada has his back.
It's too bad that Toronto's mayor has attracted so much publicity but it's, on balance, a very good development for Canada. There will be the Rob and Doug Show and, more importantly, he's hogging the spotlight away from others whose behaviour has been worse.
Leveraging women's bodies became a political sport in Toronto this week. It began with the blurted out defence Rob Ford offered to reports that he sexually harassed a former employee, and sadly continued with Rosie DiManno's Toronto Star article about domestic violence. It's a mistake to focus on these issues.
Out here on the road, we're getting laughed at for being Torontonians. Thanks, Rob Ford. There's nothing else to do but dive in with these jesters and join them so with all the downtime that is afforded to us during the day while on tour I've managed to assemble a few homemade memes at Rob Ford's expense.