So for those salivating for a Toronto reset, I suggest a more modest brand refresh -- one where an asterisk is added to our otherwise great city. Here we can note our city's mind-numbing congestion, condo lined waterfront, failed Olympic bids, overpriced housing and political mismanagement. All this without clouding the overwhelmingly positive attributes this city has to offer.
Statistics on moms, a reminder to get the flu shot, raising readers, a new place to shop and a very brief crack at the Mayor is what I've got this wee...
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.
Rob Ford has proven himself to be unpolished, undignified, inarticulate, petulant and impulsive. This displeases many people for obvious reasons, but it particularly disgusts politicians and reporters, who operate in a sphere where the opposite characteristics are considered emblematic of virtue. Yet for many voters, the more relevant questions when a judging a politician are: Is he a greedy bastard and has he tried to screw me over? So far, despite all the disastrous things that have happened, the answer to those questions as they pertain to Rob Ford remains no.
In his second speech, Rob Ford made one particularly impassioned comment which has truly cosmic importance: "I'd do anything, anything to change the past." Really? You're expending all that sincerity on how much you'd like to change the past? Is that something you're close to being able to do?
Pamela Wallin admitted to accounting mishaps, paid back her loot and then cried "lynching." Mayor Rob Ford's family and fans referred to his well-deserved scrutiny as "a lynching." It is nothing of the sort. They have no right to compare their media scrutiny or professional strife to African slavery, the Holocaust or any other systemic international human catastrophe. Words can wound.
Rob Ford isn't a mistake. We like to think Canada is a tolerant nation, but the mayor's pride and prejudice is an accurate reflection of much of the city he leads. We like to imagine we're nothing like our neighbours to the south, but Toronto has its red states and its blue states; it has its Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain wrapped up in one neat 330-pound package.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Pinned up for display. This situation just seems to go from bad to UGLY as each day passes. POOR, POOR Rob has to now watch his associates abandon ship.
All this debate about Rob Ford smoking crack is irrelevant. He doesn't need to go to rehab to get elected. He simply needs to do the job he was hired to do: Disrupt Toronto, Delay Toronto, and Distract Toronto. All so that the people angry with Toronto can sit back and enjoy a good trolling.
Since it was revealed Ford was allegedly smoking from a crack pipe in a video that the public has yet to see, some have been calling for Ford to take a leave of absence or resign. I get that Ford's conduct is raising eyebrows, but if it goes beyond stupidity then it isn't up to us to diagnose him. At the same time this is something that many people choose to undergo privately -- we need to respect those that make that choice.
What if one of the reasons Toronto is so prosperous is precisely because its Mayor is too befuddled and unimaginative to interfere in any serious way with the functioning of the city? What if Mayor Ford is great precisely because he does little to nothing?
Ford apologized for his alleged actions in the crack video scandal on Saturday, but his apology left a lot of people angry and confused. Where others want him to apologize for his shenanigans regarding drugs and drinking, I want him to explain and apologize for his consistent, uncaring attitude towards his office, his city, and the people who live here.
It's pretty shocking that after months of an expensive police surveillance, the most compelling evidence produced in the Ford investigation are photos of people acting suspiciously. Criminal investigations of serious crimes are always about obtaining direct rather than circumstantial evidence wherever possible. They're about tapes, paper trails and drug tests, not semi-useless photos of people with envelopes and plastic bags.
When the news finally broke about the alleged crack video being in the hands of the Toronto Police, the addiction therapist in me saw it as a blessing in disguise for Mr. Ford. I recall thinking "maybe now he will stop this charade, get the help he needs and get his life back on track." I don't know Mr. Ford personally. But what I do know is that his behaviour of late is very indicative of an alcoholic or a drug addict. If he's serious about wanting to remain in office, I think it is irresponsible of him to pretend as though everything is fine. It's not fine, and I base that only on what has come out publicly. I can't even imagine what we don't know about.
That the cries for Rob Ford's head would be so loud and unanimous after a week of damning bombshells is hardly surprising. That's a perfectly sensible opinion, but it's also an essentially arbitrary measurement of fitness for public office stemming solely from a subjective standard of morality.