The mayor is only relevant if people make him relevant. For every time we make a sensation about Rob Ford and his latest scandal, we give him attention that he does not deserve. His election chances were ill-served when social media went quiet, and we are now ill-served by perpetuating stories about how he is a tactless, corrupt, and bigoted embarrassment to the city.
This past fall I was carded by a Toronto police officer near my own neighbourhood. It wasn't my first time. After returning home that day I did some research on the topic of police surveillance and came across Body Worn Cameras (BWC). They would prove that Toronto police disproportionately target minorities and community outrage in the city is justified. The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all measure that restores public trust in police. But in Toronto, where there is a clear crisis of distrust between minority communities and police, it becomes clear that police officers might have to wear these Body Worn Cameras to regain some of that trust.
I thought former Trinity NDP MP Olivia Chow, would be a formidable challenger to Mayor Rob Ford. But I am starting to have my doubts, as the glow of the brief honeymoon with Chow has dissipated. And Olivia Chow is faltering and fading. Chow's agenda recalls an earlier more left-wing extremist period in Toronto politics. Since the first debate, the indications are even stronger that Ford is cutting into Chow Country. The reasons are obvious.
This is why council is so important. As a unified body it has immense power to shift the agenda of our city. A mayor should technically be able to unite and determine solid goals for Toronto along with a strong policy agenda designed to solve our toughest of challenges. Unfortunately there hasn't been much unity on council and partisan-politics has stifled much progress. The never ending subway vs. LRT debate creating a rift between the downtown core and the suburbs and a lack of true 'big-picture, visionary thinking' has seriously stalled Toronto's ability to capitalize on its unique potential.
Could you envision Toronto City Council changing the name of Yonge Street to 1 Street? Well, this is what the TTC is doing to our subway lines. Subway lines are underground routes for trains carrying people just like streets are routes for cars or bikes or buses carrying people. Main route names are rarely if ever changed because of their history and because it would cause major confusion.
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.
As Ford continues to bumble forward, few people in Toronto actually want it to stop -- gleefully salivating over the impending destruction of Canada's most famous man. That's the real embarrassment; Ford opponents can't stop watching and gloating even though it might be the only way to avoid "Ford more years."
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.
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.
Yes, October 31 began with unfavourable news for Rob Ford. But what made it worse was his poorly-planned response, rather than the news itself. The pictures and videos of him chasing reporters were not classy. These are his fellow citizens -- the residents of the city of which he is Mayor. And that was very rude behaviour.
I agree with the Toronto Star, that Mayor Rob Ford's birthday was not "business as usual." In fact, it was better than business as usual. While the rest of the members of Toronto City Council seem consumed with the alleged crack cocaine video, Mayor Ford is apparently performing their duties for which he was elected.
Mayor Rob Ford's stubborn refusal to address substantively the allegations of drug use, and the reputational contagion and distraction it has caused, needs to be addressed in short order. In a corporate setting, a Chief Executive engaging in similar patterns of behavior would not be tolerated by any board of directors. The CEO would have been fired long ago.
This is how the entire situation boils down: You are giving your money to a website so they can give your money to a member of a gang which wreaks violence on your city so that they, the website, can make money for themselves. Does this make any sense to you whatsoever? If you don't like Rob Ford, fine, don't vote for him. Smear him all you want. Insult him at every party. Call him a fascist Michelin Man. Frankly, I don't give a damn. But for the love of God, please don't give money to drug dealers.
Every time it feels like things can't possibly get any worse, Toronto politics finds a way to stoop to a new low. Rob Ford is engaged in yet another race to the bottom. Nonetheless, it's interesting to examine the attacks on Sarah Thomson, and the painfully-flawed logic behind them. But it's really worth examining the true meaning of the statements, and what it says about how sexual assault claims are treated. Exactly what burden of proof do we require before we believe a woman who claims assault? It seems that the court of public opinion requires a higher burden of proof than any other court in the land.
Thrilling as the #Fordcourt ride was, we're back to where we started. Ford Nation -- such as it is -- can enjoy its little victory lap. All I ask is that the Ford brothers set aside the slogans, the catchphrases, the childish vindictiveness, and the belligerent, tribal ignorance that's characterized public discourse in Toronto for the last two years.