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Rob Ford's Toxic Legacy Lives On In Toronto City Council

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MAYOR JOHN TORY
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I do not think the City of Toronto should erect a statue to memorialize Rob Ford. I do not think Ford was a good mayor and I have never supported him. I have never been a member of Ford Nation nor been a fan of the antics of the former mayor.

Heck, I even took him to the integrity commissioner and forced him to apologize for his use of racial slurs. However, I mourn his death.

How can I not mourn the death of a 46-year-old person, who is a father of two young children, and died at the prime of his life?

Ford was only two years older than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he died. His death is a tragedy and a direct result of a disease that is killing many of us.

While I was not a supporter of his, I can never deny the fact that Ford was a passionate and determined Torontonian. I had many memorable interactions with him; however, the one I remember most happened mere months after I made a formal complaint about him to the integrity commissioner. I was passionately adamant that his actions warranted punishment, and he believed I was wasting my time.

Upon an international artist visiting Toronto for the first time, he invited me to his office along with the artist, who was visiting Toronto for the first time.

As always, he was kind, gracious, shy and courteous in person. Sadly, he looked nervous and out of his element occupying such an important political institution, yet I could not help but admire his determination. At the end, I felt sorry for him.

Did I think Rob Ford was racist? Perhaps. But I know his actions were no more racist or hurtful than some of the actions of some of our current Toronto municipal leaders.

Like the actions of Rob Ford, the actions of Mayor Tory and Councillor McMahon are toxic and hurtful to the kind of society we dream to have in Toronto.

Take for instance the so-called moderate, Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon. In recent weeks, without any real consultation and allegedly because of noise complaints from eight people, she made a decision to shorten a two-day multicultural festival -- Afrofest -- by half.

In doing this, she ignored made-in-Toronto events such as the Toronto Air Show which has much more complaints from Torontonians.

To the organizers of Afrofest, she tweeted, in a patronizing tone, how "We'll reward good behaviour" if the organizers accepted her decision and kept the noise low. The organizers responded and called her action "completely unfair and discriminatory." Only after public outrage the mayor intervened and the city had a sudden change of heart.

Mayor John Tory has also taken many controversial and Donald Trump-like stands on a slew of issues.

For Toronto's 65th mayor, John Tory -- who once reflected how he was not sure if white privilege existed in society; who was once, as mayor, an advocate of the hurtful police practice of carding against strong opposition from Toronto's diverse communities and even the Ontario Human Rights Commission, but flip-flopped in days when the mostly white establishment spoke out against it. To Tory, black voices are not as important.

In addition, Tory has refused to meet with thoughtful and passionate leaders, such as the young people behind the Black Lives Matter movement, and instead has been more accessible to accept irrelevant community awards from a slew of African-Canadian organizations.

Like the actions of Rob Ford, the actions of Mayor Tory and Councillor McMahon are toxic and hurtful to the kind of society we dream to have in Toronto.

Historians and foes will debate the legacy of Rob Ford for years to come. He was an incompetent mayor and used racial slurs that I found offensive. That is why I never supported him and my disappointment in him had its limits.

However, I voted, donated resources and volunteered for Mayor John Tory, and that is why I find the actions of the current mayor and that of his most loyal allies within council even more hurtful.

In the meantime -- RIP Rob Ford.

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