There were two earthquakes in less than 24 hours in Toronto this week. One of them shook the ground. The other shook the city's confidence in the mayor's office. Everyone now knows about the infamous yet unaired alleged videotape of a man resembling Mayor Rob Ford and his snorting an unknown substance alongside his acquaintances. The media went into a frenzy: what was he snoring? Was it crack-cocaine? Does that explain his purported "weird behaviour"? Who will purchase the much-anticipated tape?
What's troubling is that the homophobic and racially slanted comments allegedly made by Rob Ford have received little or no scrutiny. The myriad cultural organisations in the GTA barely raised a stink. As Toronto is Canada's most multicultural city, and it is the home of Canada's largest Pride Parade, it is disconcerting that the Mayor let those hateful words drip from his mouth with such ease. But what's even worse is that the odious remarks didn't cause much agitation in the bedrock of multiculturalism.
Have we become collectively complacent in the face of bigotry?
Rob Ford insulted half of Torontonians with his alleged quip describing the mostly-black football team he coaches as "just f-cking minorities."
Later in the 90-second video he is asked about the football team and he appears to say "they are just f---ing minorities," [according to the Toronto Star]
Furthermore, using a homophobic slur to denigrate the Leader of a federal party should raise eyebrows in a country that prides itself in being one of the first to decriminalize homosexuality and to recognize same-sex marriage.
Rob Ford appears to say, "Justin Trudeau's a fag." [According to the Toronto Star]
On the Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Toronto, mayor Ford stood behind a rainbow flag. No rainbow is big enough to hide Mayor Ford's homophobia.
In this day and age, when a prominent politician exerts that kind of barefaced bigotry, he usually is forced out of office. Former separatist leader Jacques Parizeau's xenophobia -- well known to astute Quebecers -- was too transparent to ignore or deny when he blamed the 1995 Referendum results on "the ethnic vote." No person of colour has ever forgotten that moment when the intolerant underpinnings of a movement bubbled to the surface. The Parti Québécois has never recovered from the stain of racism.
By the time the white dust settles, the potentially career-ending video might end up on YouTube, the drug dealer may end up starting a new (crime-free) life in Western Canada, and the City of Toronto might have a new mayor.
The biggest stain this scandal brings isn't the possible addictions of a well-known politician. It is the fetid stench of acceptance and normalization of blatant bigotry that stinks to high heavens.