Every time someone says the word Ford I am secretly hoping they want to talk about the new Ford Mustang rather than Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. However, it would seem that Rob Ford is not out of gas.
It’s starting to get old when we start and stop our day with a repetitive chronicle of Ford’s confessions and apologies. Every time the belligerent Ford reacts to the media, he adds to the list of sins and digs his hole a little deeper. The media have been relentless and ruthless in reporting this story. It kind of makes you understand why experienced politicians avoid the press whenever possible. And why when caught by the unmerciful media they respond with “No comment.”
Suffice it to say Ford beat the law of averages by getting elected as mayor. He wasn’t the well-groomed, smooth-talking master of double-speak we have come to associate with political candidates. He wasn’t even a diamond in the rough. He spoke the language of the majority of electors in Toronto. He promised to clean up city hall, cut wasted spending and reduce taxes. By all accounts he has pretty much kept his election promises. Perhaps his election spoke more to public cynicism towards politicians across the realm.
It is amazing to discover that our provinces do not have legislation to provide for the removal of an elected municipal official, outside of a criminal charge and conviction. Ford has not been charged with anything and has only been convicted of stupidity in the court of public opinion. Last I heard stupidity was not a criminal act. And if it were, half of our political representatives would be in jeopardy.
As much as I appreciate the embarrassment and frustration of Toronto’s city councillors in dealing with an international scandal surrounding their mayor, I think they over-stepped their mandate in stripping him of his authority. This action is a slippery slope and sets a dangerous precedent. It holds an elected mayor hostage to a council, rather than accountable to the public who elected him. Ford was put in office by the people and should be removed by the people.
In the House of Commons, Members of Parliament can topple a prime minister with a vote of non-confidence, which will likely trigger an election. The same applies in provincial legislatures. Perhaps provinces should include a similar provision to cover municipal bodies. It means everyone goes back to the polls and seeks re-election. Since Toronto is only 11 months away from an election, it would have made more sense to have an early election to let the people decide who goes and who stays.
Outside of Ford himself, there are a few oddities to this story that are not clearly reported by the media. If Toronto police caught Ford in a suspected drug buy through surveillance, why didn’t they arrest and charge him at that time? According to the criminal lawyers interviewed, the police cannot charge him with anything now. Since they can’t charge him, why go public with this information now? Ford has proven he is not terribly smart. Why not wait until he does it again and then swoop in and charge him?
But if the story is about elected officials using illegal substances, then Ford isn’t the first. Most recently Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau confessed to using soft drugs. I doubt he got his weed for free. Both acknowledged breaking the law, neither will be charged, but one politician will lose his job and one will climb up the ladder.
There seemed to be much hullabaloo with respect to Ford’s offensive response to the allegation of sexual misconduct. Yes it was crude and lewd, but Ford is not to the manor born. Turn on your television any night of the week and you will hear crude and vulgar language, see nudity, simulated sexual intercourse, blood, gore and violence, and no one seems offended. Yet this particular incident seemed to be the turning point for even those residing in Ford Nation. Why didn’t the late Pierre Trudeau’s “fuddle-duddle” comment uttered in the House of Commons get the same public reaction?
Years back when a comment was made about Jean Chretien’s partial facial paralysis, the offender was correctly and soundly chastised by public and press alike. We like to think that we judge people based on character rather than their physical appearance. Why is it OK in the Ford scandal for the media to comment on his obesity and slovenly dress?
I am not defending Rob Ford or his conduct. I think the man is distasteful. My concern is for the double standard we set when can forgive the sins of politicians we like and crucify the ones we dislike.
The only thing left now is to speculate on who will play Rob Ford in the movie that must be in the works, and who will play his trusty sidekick — brother Doug. Get the popcorn ready.