I remarked to a lady at work last week, when Toronto is front and centre on CNN you know we’re knee-deep in trouble. If you watch any mode of media, online, newspapers, TV, I’m sure you are well-informed on matters of our “dear” Mayor. I am not a resident of Toronto any longer, I live outside of the jurisdiction and I can’t vote for mayoral leadership, but I still consider myself a Torontonian at heart being born and raised there.
I recall the day when Mayor Ford stepped on the scale, vowing to lose weight and become healthier. Red-faced, with a huge stomach, straining against the waist of his pants and coming in at 330 pounds. His brother, also taking the health challenge was big, but not as big. Let’s just say there was a whole lotta’ Ford on that scale. The mayor struggled with this challenge, missed numerous weigh-ins, and eventually halted the challenge all together. Clearly, this is a man who likes his vices, and indulging in things that are not exactly good for him. Hey, I get it. It’s not easy to refuse the decadent things you love. Imagine a man of these proportions? In the midst of scandalous behavior, and allegations of crack smoking, drunk and disorderly conduct, sexual acts with women other than his wife and cavorting with prostitutes, the mayor is in some hot water. Many members of city council and many residents of Toronto are demanding that he step down, disgraced by this inexcusable behavior. Although I have observed that the majority of the city residents abhor the mayor, absolutely loathe him, he has a huge following of support, mainly from the west end of the city where the Ford family lay their roots in the city and beginnings. Many are people of color, like myself. People who insist that had it not been for the kindness and help from mayor, they would be homeless, destitute and unemployed when they made Toronto their new home. Many were new immigrants, some had been here for years, and have befriended the Ford family and applaud them for their generosity. Many youth claim that they would have turned to gang violence if Ford did not introduce them to the sport of football, thus giving them a positive outlet instead of turning to a life of organized crime. These supporters say it was all a set up, and refuse to believe anything else. One lady said on the news, “It was a set up. I feel nothing but love for the mayor.” Some have said it is just a vicious, personal attack from those who simply dislike Rob Ford.
I feel that what the mayor did is indeed inexcusable, inappropriate and down right wrong. Once you take an oath to be the CEO of Canada’s largest city, (or any city for that matter), you need to put a halt, not to your weight loss, but to certain behaviors. Residents are looking for a leader with a high moral code, not to a crack-smoking, binge-drinking party goer who allegedly got so high on St.Paddy’s day that he could not walk a straight line. The mayor retorts that everyone likes to have a good time, people from all walks of life, lawyers, physicians and various professionals. Yes, but these people are not leading our city. Sure, we all love to get festive, celebratory and have fun, but, when you are in a position to lead, guide and budget a huge city, it’s about professional conduct. His conduct is bad, very bad, to say the least. Another observation I have made is the mayor’s way to handle the press and being backed into a corner. The guy has a short fuse and has no filter. When asked about allegations of engaging in fellatio with a woman other than his wife, Ford replied, “I’m happily married, a happily married man.” Okay, that sounds good. Now just shut up Rob Ford, you’re happily married. Good response, move on. But oh no, not Mr. Shorty fuse. He continued by saying, “I have more that enough to eat at home!” Egads! Why? Why? Why? His poor wife. Oh the cringe factor! If he was my husband, he would not only be in hot water in city council, he would be in hotter water on the home front. He is crass, rude, vulgar, abrasive and terrible in the public eye and cannot handle verbal accusations. Rob Ford was not exactly in the front of the line when decorum was being handed out. When Bill Clinton was in the press for the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal, yes, the press questioned him head on. Yes, the press were ruthless. However, Bill Clinton never blew a gasket in public. He was calm, clearly upset, but calm. He handled the scandal with class, and as much dignity that he could muster up under the circumstances.
Currently, in city council, the debate continues to strip the mayor of his mayoral rights and to slash his budget. Again, the debate in city council is heated and dramatic. The mayor wouldn’t have it any other way. If the mayor has a substance abuse problem, yes he should absolutely step down and get the help he needs. In my humble opinion, I do not think anyone can be the CEO of a city when they are battling such demons that could negatively affect their judgement and decision-making. And so we wait, and wait. Wait to see the fate of the mayor and what happens if his rights are stripped. What will this mean for Toronto?
Boy oh boy. The city has been turned upside down, and this time it ain’t because of the good old boys of summer.
What are your thoughts on the mayor?