Toronto's Rob Ford takes the cake - well in his case the rock - in current mayoral scandals following his blubbering confession that while he has smoked crack cocaine while hammered, he's still by far the best person to run the city. Really?

How absolutely un-Canadian is a crack-smoking, lying drunk for a mayor who, by the way, just happens to hang around with drug dealers to the degree that he has been under secret police surveillance for months?

Rob Ford, mayor of Canada’s largest city Toronto, was finally cornered to the point where he had to admit a video of him appearing to smoke crack cocaine which he said didn’t exist did exist; then he had to admit that having said previously he did not smoke crack that he did...but “probably in one of my drunken stupors”.

Oh that explains it.   

Montreal is taking the chance to breathe a sigh of relief that the spotlight is, temporarily perhaps, off its unfortunate record of having had four mayors in one year due to what are truly unbelievable corruption issues. Given a major corruption tribunal still grinds on with jaw dropping revelations every day that respite may be short-lived.

Laval - a large city on the outskirts of Montreal has its former mayor up on a long list of charges that include gangsterism.

Officials at all levels of government have been exposed as cogs in mafia-led subversion of the ultra lucrative construction industry bidding process. Some we now know are referred to “Mr 3%” and the like for the cream they skimmed off each successful contract allocation.

So by Quebec standards, perhaps Mr Ford’s antics are not as un-Canadian as the world would normally presume.

To be Canadian has usually been a byword for being nice, almost to the point of apologetic and a little self-deprecating. Even the street artist Banksy described the replacement tower at Ground Zero in New York as “Canadian” because it really appeared to be an apology for a building that was supposed to flip the bird at the 9/11 terrorists, but in his opinion showed the hijackers that they had won.

Yet on the same day as Canada’s Senate voted to suspend without pay three senators accused of inappropriate expenses claims, Rob Ford went on telly to come clean with Canadians.

Like all political mea culpas, Ford told of how embarrassed he is, how he knows he has embarrassed Toronto and hurt his family and all that. What they forget is that we know they are soooooo sorry because they have been caught.

Were it not for the video of Ford, he’d still be Mr Party Hard with dubious mates from Toronto’s underworld.

Sound familiar Auckland?

Had Len Brown not been sprung neither his family nor Auckland rate payers would have been any the wiser - not that they really needed to know as much as they found out.

Yet by Quebec and Toronto standards, Len Brown is a mere baby in what appears to be a mayoral race to the depths of the primordial soup. Being last in such a race mind you is no compliment.

Ford’s epiphany followed five months of absolute denial that he was in any way involved with smoking crack.

The admission was not funny in and of itself, and so reporters listened intently. Ford blubbered on about how he loved his job, loved Toronto city, loved saving taxpayers money and loved being “your mayor”. He then, bold as brass, told those assembled and watching on the breaking news special that for their sakes he wanted to get back to work immediately and “God bless the people of Toronto”.

God bless the people of Toronto? Is he for real? 

The stunned silence was broken and Ford stood exposed to outright guffaws. The progression to clown was complete. 

“God bless America” may drip from every political speech south of the border, but it was a bloody joke in this circumstance.

Even more so because the leader of Ford Nation (as his devotees refer to Toronto), still considers himself to be the best person to lead Toronto even though he lied down the barrel of every camera; was highly abusive of any reporter questioning him about the video of him smoking from what is usually considered a crack pipe; he denied the video existed - even to reporters who had seen it; when the police confirmed it did he fessed that he had “made mistakes” without detailing what they were; and two days later, when there was no corner dark enough to protect him any longer he “came clean” with an apology that he said lifted a thousand pounds off his shoulders.

Perhaps a relief to him, but I suspect not to the rest of Toronto or those who have to sit around the council table with him. 

Come on you guys he humoured reporters, “you know the sate I’ve been in...it’s ugly”. Indeed. 

Ford is, after obviously delusional self analysis, equipped to move on without any help thank-you very much.

He offered the very mayoral advice that its “more appropriate” to stay home when you get hammered than to wander around the streets.

The reaction has been rather mixed. Those who care for Ford on a level of humanity suggest he takes a break and get some help. Not going to happen.

Those who take a more political stance just want him out of City Hall. 

Now.

Nup, not going to happen. The next elections are scheduled for October 2014, and Ford says the voters can decide then.

It has become rather apparent that unless Ford is charged and convicted of a serious crime, he doesn’t have to budge an inch, and that’s just the way he likes it.

Ford may have been elected as the fiscal hawk Toronto needed but he has morphed into a distraction on an unprecedented scale.

Confession notwithstanding, there remains a myriad of lingering questions. Ford may claim he has nothing more to hide, the police are unlikely to be so easily fobbed off, particularly given the extent of their interest in the Mayor and his mates to date. 

Comments (2)

by Rich on November 07, 2013
Rich

Well, he hasn't yet been caught supplying it to kids, he's obviously functional enough to achieve mayoral office (granted, if it's anything like NZ, that isn't a very high barrier).

Ok, so there's the illegality thing, but maybe Torontonians (?) want a mayor who doesn't care for drug laws? A bit like the people of DC with Marion Barry?

People are entitled to elect overt criminals as politicians - look at Northern Ireland, where most of their government are former terrorists/freedom fighters depending on one's POV.

 

by Andrew Geddis on November 08, 2013
Andrew Geddis

Salon.com has a pretty eye-popping wrap up of Ford's history in office here.

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