After yesterday’s circus at Toronto City Hall, today the crazy train that is the Rob Ford saga continued after a laundry list of new allegations against the mayor surfaced. Ford addressed the accusations, denouncing the vast majority of them as lies. Regarding allegations of comments about wanting to perform oral sex on a former staffer, he shocked the scrum of reporters at city hall this morning by saying he has “enough to eat at home” and then ended up apologizing for the language later in the day.
It makes you think, where did this all start?
For a long time there were talks about doing a ‘Rob Ford crack story’ here at Swept, and despite much of the editorial team being in favour of publishing something about the whole chaos from May up until now, I had always been opposed to it – mostly due to the fact that I am not a resident of Toronto. When the crack story first broke, I had that bad feeling in my gut, a stay away sort of feeling – to this day I still have that feeling.
I didn’t necessarily support Ford, but played devil’s advocate often because if you look at the roster he went up against it is understandable that he won in the 2010 election. Since he has taken office, the city of Toronto has watched as city hall went from a circus to a zoo or the other way – I’m not sure. There were allegations saying he assaulted one of the high school football players he coached, which we found out weren’t true. There was the incident where he improperly used city letterhead. There was even that one time where he was allegedly caught on his cell phone while driving and then flipped the person off. But as is often mentioned, he walked away from most of these incidents unscathed, and sometimes even stronger.
In my opinion, one’s personal life is none of my business, even when it comes to politics. Let’s be honest, do we really believe Ford is the only one at city hall with a chronic drinking problem?
I try to reserve my judgment when it comes to drug use, as I have not only experienced both legal and illegal drugs for myself, but have also seen the consequences of addiction in my peers, and now lack of peers. I also reserve my judgment because I often come home and have a couple of double gin and tonics, which could be classified as minor addiction.
But – when your personal life begins to stretch into shady corners, and all of this becomes public via Toronto Police Service and sketchy cell phone videos, one has to wonder what exactly is this guy’s story?
Now, while I’m not a resident of Toronto – I do run this Toronto-based publication, and in the last few years I’ve spent most of my time in northwestern Etobicoke – not too far from a few of the shady places that Rob Ford has allegedly spent time in.
It was obvious since Monday morning that Ford was attempting to bounce back from last week’s “I have nothing left to hide” revelations.
One fact that keeps being discussed is that Rob Ford can still stand officially as Toronto’s mayor, despite these allegations. And after seeing him erupt this morning in what some may find an offensive manner and later his apology for that outburst, the tension around him is increasingly mounting alongside the heap of allegations.
Kathleen Wynne came out this afternoon and said Toronto will not be defined by this scandal, and I agree with her. Once the populous received the crack confession straight from the horse’s mouth, something weird happened after all the shock.
For example, in the last week, many hosts on CFRB Newstalk1010 have, at different times, expressed a little annoyance with the continuing coverage, even though they are the ones supplying that coverage.
And though the recent scandals involving Mayor Ford are widely viewed as bad publicity for the city, we really shouldn’t be concerned. Sure we will get a few laughs from around the globe, and sure it may have been at the forefront of many jokes here in the GTA in the last year, but it certainly won’t bring down Toronto. If anything, there might be some benefit in all this.
Just observing my own social circles I would argue a lot of people who weren’t politically informed before the crack story broke have now looked into how their municipal political systems function. So maybe it’s not the worst thing that could have happened. Maybe the next election we will see some record breaking numbers at the polls.
In the end, it won’t be Toronto being remembered for our crack smoking mayor, but Rob Ford being remembered for being a crack smoking mayor. The media eventually will find something else, as soon as Ford finally gathers his marbles and accepts the fact that he and his campaign messages are a lost cause.