A little over a decade ago I spent one week every month in Toronto, the city where Rob Ford is still the mayor, at last report.
In those days, the mayor was a millionaire furniture salesman named Mel Lastman. He’s the one who called in the army to clear away the snow. One day I picked up a newspaper and there was a front page photo of good old Mel shaking hands with the leader of a criminal biker gang. As far as we know, Lastman was not doing any business with this character. He was guilty of bad judgment, or he was just plain stupid, but he was not a criminal.
One shudders to think of the dark corners that Rob Ford has traveled in his 44 years on this planet. Toronto has always wanted to be regarded as a World Class City. Other Toronto mayors would have done almost anything to make it on network news in the U.S., or to get a mention in the monologues of Jay Leno and David Letterman. Rob Ford got there without even trying.
He has truly become Canada’s National Nightmare, and we’re not about to wake up anytime soon. Ford of Canada is said to be thinking of finding a new way to ‘brand’ their dealerships. Not really, but the mayor has certainly made a lot of folks cringe at that name.
As journalists, we thrive on public figures who self-destruct in the spotlight. It makes our job easier. We don’t have to ‘create’ the stories. It’s all done for us. But I’m beginning to long for a ‘Ford Free Day’ when I prepare the news each morning.
Might I be feeling sorry for the man? Possibly a little, but I feel a lot more sympathy for parents and teachers in Toronto, as they try to explain to young minds what a drunken stupor is, or a crack house.
Who woulda thunk it?
I’m Roger Currie