Mayor Rob Ford, left, the day after news broke that there exists a video of him smoking crack cocaine
Now that both Toronto city mayor Rob Ford and his brother, city councillor Doug Ford, are married to controversy, they’ve devised an offensive attack plan: Blame the elite liberal media. Sarah Palin taught them well.
For those of you unfamiliar of what I’m talking about, allow me to provide a summary. Bear with me.
Two weeks ago Gawker, the New York based gossip website, reported that a tape exists of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, that was allegedly filmed within the last 6 months. Shortly after the story broke Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan, two reputable award-winning journalists from The Toronto Star, the largest circulated daily in Canada, wrote an article revealing that they saw the video as well. Three times in fact. They took separate notes and then corroborated those notes with each other. In the video Rob Ford is said to make racist and homophobic comments.
After the story ran, Rob Ford kept a low profile, saying nothing, and firing his Chief of Staff who recommended that he step back and get some help for his reported substance abuse problem. Eight days later he held a “press conference”, where he denied that he smoked crack and was an addict. His main message was that The Star was out to get him. In fact his message has not changed at all since then. He then left the podium for his brother to answer reporters’ questions. Bizarre already, right? I mean, why not clear the air and answer questions himself?
The people who own the video also provided The Star reporters with a photograph of Rob Ford posing with drug dealers, one of whom was murdered two months ago.
It would take a lot to convince any rational logical human being that Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan would risk their careers for the sole purpose of taking down the mayor. Let me remind you that it was Gawker who initially broke the story, and to believe that Doolittle and Donovan are fabricating their account is absurd.
Many people have questioned why The Star didn’t purchase the video, and the answer is based on ethics, the media cannot give money to drug dealers.
However, Gawker has established a Rob Ford Crackstarter campaign in the hopes of raising $200,000 to purchase the video. There is a snag, the owner of the video has gone underground, and neither Gawker nor The Star have heard from him since last Sunday. Gawker is $8,000 towards reaching their goal, and if they can’t make the transaction with the owner, they have promised to donate the money to a Canadian addiction and/or mental health charity.
Later today it was reported that the police have spoken to a senior member of Ford’s team after they received a tip linking a recent killing to the alleged video. So the plot is thickening.
If this wasn’t enough, on Saturday, Canada’s newspaper of record, The Globe and Mail published a well researched story about the Ford family’s history of drug dealing.
Doug Ford was particularly singled out by ten anonymous sources as a well-known hashish dealer in the 1980s. Doug oafishly defended himself on national television by blaming The Globe, and of course, the elite liberal social media. So what we have here are two brothers incapable of taking responsibility for their actions.
The reason the latter story has any relevance is because during the 2010 municipal elections the Ford brothers ran on an anti-drug platform and were critical of mayoral candidate George Smitherman’s admission that he had a past drug problem. Unlike the Ford brothers, Smitherman was open and honest about his past drug use, and his recovery. But that didn’t stop the Fords from underhandedly lambasting him about it any chance they could get.
For those outside of Toronto it would be beneficial to know that Rob Ford has been an ineffective mayor and his tenure has been marred in a myriad of controversies since he was elected.
Whether it’s lying about a DUI and marijuana possession charge in Florida, or getting thrown out of a Maple Leafs hockey game for getting into drunken, expletive-laden arguments with fans (and also calling them “communists” and asking one man if he would like his wife to get raped), or giving a six-year-old girl the middle finger, or driving while reading, or repeated domestic disturbances at his house, or being asked to leave work functions because he is clearly inebriated, Rob Ford’s response to any and all of these allegations is always the same: LIE, BLAME, and when confronted with evidence, half-heartedly apologize and pretend none of it ever happened.
He is holding the city of Toronto hostage with his refusal to resign from his position. His ideas read like a parody from an episode of The Simpsons. His plans for the Waterfront included a ferris wheel, casino and monorail, all of which were predictably defeated in council.
Rob and his brother behave like wannabe dictators. Unable to take criticism, they make enemies of anyone who challenges them, bullying, intimidating and resorting to childish antics in a vain attempt to get their way. If this was any other country, I am certain they would kill their detractors, and silence the freedom of the press.
They are not good people. They speak in soundbites and slogans, and when questioned, or backed into a corner, lie their way out of it. They hold no punches, are mean-spirited and lack any skills to engage in rational discourse.
The mayor refuses to take questions from the media, even going as far as to keep vital information from The Star, and ensuring that his most despised newspaper isn’t invited to mayoral events. They host a weekly radio show that is rife with propaganda. If this were 1940s Germany, the brothers would be in their element.
They were elected on a platform that stressed government transparency, but the mayor won’t even release his weekly schedule, something that each mayor before him did willingly. Instead, journalists must obtain Ford’s schedule through the Freedom of Information Act.
I could go on and on. It is clear that the Fords are not running a dictatorship, and this is why they are antiquated and ineffective.
This is what happens when a mayor, as short-sighted as Rob Ford listens only to the advice and recommendations of his thug brother.
Eventually the video of Rob Ford smoking crack will leak, and I’m curious to see if he will take accountability for his horrible behaviour.
Will he apologize for insinuating that the media, who exists to keep politicians accountable for their actions, are liars? Will he do the honourable thing and admit that he was wrong to have lied, to have besmirched the integrity of the work of seasoned journalists? Will he apologize to Torontonians for degrading the mayorship and Toronto’s international reputation?
Yesterday during their radio show the brothers called journalists “maggots” and “scum”. They then ranted about all their magical accomplishments since taking office, citing unsourced statistics and dollar figures that they believe they have saved the city. It had to be heard to be believed, but one thing was certain from the madness: No one should behave in such a callous, knee-jerk reactive obtuse fashion, including politicians.
One thing that also irks me about the Fords is their supporters assertion that they are blue-collar workers. They are not. As a first generation Canadian I am proud of my working-class father’s ability to make a life for himself and his family from absolutely nothing. Rob and his brother were born into wealth, and are millionaires. These are not self-made men, and to say that they are is both a lie, and an insult to those who are.
No, in fact these two men are cowards. In the last five minutes it was reported that two members of the mayor’s team have just resigned from their positions.
Ego is a terrible thing. It hinders a human being from altruistic behaviour, which is what we should expect from any individual seeking a position in public service.
But this has gone too far. The mayor and his brother have set a very low bar for anyone who succeeds them. However, whoever that person may be, they will certainly be an improvement.
Toronto needs to heal. We need leaders that are committed to truth, honesty, dignity and integrity. The Ford brothers are committed to their own egos, but are so blithely unaware that the world is laughing at their buffoonery.
Maybe that’s the most tragic part about this entire debacle. The revelation that these two men are stuck with the lives that they have created for themselves, and as a result of their poor judgments, so are their children. Their wives. Their friends.
Maybe that’s why Rob Ford has a substance abuse problem. It takes a lot of self-loathing to loathe the people who try to highlight your plight in an effort to get you help.
Don’t drag the whole city of Toronto down with you Rob. Grow up. Get help. Be an adult.