The Rob Ford joke’s over, now we laugh till we cry

At least Gotham City has a saviour. Toronto doesn’t.


Sean Kilpatrick / CP

Today marks the first time I am legally able, as a journalist, to omit the word “allegedly” from the following sentence. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoked crack cocaine. Ford made this bombshell admission before city hall reporters Tuesday, marking another first: the first time the mayor gave reporters the answer they were looking for. And what an answer it was. Not only did Ford admit to having smoked crack cocaine. He revealed that he did so “approximately one year ago” in what was most likely one of his “drunken stupors.” This means that Ford has not only used crack; he is also apparently prone to binge drinking, and possibly blackouts. After all, he can’t recall when exactly he smoked crack or with whom he smoked it. An admission like that, you might say, opens the door to the possibility that he could be smoking crack right now. Yet he remains the mayor of Toronto.

Hours after Ford’s admission, he made another statement—this one possibly even more surprising than the last. In truly Biblical fashion (“And again, Pharaoh hardened his heart”), Ford announced that he would not step aside. He apologized profusely for his “mistakes” and vowed to continue serving the taxpayers and the good people of Toronto. “I have nothing left to hide,” he said (apparently forgetting for a moment that he is also prone to bouts of intoxication he cannot remember). “On Oct. 27 of 2014,” he said defiantly, “I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.” Torontonians expected the mayor’s resignation, or at the very least, a leave of absence. Instead, they got a stump speech.

Ford may have refused to step down, but it’s not exactly business as usual at city hall. Toronto city councillors are already tabling motions asking for official limitations to the mayor’s powers. One of those councillors is Denzil Minnan-Wong, a former Ford ally who has accused the mayor of turning Toronto into Gotham City. The only discernable difference between the two? Gotham City has a saviour. Toronto doesn’t.

The day Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack, in turn hinting at the fact that he lied when asked about smoking crack—allegedly with drug dealers and gang bangers tied up in a massive police investigation—senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau were suspended without pay for filing improper expense claims. Say what you will about the Senate and its culture of entitlement, but at least it has the minimal mechanisms in place required to punish its own. I’m beginning to think that the only way in which Ford will be ousted from office—having evaded every other avenue already in existence—is if he smokes crack on camera, during a council meeting at City Hall. Even his base, having been majorly deceived, remains interminably loyal—their only reward in all of this, a very thin burger patty at the end of a three-hour Ford Fest lineup.

A Forum Research poll conducted this week indicates that 43 per cent of Toronto adults still approve of Ford—an almost identical number to a poll taken last week in the aftermath of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s revelation that the crack tape exists as reported. (And we know that the mayor’s approval ratings increased in May when the scandal was first reported by the Toronto Star and Gawker.) Ford is a train wreck of his own making, yes. But he’s also a survivor.

I used to think that Torontonians scandalized by the crack scandal, and worse, “embarrassed” by it, were more than a little precious. Besides, Toronto, ever-reaching for the distinction of “world-class city” could use a little world-class perspective (New York and Paris don’t self-destruct every time a politician makes international headlines). But I’m beginning to share that embarrassment. I’m embarrassed to live in Toronto right now not because our mayor—the same mayor who in 2005 suggested drug addicts “dry out” in prison—allegedly hangs out with gang bangers and admits to smoking crack, but because he gets away with it. This story, once absurd and wickedly funny, is now just plain chilling.

Have a comment to share? emma.teitel@macleans.rogers.com


The Rob Ford joke’s over, now we laugh till we cry

  1. One cannot have double standards, and as a Conservative I would suggest that resigning is mandatory. I would certainly demand it of a “lefty” but if that was the case, the media would be downplaying it, and the righties would be justifiably outraged.
    Rob….get some help. Go to re-hab, not for the crack, but for the booze.
    Just be satisfied that an alcholic, fat, obnoxious dude ran the city better than the that idiot David Miller and his predecessors. Get clean…and then come back.
    If you were Justin Trudeau, I’m sure you could stick it out…..but the person you are means the media will hound you into an early grave. Far sooner than the vodka ever would.

    • “Just be satisfied that an alcholic, fat, obnoxious dude ran the city better than the that idiot David Miller and his predecessors.”

      Oh please… he has very few “accomplishments” to list off… and the few major ones are almost completely the work of other councilors.

      • We can differ on Ford’s accomplishments, but after seeing Kathleen Wynne’s talk of “investments” it won’t matter much.
        her and her Liberals have already done irreperable damage, and it soon won’t matter how well any Mayor runs Toronto, as the Libs and their “investments” (payoffs to unions and special interests) will soon turn Ontario into one big detroit.

        • Deflection isn’t working anymore sorry Fraud Nation.

    • except his policies are terrible and he wasted money. The real tragedy is how his foibles and false claims cover up his ineptness and incompetence as mayor.

    • Justin Trudeau????? Why not go with a proven entity… Ralph Klein, since you are a conservative and all.

      Ralphy was mayor of Calgary for a long time, and drunk every single day of it, he used to appear at the King Eddie, even before he was mayor and buy jugs of draft for tables at lunch time. This continued when he was mayor though less often.

      Then Ralphy became Alberta’s premier and never spent a day sober while in office, though he did sober up for part of a fishing trip … once.

      He was rewarded with organic based pre-senile dementia, and the order of Canada, before dying early in life due to a lifetime of alcohol intake.

      No one ever questioned king Ralphy’s ability, or his decision making under the influence, but then of course, Alberta is REALLY conservative compared to the rest of Canada.

      • I believe you really really are an Idiot!!!!

    • I appreciate your concern, but it wouldn’t be the first time a Canadian political leader has been involved in driving a vehicle while under the influence, and not been removed from office: Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) circa 2003 springs to mind.

      Premier Campbell went on to lead the Liberal party in BC for a number of years, despite his behaviour in Hawaii. So, while you’re assertions are right, anybody representing a city, province or country who is arrested, or convicted in court of DUI (or equivalent) should resign, in reality, politicians rarely do.

      I fully agree however, and support the notion that Mayor Ford should get to rehab. He is like a real life episode of Intervention. He’s not fit for office, and if there isn’t a legal motion available to suspend the mayor (even temporarily) because he/she is unfit for duty, the government should make one!

  2. well said emma. I too am chilled by ford’s stubborn ignorance

  3. I have e-mailed several council members with this idea. There is a way to remove this oaf and his brother from council. But all the council staff must agree, for the betterment of Toronto. Boycott all the future city hall meetings! Just leave Rob and his stupid brother alone in the city hall, alone. E-mail your member, plead with them to take this stance, do not show up in city hall for any meetings. We need the citizens that put him in there, to take him out…this maybe the only way.

  4. Rob Ford will be going to prison. Guaranteed.

  5. He won’t be resigning any time soon especially knowing he’s friends with the chief of police while undergoing this investigation. Let him have his hiatus then finish the projects he needs to finish for the city..especially the new urban Development plans

    • How can he perform any any civic functions when he’s a proven liar?

  6. Mr. Ford–a tragic figure to be sure–ought to required to take a breathalyzer test and disclose the results before appearing at any official event or council meeting. He may not have any insight into his addiction and substance abuse problems, but the public deserves to know.

  7. This man put Toronto in the world map for the wrong reason. He believes by seemingly saving tax payers money, (if it is indeed the case, as I believe that has to be verified), he can get away with anything. The fact he is a drug addict, a drunken soul and a liar, I have serious concern with regard to his judgement to run the city. Let’s not forget it is the largest city in our country. WE as a citizen of this great city, deserve better that this man.

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