Five politicians who survived their own foolishness -

Five politicians who survived their own foolishness

If a former mayor who killed a man before taking office could survive, why can’t Rob Ford?


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged dalliance with crack cocaine isn’t his first flirtation with political disaster. He’s proven to be a survivor despite a rocky career at City Hall. If he survives his latest public shaming, however, Ford wouldn’t be the first politician to laugh his way to a longer career in politics. Here are five politicians who beat the odds.

1. Gordon Campbell. In January 2003, after serving as British Columbia’s premier for two years, Campbell was caught drunk driving on Maui. He’d consumed three martinis, jacked up his blood-alcohol level to twice the legal limit, and drove erratically—as well as over the speed limit. For his sins, Campbell pleaded no contest and was fined $50. He was also haunted by infamous mug shots that were released to the public. Despite calls from Mothers Against Drunk Driving for the then-premier’s resignation, Campbell went on to win successive majority governments in 2005 and 2009.

2. Maxime Bernier. Julie Couillard made headlines when she appeared with her then-boyfriend, Bernier, as he was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs at Rideau Hall in August 2007. Less than a year later, Bernier resigned his post after leaving sensitive documents at Couillard’s home. It didn’t help the Quebec MP’s case that Couillard had been connected to members of the Hells Angels, a salacious detail that might have buried anyone’s political career. Bernier, however, was back in cabinet in May 2011 as Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.

3. Richard Hatfield. New Brunswick’s longtime premier survived his share of scandals throughout his 17-year reign. He’s said to have spent over five months outside of his province in 1979, and “Disco Dick” partied at New York’s famous Studio 54 club. The controversy that sent Hatfield packing—his party lost every seat in the 1987 election—came during 1984, when police found 35 grams of marijuana in his baggage. He was acquitted on the charges. Hatfield’s career was briefly resurrected when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appointed him to the Senate in 1990.

4. Francis Fox. Fox’s resignation from federal cabinet in 1978 involved a tangled web of intrigue. When his girlfriend sought an abortion, Fox–who was then Solicitor General of Canada—forged her then-husband’s signature on a document granting permission for the procedure. Two years later, Fox was back in cabinet, where he served in a number of roles until the Liberal government was defeated in the 1984 election. Nineteen years later, Fox was appointed to the Senate, where he served until 2011.

5. John Powell. A former mayor of Toronto, Powell killed a man in cold blood. The fatal shot to the head, however, served only to make Powell more popular. The man he shot, Anthony Anderson, was a rebel captain in 1838. The shooting was only a month out from the election that vaulted Powell to mayor.

Filed under: