When Rob Ford ran for mayor of Toronto in 2010, after other more moderate and polished conservatives declined to throw their hats in the ring, there was a lot of hyperventilation on the part of lefties and progressives.
He makes me so proud...
After all, here was a guy who as a city councillor got drunk at a Toronto Maple Leafs game in 2006 and verbally accosted a couple who objected to his behaviour, then was kicked out of the Air Canada Centre. He later lied about being at the game, but confessed when confronted by reporters.
What’s more, in 1999, he was arrested in Miami for driving under the influence and possessing marijuana. He claimed during the mayoral campaign that the whole incident had completely slipped his mind.
He also once called fellow councillor Giorgio Mammoliti – a former NDPer who is now a staunch right-wing council ally – a “Gino Boy,” and he was generally renowned in his 10 years on council for being a fiscally conservative lone wolf who alienated the press and couldn’t work with anyone, left or right.
Since winning the election on a platform of “stopping the gravy train” at City Hall, the penny-pinching Ford has been, well, the same old jerk.
He’s been spotted multiple times driving while talking on his cellphone – a no-no in Ontario – and flipped the bird to some fellow drivers who called him on it.
He refuses to talk to the country’s largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, saying it published a libellous story during the campaign that alleged he assaulted a high school football player on a team he once coached.
He’s also bungled the transit file so badly with his unwillingness to compromise on his plan to extend the Sheppard subway and his opposition to light rapid transit alternatives that he’s basically lost whatever sway he originally had with city council. That’s a big problem in a municipal political system in which there are no parties and the mayor only gets one vote.
This is far from an exhaustive list of his indiscretions and outright stupidity.
Ford is an embarrassment, to be sure, but when he was elected, my standard line was that he would likely be no worse than the first mayor of the amalgamated city of Toronto, Mel Lastman, a buffoon who served from 1998 to 2003.
Lastman famously called in the army to handle a 1999 snowstorm, and he later welcomed a Hells Angels convention to town, claiming he didn’t know the biker gang was involved in the drug trade. In 2001, he wondered aloud why he would want to go to Mombasa, Kenya, to lobby IOC delegates for a Toronto Olympic bid, saying, “I just see myself in a pot of boiling water with all these natives dancing around me.”
But I have to take it all back. Rob Ford is an idiot who’s much worse than Lastman. Ford is the worst big-city mayor this country has ever seen – at least since I’ve been paying attention – because he just doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Continue reading