Reasons to be critical of Rob Ford

by Gary Seward
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Reasons to be critical of Rob Ford - Fresh Print Magazine

Reasons to be critical of Rob Ford – Fresh Print Magazine

Rob Ford is all over the news again. Another alleged video illustrating him smoking crack cocaine exists and an audio clip of him very drunk and saying some truly obnoxious things has come to light. He apparently cannot stay out of the news. And you can go to any media outlet and read countless articles that chronicle his issues with drugs and alcohol.

I have a tremendous amount of empathy for our Mayor (remember Norm Kelly is the acting mayor while Ford just holds the title). Substance abuse is a very serious thing and needs to be taken serious. And taking that first step to recognizing it must be one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. And while he may not have saved as much money as he claims, he’s certainly not the worst mayor Toronto has ever seen. In fact, Rob Ford has become a bit of a celebrity bringing Toronto into the spotlight.

Toronto is truly a great city and it ultimately doesn’t matter who sits in the mayor’s chair. 

As a consequence of the new revelations and continued circus sideshow surrounding Ford, he’s announced to be taking a leave of absence to finally address his substance abuse issues. A timeline is currently unknown.

Criticisms of Rob Ford seem to only be attacking his issues with drugs and alcohol. We should be critical of anyone who becomes our mayor, but we should be critical of what he does as it pertains to policy.

I have decided to compile a list (boy, do we love lists) of the top reasons why we should be critical of Rob Ford (excluding the crack scandal):

1. He’s actually been caught with drugs before!

Before he was the Mayor of Toronto he was Arrested in Miami, Florida, in February of 1999 for DUI and received a marijuana conviction. He was subsequently convicted. He denied these charges later during his first mayoral campaign, but was presented with evidence that it was all too real.

2. While Mayor he had his own radio show and a short-lived TV program

I get it, we live in a day and age where anyone can be on TV or radio and have their very own soapbox. However, I do find it peculiar that a man elected to represent one of the most Culturally Diverse cities in the world has his own show to represent his views. These forums became a bunker for both Ford brothers to combat anyone and everyone who didn’t share the same views as them. Which has left a lot of Torontonians scratching their heads. Elected officials are supposed to represent the people, right?

3. He has shunned the very large LGBT community in Toronto

It’s not surprise that not only is Toronto one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world but it’s also the one city where being gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans* is just everyday life. Our mayor, however, seems to take another stance as he has always worked against this large community. While I am not too hung up on him not attending the annual Gay Pride festivities, a lot of people seem to think that the mayor should make an appearance. Something I found more alarming than that happened on In June of 2005, when Ford questioned the utility of grant programs for trans* people during a council debate. “I don’t understand. No. 1, I don’t understand a transgender, I don’t understand, is it a guy dressed up like a girl or a girl dressed up like a guy? And we’re funding this for, I don’t know, what does it say here? We’re giving them $3,210?”

4. Conflict of Interest Trial

The city was abuzz in the fall of 2012 over allegations that Ford had broken the Ontario law by voting at Toronto City Council on a motion of paying back money that Ford had raised for his private football foundation. Ford was actually found guilty and was to be removed from office but an appeal was put into motion. Meaning he was ordered to pay back the money and could stay in office. It was played out as being a major scandal, but I am not sure a lot of people (including myself) truly understood it.

5. He said what?

Our Mayor has said some truly quote worthy things in the media and most of them seem to be fit for a frat house movie script.

“My heart bleeds for them when someone gets killed. But it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”

“I’ll make sure that motherfucker’s dead. I need fuckin’ 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead. I’m a sick motherfucker, dude.”

“Oh, and the last thing was Olivia Gondek, that I wanted to eat her —–. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.”

“How about Karen Stintz?” Ford: “I’d like to fucking jam her, but she don’t want…”

I may be in the minority on saying that I don’t think Rob Ford is racist, homophobic or even fully misogynistic. I don’t think he thinks he’s a bad guy, either. I think he’s just within a generation of men where this type of language has been mostly acceptable until a few years ago. Also, the fact that he’s inebriated during most of these spats is evident. Certainly an elected official should be more aware of be perceived as being insulting.

“Ford More Years,” would not be the worst thing to happen to Toronto. But it also wouldn’t be the best. Any politician that takes the stage needs to know that scrutiny will always be a large part of the job. But at the end of the day, it’s what you do in office is what matters.

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