Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

I want to make something clear.  I am not a fan of Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto.  He is boorish, often ignorant, sometimes a bully and often belligerent if he disagrees with someone.  Having said that, let’s give the man a break!!!  His whole life has been scrutinized backwards and forwards, assessed, judged and condemned in the media.  While I do think that some of the things he may have done are questionable, where is the same level of interest and contempt for other politicians who have done much worse???  A good example is former Mayor of Toronto, Mel Lastman.  Forgetting the fact that he called in the army to help clean up snow after a storm and made a laughing stock of the city some years back because of it, he regularly appeared in his son’s TV and print ad commercials for the business they both own – Bad Boy Furniture and Applicances.  While he was still Mayor!  I don’t recall there being a big stink in the media because of this, even though, in my eyes at least, this is clearly a conflict of interest.  

Mayor Ford is also regularly shamed for his weight and his sweating.  He is overweight and he sweats.  I doubt that has bearing on his ability (or lack thereof some would argue) to conduct City Hall affairs.  

The crack cocaine video that supposedly exists (existed).  It’s possible that he indeed smoked crack cocaine.  But what I don’t understand are the hours and hours of TV, radio and print media wasted on speculations of this kind.  This should be investigated by the police if the allegations have merit and appropriate charges (if any) should be brought against him.  Then we can all gorge ourselves on the media frenzy that would ensue.  But not now.  That story just got me annoyed, and instead of the incense I was supposed to be feeling (I’m guessing that’s what the reporters were tryig to elicit), I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Mayor Ford.

Maybe he hasn’t been the best Mayor of Toronto, but he certainly hasn’t been the worst.  And, as I recall, there wasn’t much choice during the running, with George Smitherman as the only other viable contender.  But don’t even get me started on that “gentleman” (yes, the quotation marks serve a purpose).  

A good friend of mine and I were recently talking about Mayor Ford and she brought up a point with which I wholeheartedly agree – why don’t we make the Mayor’s salary a truly decent one, so that maybe, just maybe, worthy candidates want to throw their hat into the race, instead of those who are independently wealthy or unqualified.  One has to be prepared to pay for quality.  This is true of leather shoes, as much as it is for a political position.  The Mayor’s job in Toronto is not an easy one as it is frought with challenges coming from all sides – business, labour, provincial and federal pressures, etc.  Let’s give our Mayor some slack, and if we are so terribly unhappy with him, provide appropriate incentives during the next elections for a truly worthy candidate to run.