Dear Rob Ford,
When you were elected as mayor of Canada’s largest city, all my Torontonian friends were aghast. They never thought you’d make it in. Having lived in Toronto for a couple years myself, I had to agree that you seemed pretty incongruous: Toronto is, after all, known for its diverse, savvy, cosmopolitan character, and you simply did not seem to reflect that. But hey, obviously you had enough voters. Who am I to argue?
I admit that I felt bad for you, that time you made a resolution to get fit and, um… failed. We’ve all had those times when we didn’t measure up to our own dreams for ourselves, and I’ll give you kudos for trying so publicly.
Suddenly, I could picture you as a high school kid, the kind who masks social insecurities by being a boor and drinking too much. It seems you never really got over that.
I heard your apology speech yesterday as it happened. Again, and rather in spite of myself, I felt pity for you. You did sound truly sorry (that triple “sincerely” really drove it home) and I’m sure it was all very difficult for you.
Also, I’m glad you admitted you were ashamed, that you’re an embarrassment, because that’s the first step to admitting there’s a problem with you. The question is, what took you so long? How were you not ashamed earlier? How were you not embarrassed by getting called out for those city buses you commandeered for your football team, for those pictures of you reading-and-driving on the Gardiner, for swearing on camera, for getting drunk in public, or for all the times you cut out early or didn’t show up for important events?
I didn’t actually see you fail to stop for a streetcar, and I don’t actually know if the sexual harassment charges hold true, but as a public figure, you must know that none of that matters. We’ve all lost count of the number of times your name has come up on the radio, followed by a report of sleazy/unprofessional behaviour, and we’ve rolled our eyes, thinking “How the hell is that guy still in office??”
Then we thought you were finally done for when you went on trial for Conflict of Interest. It felt like the one-jillionth strike against you, in a world where three strikes is usually enough to take you off the field. Honestly, I have no idea how you managed to wrangle your way back to the mayor’s chair from that one.
Furthermore, I don’t know why you wanted to. I simply don’t get why you think this mayor job is for you. Generally, when a city needs a mayor, one starts with UPSTANDING CITIZENS. I don’t mean to be uncharitable, but you simply ARE NOT ONE. Anyone who uses a “drunken stupor” as an excuse for smoking crack has a wacked-out idea of what it means to be a respectable person.
You have, in the past, lashed out at the media, saying “Show some respect.” (I can’t deny they’ve hounded you.) But you neither show respect nor inspire it.
You apparently want to “regain the trust” of your constituents and “continue the work” you’ve already been doing. But seriously, there is no way to regain the trust at this point. It is gone. And as for continuing the work, I have to ask: does the amount of work you’ve done for the city even come close to the amount of time wasted on all the stupid shit you’ve done?
So why do you want this gig? Are you showing up some former bullies? Is it sheer pathological doggedness? Maybe it’s all a joke, just to see how much you can get away with and still hold onto your post? Or perhaps you’re being paid off by the federal Conservatives, to make them look less evil. After all, who cares about gross Senate overspending and Harper’s warmongering and duplicity – at least they don’t smoke crack!
To be frank, I’m not even sure what you love about Toronto. If you don’t like streetcars or cyclists or immigrants or refugees or women or Pride or homeless people or journalists, then you’re in the wrong city. You could definitely find football teams in towns more suited to you.
The bottom line is that, as mayor of Canada’s largest city, you represent all of us to a degree – regardless of whether any of us want you to. Thanks to you, in this way, we ALL look like idiots and we are ALL a laughingstock. And that is not okay.
Please, don’t be that obtuse, untrustable boyfriend who refuses to see he’s being broken up with. You do not need this job. You need help. You need to fix yourself before you can fix anything else. And I’m afraid Toronto’s just not that into you.
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19 thoughts on “Oh, Rob. *Sigh*”
I felt all those feelings, too – starting back with the city bus shenanigans or thereabouts, right through the over-drinking and bottom-pinching to his apology speech. An addictive personality is not really someone’s fault, but it is his or her responsibility. If it isn’t dealt with firmly, it takes over. It makes people do things they don’t really want or intend to do. As you say, he needs help. He doesn’t need the mayor’s job.
That is well-put – that the addictive bent not his fault but it is his responsibility. I agree. When your colleagues urge you to get help, you need to listen.
I agree completely that he doesn’t seem like a guy who likes Toronto much at all. But then again, the people who voted him in might not either; most of them live in the suburbs, where there are no streetcars and fewer bikes, and perhaps more segregated neighbourhoods (though definitely there is racial representation).
Also: wasted time AND TAXPAYER MONEY. As if that was something he could ever ever make a case for with anyone on any side. Sheesh.
Yeah, I guess Toronto and GTA aren’t precisely the same thing. And yes, the MONEY. GAH.
What kind of a role model is he….and what values are being shown to kids and young people…..that it is OK to do wrong and then just say you’re sorry without any other consequences?? Being the mayor of a city demands a certain level of values and a code of ethics. Somehow this sorry story reminds me of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Rob Ford is certainly in denial….and this is not the type of judgment that is needed to be in the position of mayor of the largest city in Canada. Really…it is just unbelievable that he is not being forced out for incompetency. Love your post and the last line “Toronto’s just not that into you!”
I completely agree, Beverley. We try to teach kids that you don’t have unlimited chances in the “real world”, but Ford does seem to think he’s entitled to exactly that. I would be horrified if my children – or any of my students – decided to look to Rob Ford as an example.
Why bring Harper into this though? Your article was okaaayyyy until that point.
Fair enough – obviously Canada is not of one mind regarding Harper’s Conservatives. But they’ve done an excellent job of angering a lot of Canadians in the last couple of weeks.
Given Ford’s close ties with Harper, I’d say that mentioning the federal monkeybusines was entirely a propos.
BTW also otherwise a great piece!
A very well-written and straight to the point blog about a situation that is not only embarassing Toronto but making a laughing stock of all the rest of us in Canada. Why should any of us have to put up with this. The man needs to step down and get help or there will only be more worse disasters.
Thank you, Ruth. I agree – who knows how much worse things could get if allowed to continue?
True- but not unlike any former Federal Liberal Government- (thieving scum). Canadians were pretty peeved with them for years if you recall. Rob Ford, on the other hand, is a disgrace to humanity, let alone Torontonians. I could never compare the likes of Harper to Ford. Let’s just hope the next Ford tape to come out isn’t a sex tape…I might never be able to eat again if that happens:)
Oh boy. Now there’s something I DO NOT want to think about.
oh! so the Gravy Train derailed?
I’m a Torontonian who has lived in London England for years, but have until now kept my Canadian citizenship, and identified myself as a Canadian and indeed a Torontonian. Canada is seriously under-reported in the British press; Australia and even New Zealand receive more attention. It’s taken the Tar Sands to get Canada in the news here, and Rob Ford to get attention for Toronto. And he’s given a _lot_ more coverage than the Tar Sands. I’m ashamed!
Good to have your perspective. Gah, I can’t believe we’re now known for tar sands and Rob Ford. Now THAT is embarrassing.
I spun it around and told my kids that if you do drugs and act like a fool the entire world will make fun of you and even worse you will look like Rob Ford .
I think they got the point.
Ha! Reverse role model, good one. Because it’s not like the kids haven’t heard the news too. One of my Grade 6 students made a joke about Rob Ford the other day that was totally inappropriate… but I had to laugh because it was right on the money. There’s little about the guy that ISN’T inappropriate.