My late dad taught me to never get into a discussion regarding politics or religion, and I followed his advice cause it made sense and still does. Having said that, this gong show that is happening at Toronto City Hall for the past few days has led me to write this article and weigh in about this whole debacle.
I will be the first to admit that I voted for Rob Ford and defended him back in May when this story broke about him being on video smoking an illegal drug, I defended him because at the time I believed it was irresponsible for a newspaper to report such a story without any evidence. (For the record, my position is the same today even though the Mayor came out and admitted he did in fact smoke crack) It was about how the story came about and was handled.
My two issues with this whole thing given that the Mayor has said repeatedly that he will not step down and in fact intends on running for a second term is that I’m stuck in deciding on whether or not to vote for him again. You see friends I didn’t vote for just Rob Ford back in 2010, I voted for the platform he represents. I hope you’re beginning to realize my dilemma. Having said that, it would be irresponsible of me to support a politician that has lied about his substance abuse. Even with him apologizing profusely it does not excuse his actions; he just can’t be trusted going forward. Given that, Mr. Rob Ford will not receive my support come in October 2014.
I was well aware of what we were getting when Rob won the election back in 2010, I knew he couldn’t phrase a sentence without using some sort of slang and I knew that he was rough around the edges, which would be an understatement. I also knew he could never keep most of his campaign promises like removing the Toronto land transfer tax, but I never thought he would not resign and not put the city of Toronto first in a time of crisis and relentless pressure from the populous.
It’s no secret that Ford is an opportunist with city council members being powerless by not having a legal mechanism to having him removed from office, he’s hoping that an apology will be enough and in his own words “ride out the storm” till election night next fall.
The second issue with this drama is that Torontonians have a short memory when it comes to scandalous politicians. Take Ralph Klein or even the late Jack Layton for instance. Klien was caught drinking and driving and was given a pass not only by his constituents but by also the media. Jake Layton on the other hand was caught in a massage brothel downtown Toronto during a police raid. Layton was an acting member of city council in Toronto at the time. We all know how that ended up and how Mr. Layton went on to having a celebrity like political career taking the Federal NDP as the official opposition at Parliament Hill.
Could all this media attention be happening because it’s 2013 and we live in a time when social media has taken over how we communicate with one another? Could have Jack Layton been able to survive if his scandal happened in a time when everyone is connected by a smartphone? We’ll this a topic for a different day.
The bottom line is and I would think that most Canadians could agree is that politicians must be held accountable not just by law, but also from the constituents they represent, no politician that is involved in a scandal should ever have the right to run for office again.