Rob Ford by any other name

Yesterday was some pretty big news for Torontonians. One ongoing saga came to an end that very few people actually saw coming: Rob Ford won his appeal in a court case that would have had him removed from office as mayor of Toronto.

Rob Ford is to Toronto, in a sense, as George W. Bush was to the States. And by that I mean a laughing stock in not only his own country but internationally. Naturally, the stuff George Bush did in the States is far worse than anything Ford has really done to Toronto, but still. he’s a mayor that is just so fun to make fun of.

He’s definitely the most divisive GTA mayor in some time; you either love the guy or you hate him. The first time I had heard of Ford was before he was officially elected mayor. My friend Wes ended up interviewing him for a profile assignment we had in our first year of journalism school. At that time, Ford was the most available guy on city council and freely gave his phone number out to people who wanted to get in touch with him.

Unsurprisingly those days have long since gone. Ford has done a boatload of stupid things since being elected mayor (and several stupid things before he was elected mayor), here’s a short list:

  • Diverted two TTC buses to transport the high school football team he coaches
  • Called the police on a cast member of This Hour Has 22 Minutes
  • harassed a Toronto Star reporter who came near his property

And many more. These things have gotten the attention of not only the Canadian national media, but also other countries that look on and say “Canada, how could you do this?” What the mayorship of Rob Ford has also done is divide the city’s newspapers.

At one end of the spectrum is the Toronto Sun. They are firmly pro-Ford and have been since day one. They will defend the man to the death and blame people like “lefties” (or maybe “pinkos,” thanks to Don Cherry’s popularization of the word). On the other end of the spectrum is the Toronto Star, who have been anti-Ford since day one. They are possibly even more anti-Ford now because, due to a story the paper ran, Ford excludes the Star from all press releases and news events. Whenever Ford slips up, you can bet it will be a front page story.

At first I tended to be quite pleased with the Star‘s knocking of Ford, but after a while it gets a little tiresome. I was quite pleased to read, today, Royson James’ column on Ford’s win in the courts. I agree with him when he says that Ford winning his appeal was the best option for Toronto; if he did lose it sounds like minor chaos would erupt in Toronto, either broken trust as councillors decided on a new mayor or a $7 million byelection that no one needs at a time when the city is seriously strapped for cash.

I’m surprised to find myself not as passionate about the world of Rob Ford anymore now that time has passed. This whole court debacle isn’t quite over, though; one the one hand, the opposing side are going to appeal to the Supreme Court, even if it’s a long shot. And next week, the findings of a wholly different investigation are going to be revealed, and through that Ford could once again lose his seat (or be fined, depending on what the recommended punishment is).

Ford is certainly comedy gold for the city of Toronto, but perhaps these skirmishes with the law might finally humble him a little bit and perhaps allow him to get some things done before the next mayoral election.


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