On Friday, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was the municipal magistrate hosting Canada's 100th Grey Cup Championship game, and destine that weekend to claim the coveted trophy on home turf. On Monday, he was out of a job. He found himself turfed out of office after judge Charles Hackland ruled Ford had been in conflict of interest when as a city councillor he had in essence voted to absolve a debt he technically owed to the city, a stipend of $3150.00 in charitable donations he'd collected for a football team of under privileged youth. He happened to be the coach thereof.
If there's one thing we all love it's a larger than life character rising to prominence and then the inevitable fall from grace. In Ford's case, although the charge was not dramatic, his tour de force personality, flagrant displays of stubbornness and often dumbfounding oafish antics made him the most polarizing figure in Toronto's City Hall since Mel Lastman.
Unlike recent epic failures like MP Michael Bryant killing a cyclist and Chris Mazza's Gordon Gekko embezzlement antics through his Orange Air Ambulance service, Ford's cathartic tumble feels only like the latest episode in an ever-escalating series of unfortunate events.
Every week there seemed to be another misadventure in the wacky world of Mayor McCheese. I call him that name not as a petty crack at his weight (I'm a portly chap myself) rather I refer to the image he seemed sadly to be painting of himself as a leader: the role of a meat-head.
From the first day of his campaign two years ago and as we'll continue to see, I would venture no man has provided the Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun with more front page stories than Toronto's 64th Mayor.
The polarizing affect he had was to whip the Sun, already contender for FOX News North, into a foaming anti-pinko, commi-socialist witch-hunting shit-rag.
But that was already to be expected of them, as a tabloid pamphlet to begin with.
But I think Ford's biggest legacy in his notorious love-hate relationship with the media will be how he rattled the leftest Toronto Star enough to shed its guise as a legitimate news organization and reveal itself as the amateur, petty, mean-spirited, nasty little shit-rag it too turned out to be.
As a former Star reader, I recall my disgust in the property dispute affair in which the Star sent reporter Daniel Dale to investigate a land deal of Mayor McCheese's by trespassing on his hamburger palace and prompting a confrontation. It was bad journalism in the first instance, but the following day, the front page of the Star featured a prominent diagram of the scene of the Ford estate complete with graphics outlining where Dale had been standing -- and at what point he felt the Mayor was going to attack him. In that moment I realized my future relationship with the Toronto Star would be limited to picking out examples of stupidity to pepper into future blog posts. The Toronto Star proved that, like the Toronto Sun, both were aptly named as the masthead of each was clearly not of this world.
Daniel Dale. You call what you do Journalism, you piece of fish shit? You're no better than the fucktard holding that big red microphone for the Sun.
In the aftermath of the ruling, Ford has since come out swinging as expected, citing himself as the victim of a left-wing witch hunt. But "Our Ford" was never cut out for this show in the first place. He proved through his litany of missteps from the comical to the distressing, that the station was beyond his repose.
"To the roof Mr. Prime Minister, there's an F-35 waiting." "But Mayor Ford, there's only room for one Person?!" "EXACTLY!"
What is unfortunate is that we lose a politician who could have been effective if he hadn't surrounded himself with his family and cronies, run his campaign and government with an "Us" versus "Them" mentality. And although I often found myself in agreement with him on economic issues (if only in principle if not in execution) more often than I disagreed with him, he remained the less-than-ideal representative for people who shared his political beliefs. Emotional, short-tempered and utterly without tact, he was and will continue to be his own worst enemy.
These are Grapes whose wrath you want no part thereof.
It is not without irony that a man who always seemed to be telling you what he really thought, who always came off as sincere and without the tangled webs of deceit and double talk of the Ontario Liberal Party or the back-door legislating vipers harbored in Stephen Harper's camp -- that this man who's clumsy execution of ambitious policies that often backfired, who galvanized cyclists against him and received an endorsement from Grapes himself, this man was taken down not by a greedy plot to embezzle millions from the Salvation Army or take mob construction contracts under the table, but by his own stubborn ignorance.
Not a crook, not a paid stooge. Just a selfish oaf with a big heart and an even bigger head full of meat. He screwed up royally and he has to pay for it. Maybe Toronto 100 years ago would have been a better fit for him - or a smaller venue...I hear London, 2 hours southwest is soon to have an opening in City Hall...