Kinsella

Rob Ford needs to leave office — and the sooner the better

Warren Kinsella

By Warren Kinsella, Special to QMI Agency

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford outside Peter Worthington's funeral Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/Toronto Sun)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford outside Peter Worthington's funeral Wednesday, May 22, 2013. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/Toronto Sun)

Gone?

In candid moments, and when no microphones are in the vicinity, progressive political operatives will admit they want to keep Rob Ford around.

They don’t want him gone, at all.

Liberal and New Democrat strategists know the truth: Toronto’s conservative mayor is the political gift that keeps on giving. He is the best thing to happen to progressive political fortunes in ages. Municipally, provincially, even federally — Rob Ford is a human shrapnel machine. He is radioactive. He is kryptonite. And, by simply maintaining a pulse, he gives hope to NDP and Grit campaigns in Toronto and beyond.

His political rap sheet tells why.

February 1999: Arrested in Florida for drunk driving and drug possession; pleaded no contest on the former charge; denies it during the 2010 Toronto mayoralty race, until presented with the evidence by the Toronto Sun.

April 2006: Security guards physically remove a drunken Ford from a Toronto Maple Leafs game; an out-of-town couple had asked him to be quiet, and Ford had slurred something about the woman wanting to be “raped and shot.”

March 2008: Ford is charged with assaulting his wife and uttering a death threat. The charges are abruptly dropped, in court, due to “inconsistencies” in his wife’s account.

June 2010: Ford is taped offering to buy a man “hillbilly heroin,” the powerful narcotic OxyContin. On the tape, he says he doesn’t know any dealers, but “I’ll f---ing try to find it.”

July 2011: A woman spots Ford on his cellphone while driving; when she reminds him it is a bad idea, he gives her — and her six-year-old daughter — the finger.

December 2011: Ford’s mother-in-law calls police, saying that her son-in-law has been drinking, and is threatening to take his children to the U.S., against his wife’s wishes.

August 2012: Ford is photographed reading papers while driving on a Toronto-area highway.

March 2012, June 2012, February 2013, March 2013: Photos and media reports circulate of Ford being intoxicated in public.

And, this month, this: An American website — and then the Toronto Star — detail seeing a video of Rob Ford, the mayor of North America’s fourth-largest city, allegedly smoking crack cocaine, and calling Justin Trudeau “a fag,” and the boys he coaches high school football “just f---ing minorities.” (That football team fired Ford days later.)

There’s more, a lot more.The slurs against minorities, gays and political opponents. The conflict of interest allegations, and the abuses of power. The appalling lapses in judgment — such as, just this week, permitting his staff to hand out Rob Ford fridge magnets at the funeral of the Toronto Sun’s founder, Peter Worthington.

Through it all, Ford and his repellant brother/enabler, Doug, refuse to accept any responsibility whatsoever. They blame a media conspiracy. They blame “pinkos.” They blame the provincial government. They blame everyone, in fact, who does not accept their retrograde ideology and their reckless ways.

After the extraordinary crack cocaine video surfaced, Ford could have stepped forward, denied the allegations, and offered to take a drug test — like his cabal regularly favour for transit workers or welfare recipients.

Or, he could have said this: “I have a substance abuse problem. For that, I am ashamed. I apologize to my family, my colleagues and the city. I will now step aside so that I can get help.” If he’d done that, I believe he would have been forgiven.

He would’ve been given a second chance. Canadians, after all, are a fair-minded and decent people.

But Rob Ford hasn’t done any of those things. He’s called the crack allegation “ridiculous,” and then gone into hiding.

Whatever his political utility once was — whatever he once did to help elect progressives — Rob Ford has brought shame and ridicule on us all, and he has provided young people with a terrible, terrible example.

For the love of God, then, Rob Ford, go. Just go.


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