Posts Tagged ‘politics’
As is its wont, the Toronto Star broke the latest story regarding Rob Ford. Kevin Donovan reports that Rob Ford, contrary to his public statements of recent days, actually wasn’t very good at all in rehab.
Mayor Rob Ford pushed and scuffled with fellow rehab residents and was so verbally abusive that he was kicked out of his group therapy program, according to people who have knowledge of his two month stay at GreeneStone.
These accounts of what one person referred to as “destructive behaviour” stands in stark contrast to Ford’s recent public statements that he had a healthy experience and takes his recovery seriously.
“Ford broke things, got into fights with other residents,” said one source with knowledge of the mayor’s time in rehab at the resort-turned-drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Muskoka.
“Ford stopped people from sharing their stories, which is key to a successful rehab experience,” said another source. “Other residents felt intimidated. They felt he was a bully. He was always saying he did not belong there.”
Management was concerned Ford continued to use drugs or alcohol during his time in rehab. The Star was unable to determine if Ford abused any substances during his two month stint.
GreeneStone’s wooded property has a well known “nature walk” and a concern of staff is that some residents meet their drug dealers or people providing alcohol at the far end of the walk.
Police were called at least once to deal with an incident at GreeneStone during Ford’s time. It’s not known if the police visit was related to Ford. The OPP, which patrols the area, said that any information about police calls to GreeneStone could only be obtained by making a freedom of information request, a process that takes months.
NOW Toronto‘s Jonathan Goldsbie writes about the NDP reaction to the outcome of the 2014 by-election in Trinity-Spadina. This election saw Liberal Adam Vaughan take an absolute majority of votes cast, beating NDP candidate Joe Cressy by a sizable distance. Many prominent NDPs are now saying that Vaughan would have been a better fit for the Liberals, and that his allegedly NDP-ish aspirations won’t be satisfied in the Liberal party.
Sour groups, I wonder?
As recently as two and a half months ago, when Cressy strode into the auditorium of the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to accept his party’s uncontested nomination, it appeared he’d have the easiest route to Parliament of any NDPer in recent memory. Olivia Chow had held the Commons seat from 2006 until she stepped down to run for mayor in mid-March, and Cressy – who’d managed her very successful 2011 campaign – was understood to be the designated successor in the by-election she triggered.
But Chow’s succession plans failed once before: when she resigned from city council ahead of her 2006 federal run, she wanted her Ward 20 seat to go to Helen Kennedy, her NDP-backed former assistant. Yet the orange machine seemed caught off guard by the strength and popularity of then Citytv reporter Vaughan, who in November that year won handily with 52 per cent of the vote to Kennedy’s 35.
Vaughan’s name recognition, public profile and popularity in the area have only grown since, and were obviously the largest factors in his victory. But among those at Ryze, another theme emerges: that Vaughan could just as easily or should have run for the NDP instead.
In a brief address preceding his introduction of Cressy, leader Thomas Mulcair mocks what he perceives as a dissonance between Vaughan’s values and those of his chosen party. “Mr. Vaughan ran a very good campaign,” he says. “One of the interesting things was he had a lot of progressive ideas, but they were NDP ideas, not Liberal ideas!”
Mulcair continues the backhanded praise: “We’ll see how that goes for him when he finds out that Justin Trudeau actually is in favour of Line 9 and Justin Trudeau does want the Keystone pipelines – things that the NDP is standing up against.”
Rob Ford is back, fresh from rehab and ready to continue his campaign to be re-elected mayor.
What Torontoist’s Hamutal Dotan said.
Rehabilitation is supposed to be about resetting the trajectory of your life. For politicians, representatives with a sworn duty to protect the interests of those who elected them, rehabilitation must to some extent happen in public. While rehab often causes people to make professional changes (moving work environments or avoiding certain colleagues, for instance), in the particular case of politicians—because of their ongoing relationship with the electorate and the expectation of transparency in a democracy—those professional changes take place out in the open. Or at least they should, if leaders are to regain the public’s trust.
The mayor held an event today, his first day back at the office. It was meant to inform us of his current state and future plans—to serve as his reintroduction to the people of Toronto after rehab. It was meant to demonstrate that he had faced his issues head-on, and was ready to return to work.
There was nothing—in his demeanour, in the content of his remarks, or in the nature of the event itself—to indicate that Rob Ford is a changed man.
The mayor spoke for 18 minutes, and his statement was roughly divided into two halves: an apology and a political call to arms. The first was vague, abstract, and generic. The second, sloganeering we have heard for years. The combination of the two was both odd and odious.
Apologies need, above all, to be specific. For an apology to constitute a genuine gesture toward making amends, you must specify what it is that you have done wrong. You must show some understanding of the toll it has taken on others, and you must indicate in concrete, specific ways the measures you are taking to ensure your behaviour will be different in the future. Ford’s speech contained almost none of these things.
The only specific act the mayor apologized for was making “hurtful and degrading remarks” about Karen Stintz. Entirely absent from his speech were the years of lying; his countless homophobic and racist remarks; the many misogynist remarks he has made independently of the ones about Stintz; the alleged mistreatment of his staff; his relationship to one Toronto’s major gangs; or acts of violence allegedly done in his name, or for the sake of his protection.
Me, all that I’ll add as someone who has had a couple of drunken stupors (graduate school and drinks that taste like candy are key elements, here), I’ve never been hanging around people who’ve a connection that I know of to crack cocaine.
Torontoist’s Desmond Cole has a transcript of the speech, delivered to a personally-selected media crowd.
Walking home tonight, I noticed that there were plenty of dueling campaign signs for Adam Vaughan and Joe Cressy tonight on the western periphery of Trinity-Spadina , on Ossington Avenue at Bloor, to be precise.
The by-election called for this seat, triggered by the departure of the NDP’s Olivia Chow to run for the position of mayor of Toronto, has import beyond Toronto. This riding, the pundits say, is apparently a bellwhether for the direction of Canadian politics. In the past, if the Liberals won it, they were on track to form the next government. If, instead, the NDP won it, the Conservatives would prevail. Naturally, both parties invested heavily in this riding.
Torontoist’s interviews with three of the four leading candidates–the Green Party’s Camille Labchuk, the NDP’s Joe Cressy, and the Liberals’ Adam Vaughan–were worth reading. (The Conservatives’ Benjamin Sharma didn’t respond to Torontoist’s request for an interview.)
Three Hundred Eight’s Éric Grenier predicted that a Liberal victory would be more likely than not. And, indeed, the Liberals did win, taking not only Trinity-Spadina with an absolute majority of votes cast but keeping the east-end riding of Scarborough-Agincourt.
What does this mean? The major break from past elections and parliaments is the strength of the NDP relative to the Liberals. Will this election signal a return to traditional patterns of Liberal dominance over the NDP? Or have things changed sufficiently, especially with the capture of Québec by the NDP, to send Canadian politics into entirely new directions?