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[URBAN NOTE] “‘Daddy smoked crack': Toronto’s former mayor Rob Ford, on cancer, drugs and his political future”

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Global News’ Laura Stone interviews Rob Ford at length.

This is so infuriating.

I ask him if he thinks he should have been punished, by the public, for what he did.

Yes and no, he says.

“Yes, because I didn’t get the help earlier on that I needed. And I was lying and conniving and just doing what an addict does,” he says.

“Then on the other side of it, I didn’t do it here. I wasn’t high here, I was doing my job, showing up every day, running a great city. That was in my private life.”

He stares straight ahead, and pauses for a few moments to reconsider.

“But then I look back on it and say, would I have wanted my mayor to do what Rob Ford was doing, regardless of if it was at his private time or not? No, I wouldn’t. And I don’t think anybody would want a mayor who was, you know, an alcoholic and a drug addict, and not recognizing that, and not getting help for it.”

Much much more at the link.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 18, 2015 at 7:18 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “John Tory, councillors attend transgender flag-raising ceremony”

John Tory’s attendance at an event of note to Toronto’s GLBT communities, as reported by the Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro, is a refreshing change from the Rob Ford era.

[F]acing biting winds on the podium roof of city hall, dozens including Mayor-elect John Tory gathered on Thursday afternoon to witness the raising of a flag in remembrance of transgender people lost to violence, suicide and who are still missing.

[. . .]

The significance of Tory’s attendance, despite not being the mayor quite yet, was not lost on organizers.

“I think it’s amazing that even before he’s had the privilege of being sworn in as the mayor of our city, that John Tory, the mayor-elect is here and we are so glad to see you,” said former MPP George Smitherman. “It’s a signal of better days ahead here in Toronto and at city hall.”

Pride and LGBTQ events have been contentious at city hall in recent years, with outgoing Mayor Rob Ford’s absence noted — including his refusal to march in the annual Pride parade — and his documented homophobic slurs criticized. Ford attended his first Pride Toronto event in June 2013, also a flag-raising. He had previously attended flag raisings against homophobia and transphobia.

“While I’m not yet the mayor of Toronto, I have been elected as the mayor of Toronto and I’m going to be the mayor of all the people,” Tory told reporters after the ceremony. “To me it is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to go to events like that.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

[LINK] “Jian Ghomeshi, Rob Ford and the cost of Canadian politeness”

Twitter pointed me towards Madeline Ashby’s opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen, one noting the ways in which famed Canadian politeness actually manifests more like indifference where the fate of women is concerned.

As the stories about Jian Ghomeshi grow in number and deepen in depravity, Canadians have asked themselves painful questions about how and why his alleged behaviour went ignored for so long. But if the history of Rob Ford is any indication, Torontonians are experts at not asking questions about a charismatic man’s treatment of women. And while the allegations against both Ford and Ghomeshi have not been proven in court, this reluctance to even talk about it suggests the famous Canadian politeness might give men cover for how they treat women.

It may seem strange to compare Ghomeshi with Ford. On the surface, they appear to be polar opposites. While Ghomeshi gleefully exploited his hipster cred among left-voting CBC listeners, Ford gorged himself on their frustration. But beneath their brands, the stories about them are disturbingly similar.

While Ghomeshi was allegedly busy intimidating his co-workers, assaulting his dates, and playing with his teddy bear, Ford was welcoming Toronto police officers into his home to deal with domestic disturbance complaints. In 2008, Rob Ford was arrested for assault and allegedly making a death threat against his wife. The charges were later dropped, because the Crown found his wife Renata Ford’s account to have “credibility issues.” In 2011, Ford’s mother-in-law called 911 to tell them Ford was taking his two children out of the country without their mother’s consent. The Ford family said the police had it all wrong, that everything was fine, that “a lot of people you know have problems behind closed doors.” But those problems continued: in 2012, police found Renata Ford with bruises and contusions on her face and body. When asked about the possibility of abuse, she refused to cooperate.

[. . .]

As the stories about alcohol and drugs and secret videos mounted, Renata Ford’s story slipped through the cracks. It’s not that it the public didn’t know there had been interactions with authorities — journalists at multiple Toronto newspapers knew and some even published stories about it. It’s that the public simply did not care. A mayor who smoked crack was a tragedy. The woman who lived with him was just a statistic.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 5, 2014 at 4:53 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes that television comedian John Oliver called for Doug Ford’s election, to amuse the rest of the world.
  • Centauri Dreams considers philosophical considerations to SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper simulating the tides and currents of the seas of Titan.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the generally pro-European results of the Ukrainian general election.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel notes that dozens of Hawaiians were actively involved as combatants in the US Civil War.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that upstate New York is not like Alabama.
  • Steve Munro offers new mayor John Tory friendly advice on transit in Toronto.
  • pollotenchegg maps the results of the Ukrainian elections.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc touches upon the many issues not raised in the Toronto elections juyst concluded.
  • Torontoist notes the worrying ascent of anti-Muslim sentiment in Toronto’s elections.
  • Towleroad looks at homophobia and violence in Serbia and Macedonia.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if Facebook is a secure enough means of communication for a Facebook message to be legally adequate to let a potential father know of a partner’s pregnancy.

[URBAN NOTE] “John Tory elected as Toronto’s new mayor, replacing Rob Ford”

The Globe and Mail confirms what I heard on CBC earlier: John Tory got elected mayor of Toronto. The note of the authors that relations with the province of Ontario might proceed smoothly is worth sharing, too.

John Tory will be the next mayor of Canada’s largest city, a victory that marks the end of the often-turbulent reign of the Ford brothers at Toronto city hall.

Mr. Tory, a former Rogers executive and radio host, had a 47,000-vote lead with more than 1,650 of the 1,767 polls reporting, a lead wide enough to declare him the winner just minutes after voting ended Monday night.

Doug Ford, who jumped into the race at the last minute as a substitute for his ailing brother was in second place. Former NDP MP Olivia Chow, who entered the campaign as the frontrunner, but saw her lead evaporate over the summer, came in third.

[. . .]

In China, where she is travelling on provincial business, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne heaved a sigh of relief.

“Hallelujah!” the Premier said as she heard the results, shortly after finishing a morning run photo-op with Chinese athletes and international school students at a stadium in Shanghai.

While Ms. Wynne has remained nominally neutral in the race for mayor, her caucus broke heavily for Mr. Tory. Sources in government said the Liberals were fans of his signature Smart Track policy. And Liberals insiders fretted about the prospect of working with Mr. Ford for the next four years.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 28, 2014 at 1:07 am

[URBAN NOTE] “Rob Ford might not be a slam dunk for city council”

blogTO’s Chris Bateman reports.

Rob Ford might have thought it would be easy to slip back into his old Ward 2 council seat, but it appears his closest rival, Andray Domise, is making up ground, possibly even leading, in the race to succeed incumbent Doug Ford.

An internal poll conducted by the Domise campaign earlier this month put their candidate on 53 percent, eight points ahead of Ford. However, Andrew Young, Domise’s campaign manager, says the figures should be taken with more than a pinch of salt.

The informal, live-caller telephone poll was conducted between the October 7th and 10th with “about 4,000″ decided voters, he says, as part of regular canvassing. Voters were asked how they would cast their ballot after some “persuasion and discussion.”

“We had a fundraiser coming up, which we were inviting people to, and so we initially gauged support to figure out if we should be offering the invitation.”

The comments seem dominated by an unpleasant debate as to whether the constituents of Ward 2 are stupid for allowing Ford to have represented them for so long. Fairer comments point out that the particular demographics of the neighbourhood are often disengaged from politics for reasons of poverty and/or alienation.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 21, 2014 at 2:50 am

[URBAN NOTE] On bigotry and Ford in Toronto and with Olivia Chow

NOW Toronto‘s Enzo DiMatteo writes about racism in Toronto, both that directed towards Olivia Chow and that evidenced by continuing support for the Ford brothers.

She has the best grasp of the inner workings of City Hall among the top contenders for mayor. She has the most political experience and the resumé to prove it. In the spring she was the overwhelmingly popular option to save the city from Rob Ford.

But for most Torontonians, Olivia Chow just doesn’t fit the bill, according to public opinion polls. Too stiff. Too scripted. Maybe too Chinese. I know you didn’t want me to go there, Toronto. But the racist attacks have been a little too overt to ignore, haven’t they?

The question of race has certainly dominated the campaign discourse of late.

Chow is reluctant to comment on what effect the fact that she is a visible minority is having on her electoral chances. As she told NOW’s editorial board Monday, October 6, she’ll leave that to the pundits. She always says that when she doesn’t want to answer a question directly.

But much like the anti-gay undercurrent that helped kill George Smitherman’s chances against Ford in 2010, disdain for Chow’s foreigner status may carry more weight than we’d like to admit.

It’s an uncomfortable reality to contemplate for a city whose motto is “diversity our strength.” Maybe we’re not so world-class. Just how did a guy like Rob Ford with a track record of racist and homophobic remarks get elected in the first place anyway?

In 2010, voters knew about his Air Canada Centre tirade. They knew about his AIDS comments. His bigotry was no secret. They knew exactly what they were getting.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm


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