My sister-in-law wrote from Ljubliana, Slovenia, the other day. “What’s going on with the mayor of Toronto? He’s all over the news here.”
Yeah, well, he’s all over the news everywhere. And let’s be clear: he’s not my mayor. I live in Oakville, which is a separate and very well-run, no-nonsense city. However, I do have some questions about the circus going on at the other end of the QEW.
Something’s missing from the whole Rob Ford fiasco. There’s something not quite right about what we’re seeing and reading in the media.
1. Why is the media so fixated on Rob Ford–who hasn’t been charged with anything–when the provincial Liberals tried to cover up spending a BILLION DOLLARS on the gas plant scandal? Why isn’t someone in jail for that obfuscation and misuse of public funds?
And speaking of the Libs spending our money, why aren’t there people in streets with pitchforks demanding answers to things like the growing provincial deficit, the eHealth scandal and the bullshit surrounding ORNGE?
2. Investigating Rob Ford must have cost millions. There was a five-man detective team, a team of police officers, aerial surveillance, cops tailing him on the ground, camera surveillance, wiretaps and who knows what else.
Who okayed spending that kind of month over months and months? Why was it okayed? This is not the kind of investigation you launch just because you heard that a guy–even a high-profile politician–took some pulls on a crack pipe.
And what have they found so far? He’s a drunk. He used crack. He’s prone to very inappropriate bull-in-a-china-shop behaviour. He’s taken a pee on a tree in a public place. He likes cheap vodka. He consorts with shady people. This is all pretty damaging from a reputation point of view but certainly not criminal. Not yet, anyway.
So here’s what I want to know: What were the cops looking for? And why haven’t they found it? Why is no one in the media asking that question? The only result has been “Look at what a huge buffoon this guy is.” Okay, granted. Point taken and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. But what’s missing? Or what was never there?
3. Why wasn’t the OPP or RCMP called in to investigate? By launching this probe, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair was essentially investigating his boss. Why wasn’t a separate police force called in to take a look?
And this can’t be an effort by the police department to chase a duly elected politician out of office. In other countries, we’d call that a coup d’etat. They must have suspected something more was going on. But what?
Just so you know, the police chief of Toronto is appointed by the Police Services Board (the body that deals with the city on matters of budgets and so on), so Chief Blair does have an arms-length relationship with the political machinations of the city. But calling in an outside force would have removed any perception of conflict of interest. Just sayin’.
4. Back to crack for a moment. I’m by no means defending anything here, but why is using crack worse than using cocaine? Remember the allegations (and later admissions) of cocaine use by former PQ leader Andre Boisclair? You didn’t see this kind of media circus around that story.
5. And while we’re at it, why is it okay for the media and everyone else to take shots at Ford’s weight? Substitute “black” for “fat” and watch what happens.
Did Rob Ford lie? Yes. Has he lost the moral right to act as the chief magistrate of the fourth largest city in North America? Yes. Has he brought shame on the office of mayor? Yes. Is he an embarrassment? Yes. Is he a danger to himself? Probably. Should he resign/step aside? Absolutely.
But what’s the real story here? This about more than loudmouth politician getting hammered at the office and stoned on his own time. Isn’t it?
If it isn’t–if the investigation has come up dry for criminal charges–then all these stories swirling around Ford are just distracting from the real point: what were the cops looking for and how much did it cost for them to find nothing. Yet.
There. That’s off my chest. Now enjoy some fresh tunes, hand-picked by me. Thanks to Mediazoic for the hosting.