December 9, 2013

This letter is anonymous. Why? Because it seems that anyone who dares to stand up against the current mob calling for Rob Ford’s resignation can expect to be targeted for scorn, ridicule, and name calling. Those labelled as “Ford Nation” have alternatively been called fanatics, far right maniacs, extremists etc (see Royson James, The Toronto Star, November 3, 2013). Publicly attempting to put down and humiliate people with name calling and lumping them all into one category. Isn’t that called bullying and stereotyping? When I was educated it was. But what do I know? I’m apparently just another extremist – someone who thinks that a Mayor who was subjected to almost six months of 24/7 police surveillance, at least some of it with a Cessna over his house until the neighbours started complaining, and who has not yet been charged with anything, should not have to resign. Someone who wonders just how much all that investigation and surveillance cost. Someone who gets a little edgy when the police chief orders the investigation and a six month surveillance of an elected official, then releases a 400+ page report in which we learn that the Mayor and his friend Alessandro Lisi drank vodka together in a wooded area, that the Mayor relieved himself on a bush, and that they apparently had a strange penchant for convenience stores, Gatorade, potato chips, and little baggies of nefarious content. Good grief! Call in the RCMP! Mr. Lisi, this alleged underworld character, meanwhile managed to evade the top police team numerous times, and in the end was charged with dealing marijuana in a plaza and verbally threatening two alleged drug dealers in an attempt to get the video of the Mayor allegedly smoking crack. Really? That took six months of police surveillance, and resulted in the police chief being “disappointed” in the Mayor? This is the same police chief isn’t it who had no problem with his officers “kettling” innocent people in the rain during the G20, and who has defended police shooting of mentally ill people, at least one of them having been shot several times then tasered for good measure. And he’s disappointed in Ford? I think maybe the people of Toronto remain pretty disappointed in him. Does the Mayor have a troubled personal life? Yes, it appears he does. And I’m sure this is not helped by reporters swarming all over his driveway and his front yard, refusing to leave unless pushed and yelled at, with his two small children, 6 and 8, looking on. Nor is it helped by the Toronto Star’s campaign of the past three years from the moment the man took office. To hear The Star tell it, Armageddon would ensue. Has it? Well, actually it hasn’t. Since he took office Toronto’s aging infrastructure is being rebuilt, a subway extension to long suffering Scarborough, taxes kept low, getting rid of the vehicle transfer tax, better customer service – in fact he regularly goes out to see citizens himself and works to fix whatever is troubling them. He says he “loves to meet people at the doorstep”. Just in case all those Ford haters out there were wondering, that is exactly the reason his approval rating went up 5% in the wake of the police chief’s latest revelations about his bad behaviour. People know he is trying to do a good job for them. They appreciate it when they call his office and get their concerns addressed. They know he is unpolished and has shown bad judgement in being drunk in public places. Of course none of us has ever done that. “But we should hold the Mayorto a higher standard!” say the Mayor’s opponents. Really? Did we hold a certain drunken Premier to a higher standard? Or a certain drunken Attorney General? Or a certain Scarborough Councillor after his DUI? Did we put them under surveillance? Most importantly, do we honestly think that no politician at the municipal, provincial, or federal levels has not from time to time fraternized with shady characters – some of whom throw fundraisers for them and/or donate large sums to their re-election campaigns? Not only that, but weren’t there all kinds of untendered contracts awarded provincially by OLG, and did not provincial Ministers approve untendered contracts – 30 million worth wasn’t it, to IBM for eHealth (Toronto Star, October 1, 2009)? And did they not squander millions more on the failed Green Energy Act and ORNG? Are we not more worried about politicians misplacing our money than we are about them peeing on bushes when inebriated? Let’s get real. What really has all you Ford haters so upset? Could it be that the comfortable Toronto establishment doesn’t feel so comfortable anymore? Wasn’t it February of 2011 that the Mayor and the city’s Auditor General discovered huge waste and possible fraud at the Toronto Housing Corporation? And did that not result in Ford calling on the Chair and the whole civilian Board to resign? And wasn’t police chief Blair pretty upset with Ford in August of 2011 when Ford tried to introduce a 10% cut to the police budget? Seems he really upset Mike McCormack of the police union who vowed to take “every legal action” to fight Ford on it (Globe and Mail, August 31, 2011). He has certainly upset the downtown Councillors. Possibly about spreading city cash more evenly between the suburbs and the downtown core? Who are we kidding? Mayor Ford is far from perfect as he himself admits. But was there Armageddon? Is he “desecrating” the Office of Mayor as one Toronto Star columnist has said? Hardly. My advice to Ford Hater Nation? Get a grip!


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