I’ve received a wave of emails from helpful readers, with links to news reports about Canada’s shame, drunk, crack-smoking, lying Toronto mayor, Rob Ford. “Write about this!” they suggest.
The mayor of a major Canadian city is a law-breaker, a substance abuser, an addict, and ill. When your defense to a video showing you smoking crack is “I was so drunk, I don’t remember it,” that should say it all. He initially lied about the allegations of his crack use. He calls up radio stations in a drunken state. He is caught on tape drunkenly screaming that he want to murder someone. His various public stances to keep his job have ranged from shameless appeals to pity— “I hope none of you ever find yourself” in such a state, a reverse Golden Rule tactic that amounts to arguing “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you if you were the irresponsible, addict mayor who will do and say anything to stay in office”—to that old stand-by, Bill Clinton’s “I’m just going to concentrate on doing my job and accomplishing what the voters elected me to do,” as if they elected Ford to embarrass the city.
Of course he should resign. If he doesn’t, he should be thrown out. Yesterday. This is even worse than the horrible Bob Filner fiasco in San Diego, where every other day more evidence surfaced that the mayor was a serial sexual harasser and predator. There are voices in Canada that are actually defending Toronto’s farce of a mayor, making the predictable argument that these are only “personal” transgressions, and don’t relate to his professional effectiveness. Indeed, some analysts believe that he can be reelected in 2014. “It isn’t like it has affected his work,” Ford’s sister, Kathy, told the press. The fact that a mayor breaks the law, is an out of control drunk, lies and that you couldn’t trust him to house sit your dog hasn’t affected his work. You are sad fool, Kathy, but you have a lot of company.
Leaders like Rob Ford, Clinton, Charlie Rangel (and I’m beginning to think Obama), like scoundrels before them (Daley, Curley, Conklin, and Marion Barry) are true ethics corrupters. They use class divisions and charisma to convince unsophisticated citizens to ignore their flawed character and values because “they care,” then to defend them, and eventually, endorse them. This is how corruption became embedded in the cultures of nations in South America and Africa, crippling them morally, politically and economically.
That fate is the real peril Canada risks if it allows its leaders to represent irresponsible, dishonest and untrustworthy conduct in positions which should be held to the highest standards, not the lowest of the low.
It should be obvious.
There’s really nothing to write about.
Facts: Boing Boing, BBC1, BBC2, CBC News
Graphic: NY Daily News
8 thoughts on “Toronto’s Pathetic Mayor: What’s The Question?”
Canada has mayors?
What next? A flag? Laws?
We may want to consider securing the border if they’ve advanced that far.
I have never seen that article before, and as a proud canadian-er, I thank you for this link. I love the onion
Welcome to EthicsAlarms.
Now we all know that alcoholism is a disease, is treatable, and millions have gotten sober and repaired their lives. HOWEVER, an unabashed drunk and druggie holding public office is untenable. Many people have had their employers help them with their disease/addictions, but were forced to “take time off” from their jobs while in treatment… the clear concept being that you simply can’t do your job when you’re drunk, high, and stupid.
The concept that the “stigma” of alcoholism is unfair is perhaps why some people still support this elected official. But someone, somewhere, has to get honest — he has to get sober, get clean, let people see the “repaired” man and make their choice about his leadership.potential.
An aside: If this is Canada’s approach to this issue, is it any wonder that the Canadian Obamacare website is such a mess? We sole-sourced the website development to a Canadian company for $660 million — why I’ll never understand — but if they let the Rob Ford stay in office, then one has to wonder who the hell designed and developed the unworkable Obamacare website? It’s beginning to make sense… a website developed by a bunch of drunks and crackheads would probably ipso facto have serious flaws…
The post’s text, I agree with 100%.
The accompanying photo of Rob Ford and its Chris Farley caption, not so much.
I get that Chris Farley’s drug use ruined his talents and his career before it killed him, and that drug- and alcohol-driven damage to an elected official’s abilities, left unaddressed or covered up, can only harm that official’s governance and constituents. (So can other mental impairments kept hidden: e.g., Woodrow Wilson’s final years as President.)
I know Chris Farley best for his comic portrayals of ignorant buffoons, and that Rob Ford bears a passing resemblance to a Chris Farley character. Funny? A little – but on reflection, the juxtaposition is not too different from what Time Magazine made with its Chris Christie “Elephant In The Room” cover story.
Rob Ford’s story isn’t funny at all. It has nothing to do with whether Rob Ford looks like Chris Farley or (to keep it Canadian) young, handsome Justin Trudeau or old, wrinkly Jean Chrétien or… well… Rob Ford. It has to do with a mayor’s tenure as leader of Canada’s largest city, and how his ethics failures of commission and omission have damaged the city’s government, harmed its constituents, and brought dishonor on himself.
The post says that. The picture and its caption doesn’t.
I’m grateful for the point, which I didn’t consider at all. I just don’t agree with it:
1. Saying that Christie is or is like an “elephant” is obviously a slur on his weight. Saying that Ford is like Chris Farley (or the characters he played) is just true–is it not? In there any question that if Farley were alive, SNL would not be able to resist starring him in a Rob Ford skit?
2. For the record, I didn’t find Farley funny at all. I think the resemblance to Ford is striking, and I was surprised others haven’t made the point. I would agree that the comparison is to some extent unfair to Farley, who was by all accounts a nice guy, battled his problems, and was wise enough not to get elected mayor. Nor would Americans have elected him.
3. Time’s fat slur was gratuitous. The Farley reference was not. The post was about a drug abusing, drunken boor of a mayor who looks like a middle-aged version of the late comic who played substance-abusing boors with some regularity. If the post had been about Ford’s fiscal policies and I had used the same graphic, then I would agree: a gratuitous slur.
4. Ford is ridiculous, and it is not inappropriate to mock the ridiculous. I would say that an elected official whose defense of smoking crack is “I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing” is sad, yes, but also absurd, and thus laughable, in a mordant way.
As I followed this story, it just seemed to follow the same script as every other “mayor in trouble” story. Marion Barry, Bob Filner, Kwame Kilpatrick, Coleman Young, etc. I wonder if the newspapers have a set of boilerplate articles prewritten for such situations. It would save much time.
Week 1: Mayor [fill in name] of [fill in city] faces serious accusations today that he [was drunk, used drugs, sexually harassed someone, had someone killed]. The mayor categorically denies the allegations.
Week 2: [Video or other ironclad proof] of the alleged [fill in the transgression] of Mayor [fill in name] is claimed to exist. The mayor denies that such evidence exists and claims if it does exist it is just a fabrication.
Week 3: [Ironclad proof] is revealed in Mayoral scandal. The mayor claims it is a lie and he hasn’t had time to review the evidence yet.
Week 4: The mayor admits the allegations are true, but that none of this affects the performance of his job as mayor.
Week 5: The mayor claims he has entered a treatment program and he is very sorry for his actions.
Week 6: Either “Mayor resigns amid scandal” or “Despite scandal, mayor retains significant support of the voters”
It is sad that even our political scandals are formulaic.