It was nice while it lasted. The last two months in Toronto’s municipal election featured policy announcements, reasonable debate, and even a few bold ideas. However, these two months have also been notable for what they haven’t featured, or should I say who.
Rob Ford will be returning to work today, asked to comment Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said it would be “business as usual”. Rob has said he won’t be at work until late afternoon, and will then have a press conference but refuse to answer questions. So in a sense Norm was right.
As few days as there have been where Rob is in the office, there have been even fewer which could be described as business as usual. The media circus awaiting Ford’s return ensures Monday will be no different. Adding to the sideshow, last night it came to light several media outlets have been excluded from his press conference. If Ford’s plan today is to appear a changed man, excluding not only questions but those charged with asking them on the public’s behalf is not the best approach. Particularly when in addition to the many questions he has never answered new questions emerged even in his absence.
Did he and his brother lobby the city on behalf of private business, in order to benefit their own business?
Under what circumstances did a woman end up driving the Mayor’s SUV while under the influence of alcohol?
Numerous pictures surfaced of the Mayor out running errands, meeting people, and socializing in cottage country. Could the Mayor elaborate on the nature of his treatment and assure Toronto he was not on a taxpayer funded vacation?
These questions won’t be answered either. Ford has proven himself to be a serial liar so there would be no good reason to believe anything he says if he did answer them. More importantly none of these questions relate to building transit, improving our economy, ensuring Toronto serves the needs of our most vulnerable, or any of the other issues an election in the country’s largest city should be about.
The one question we have answered in the last two months is, what would a campaign without Ford be like? We saw a campaign about ideas, about vision, and most importantly a campaign focused on Toronto’s future and not the disgraceful man at it’s helm. That is the campaign a city like Toronto deserves. Having endured since last May as much of our city’s business was consumed by Ford’s scandal a campaign on the issues would be a well deserved gift.
Unfortunately that is a gift only Ford can give us, by resigning fully from his office as well as the campaign itself. He has never placed the interests of the city before his own, and no one expects he will today. Instead he will do what he can to draw attention to himself like the clown that he is. No one will laugh but Rob and Doug, while the joke will be on all of us who wanted a real campaign but are stuck at the circus.