French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) said “In democracy we get the government we deserve”. We must have all been very bad over the last decades or so if we really do deserve the leaders that we have ended up with, and the ones positioning to control our futures.
Toronto Mayor, or ex Mayor? Rob Ford, is a case in point.
Hamilton and Toronto have always had a love/hate relationship… and not just over our football teams. It is hard being the poor relation, the kid brother, the underfunded and therefore underachieving next door neighbour. When manufacturing steel was still the primary industry in Hamilton we were sneered at as a “lunch bucket” town. Toronto has always been “hog town”.
It didn’t help, of course, that the highway from the USA and Niagara region that passes through Hamilton on the way to Toronto passes through the ugliest sections of our industrial waterfront.
The Royal Ontario Museum is in Toronto. So is the Art Gallery of Ontario… and Ontario Place, the Skydome, the Science Center, the Metro Zoo, and the Canadian National Exhibition. Front Street is Canada’s financial center. Toronto also has wonderful theaters and hosts one of the greatest universities in North America. Toronto is the provincial capital. The Supreme Court and all the government agencies and head offices are located there.
Hog Town got it all. The comparison between Toronto and Hamilton was, let’s say, like New York City or Washington to Pittsburgh… or even Buffalo.
So it is difficult, as a Hamiltonian, not to gloat at the misfortunes of Toronto’s city government. We have our own problems with City Hall and with a mayor that many are looking forward to ousting at the next election. But what is happening with Mayor Ford defies imagination. It is a tragi-comic situation comedy too preposterous for even the dim-witted producers of “reality” television.
The really sad part of it all is the opportunity cost… the man hours and hard-earned dollars that are about to be squandered on sorting this all out at a time when the economy is hurting and there are many, many, more useful projects that need attention.
Here are two articles from to-day’s Toronto Star… one about Ford and the legal debacle, the other about the young political (dare I say) vigilante who brought him down.
NOW, is a free weekly news and entertainment voice in Toronto. Here is their report of one of Ford’s earlier shining moments. They really don’t like the man! Their 2011 New Year edition NOW ran a feature on the good, bad and ugly for 2010… Biggest surprise: Hands down it was Rob Ford’s election win. Who could have predicted a slug from the burbs with a penchant for buffoonery and offending gays, Asians and everyone in between, could become mayor of Hogtown? Talk about destroying our illusions about being one of the most sophisticated cities on the continent.
They’ve even done a cover story on him, complete with this outrageous photo-shopped image. City hall tried unsuccessfully to ban distribution.
But then, on the other hand, here is a conversation with a City Hall reporter, long before he was elected mayor, but still indicative of his character.