Yesterday, the infamous Rob Ford Crack Video hit the web. From the click-baitiest tabloid sites to established media, they all had it.

There he was, the late mayor of Toronto Rob Ford, in all his former glory, drunk and puffing on a crack pipe while wearing a track suit. Or at least that’s what I think the video showed. I don’t know, I didn’t watch it, and I don’t plan to.

It’s not news, or at least it’s not news right now. When Ford was still alive, still Mayor of Toronto and still denying what were then only allegations that he smoked crack while in office, it was in the public interest to publish such a video. Even after he admitted to smoking crack, when he was alive and running for re-election, you could make the argument that it was valid news content.

Now, there is no need to prove something which was already admitted to and the argument of reminding voters what someone who is asking for their votes did the last time he was in office is no longer valid as Rob Ford won’t be running for anything ever again. If you think it’s important to remind people that Ford was a mess as a mayor so they don’t vote for similar politicians, there are plenty of other videos of things he did in public that serve the same purpose.

I can’t really think of why someone would want to watch the video now. Maybe it’s a desire to laugh at the failings and addictions of someone they didn’t like or hated. Why some outlet would want to publish it is a little easier to figure out: clicks, ratings and money. While you can argue that reporting on the video being available is newsworthy, and you’d probably be right, but then just report that, you don’t need to actually host or embed it yourself to do that.

I think media outlets shouldn’t publish the video out of respect. No, not out of respect for Ford, his family, or even the abstract concept of respect for the dead. I’m a firm believer that if someone didn’t earn your respect in life, then they don’t automatically inherit it upon death.

While I did think his ‘never give up’ attitude was commendable, I despised everything Ford stood for politically and truly hope no one as blatantly anti-progress as him ever comes to power again (yeah, I know that’s a pipe dream). I’ve also heard that he was quite abusive to those around him and, in general, wasn’t that great a guy.

That still doesn’t mean people should be promoting a voyeuristic video of a dead man feeding his addiction. It won’t change how anyone views him or his politics at all.

Media outlets shouldn’t publish the video out of respect for themselves and their audience.

When I read in the Globe and Mail that Rob Ford, Toronto’s 64th and current mayor, would be appearing on Jimmy Kimmel alongside Gonzo the Jim Henson Muppet, my first thought was, “It probably would have been more appropriate for him to appear with Animal.”

When a CNN camera crew had first spotted Ford in Los Angeles and asked him what he was up to, Ford said something about how Toronto is “Hollywood North” and “we want people to come and visit our city, and make movies, and see the great theatres and restaurants we have and sporting venues and, you know, we have a responsible government there, too.”

Ah. Yes, come one, come all, to Toronto to see the responsible government. With Kimmel quipping that Ford is his “new favorite reality show,” in what hopefully was a stunt, Ford wandered onto the Jimmy Kimmel stage a night early and had to be reminded by the host that he wouldn’t be on until Monday. Whoops!Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 12.26.21 PM

The Kimmel show’s executive producer, Jason Shrift, said getting Ford to appear was inspired because they like to “stay on top of any story that seems to have legs,” even if those legs are wobbling drunk.

As of November 2013, the Toronto council had Ford demoted to the status of court jester instead of the stable authority figure we pretended he almost was; perhaps that is why he was spotted touring the Hollywood Walk of Fame like a bloated American tourist instead of laying low in Toronto with his crack pipe. Shifting his responsibilities to Deputy Norm Kelly, the whole procedure became an Alice in Wonderland court case, with Ford making tragic threats such as, “If you think American-style politics is nasty, you guys have just attacked Kuwait…This is going to be outright war in the next election,” before knocking Councillor Pam McConnell to the ground, and according to the Toronto Star, Ford seemed to “relish much of the drama, shaking hands and hugging spectators and confronting others while a security guard next to him filmed the crowd with a smart phone.”

So what was Rob Ford doing in Los Angeles? The same crap that Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Lindsday Lohan and yesterday’s news victim Paris Hilton have been doing in Los Angeles: mooching about the streets in varying states of scandal, looking for an extension to their fifteen minutes.

Now that Rob Ford has been reduced to the same status as a football game mascot, naturally the next thing to do is appear on talk shows, make Youtube videos and wander aimlessly through Los Angeles like all the other washed-up pop stars, reaching out their hands and whimpering in a raspy ribbon of voice, “Love me.”

In case you missed it yesterday, or frankly don’t care about the Toronto mayor’s antics anymore, Rob Ford was in a Steak Queen (some sort of Ontario-based fast food chain) in Etobicoke Monday night, presumably drunk, speaking in a Jamaican Patois and complaining about Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair for anyone who could hear (or make a video). He was also apparently hanging with Alessandro Lisi (sure looks like him in a second video), someone he should probably avoid publicly at least until his former driver’s drug trail is over.

Now, less than a day after the footage surfaced, we get the Rob Ford Rassclot Bumbaclot Dancehall Remix courtesy of ReeG on YouTube. You may be getting tired of Rob Ford and so am I. Frankly, he’s a distraction. But this remix is so well done and funny that I couldn’t help sharing. Enjoy!

As usual, sex was a popular topic in the news this year. From changes in laws across the globe to favor same-sex marriage and the safety of sex workers to watching a young woman swing naked on a wrecking ball, it was impossible to escape the controversial and polarizing nature of sex in our culture.

Global Spread of Marriage Equality

One of the biggest stories of the year was the continuing spread of legal same-sex marriage. According to the New York Times, the global population with access to marriage equality doubled in 2013, which was largely due to progress in North and South America. Eight more of the United States passed laws on marriage equality which are now recognized by the Federal Government thanks to a Supreme Court decision this summer, while Uruguay and Brazil voted to legalize same-sex marriage earlier this year.

France became the largest European country to do so as well, and New Zealand brought same-sex marriage to the Southern Hemisphere. This brings the total global population with access to equalize marriage rights to approximately 585 million, which sounds pretty high until you realize it still only represents about 8% of people across the entire world. Here’s to hoping we double or even triple that number in the coming year.

Challenging Canada’s Prostitution Laws

Another of 2013’s biggest stories came just one week before the end the year when the Supreme Court of Canada voted unanimously to strike down three of Canada’s current laws pertaining to prostitution. While it is not currently a crime in Canada to sell sex for money, there are laws prohibiting living on the profits of prostitution, communicating in public with clients, and using a private residence such as a brothel for the location of the act.

These three laws were challenged by three women with experience in the sex trade, Terri-Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch and Valerie Scott. They argued that the current laws prevented them from safely conducting their business, which violates certain rights and freedoms set down in the Charter. While the Ontario Court of Appeal later upheld the law about communicating about prostitution in public, they sided with the Supreme Court regarding the other two laws, agreeing that they were too broad.

The Supreme Court gave Parliament a deadline of one year to create new laws, if they so desire. It will be interesting to see how far they go in protecting the safety of sex workers, a story that I will continue to cover in the coming year.

Miley Cyrus Twerks Her Way into the Spotlight

mileyMuch has already been written this year about the raunchification of Miley Cyrus and her “all grown up” behavior shift from squeaky clean tween idol to lewd tongue-wagging twerker. One of her most memorable moments of the year came when she teamed forces with one of this year’s other prime provocateurs, Robin Thicke, singer of ‘Blurred Lines’ aka that disgustingly ubiquitous song you hope you never have to hear again.

Their little performance on the MTV Video Awards definitely earns top billing for most controversial dirty dance moves, as Miley stripped down to a barely there nude bikini and violated that poor foam finger, causing a media storm in only the way our little Wrecking Ball can.  Will she find newer, more disgusting ways to shock us in 2014? Only time will tell…

No One Wants to Envision Rob Ford Getting Enough to Eat

rob_fordFinally, I’ll close with the little oral sex story that could, and in fact did, make its way around the world’s gossip columns and nightly news satire shows. Toronto’s bumbling mayor extraordinaire Rob Ford made a lot of strange comments that were scrutinized by media outlets everywhere, none as shocking as his response to allegations that he was sleeping with one of his female staffers. Ford said to a room full of reporters that he never wanted to eat her pussy, since he was happily married and “got enough to eat at home.”

I guess ultimately I should feel happy for Mrs. Ford, if indeed these are the arrangements of their sex life, since every woman should get enough at home, but the shock value of his candor mixed with the mental picture of Rob Ford doing anything in the bedroom was enough to make me shudder. The main question on everyone’s minds is how much lower can he fall in 2014?

The world was supposed to end in 2012. It didn’t. In fact, if 2013 in the news is any indication, it didn’t even change all that much.

There were a few pleasant surprises, a few unpleasant ones, some things didn’t change at all, for better or worse, and there was distraction and that’s where I’ll begin…

Distraction

Biggest distraction of the year? Without a doubt, this guy:

rob ford tired

Not only did Rob Ford dominate the headlines in Canada, distracting from the Senate scandal among other things, he managed to take top billing in the US for a while, overpowering problems with the Obamacare rollout, and even made headline news in Africa. His biggest accomplishment, though, seems to be that his crack use and personal problems have distracted everyone from the fact that he really has terrible policies and kinda sucks as mayor.

The biggest distraction this side of the 401 has got to be the Charter of Quebec Values, or the Charter of Secularism or whatever Marois and company are calling it now. It’s garnered the ire of everyone from the Jewish General Hospital, QPIRG Concordia and even Anonymous and it’s the proof that, despite how they may try to promote it, the PQ has lost any progressive cred they may have had.

With even Harley Davidson coming out against it, it’s clear that some people are seeing through what it essentially a cynical ploy designed to galvanize the right-wing separatist portion of the PQ’s base. Marois’ endgame is clear: re-establishing politics as usual in Quebec, which brings us to…

More of the same

You’d think in a year that saw a record-breaking three different mayors of Montreal, there would be some change. Well, unfortunately, Montrealers, or a small portion of them, voted in Denis Coderre, a candidate that ran with a good chunk of Gerald Tremblay and Michael Applebaum’s former Union Montreal teammates. So far, he’s stuffed the executive committee with his own people despite not having a majority and has declared war on erotic massage parlours, something he didn’t mention at all during the campaign.

Denis Coderre

2013 also saw more police repression with the SPVM enforcing bylaw P6 in a very unapologetic and hardcore way. It’s also been the year of police political profiling, fortunately some activists like Katie Nelson are now fighting it in the courts and the court of public opinion. ortunately, protesting Stephen Harper still seems to be kosher in Montreal.

It’s also nice to see that the Idle No More movement continues to grow, despite it not being as big in Quebec. Local activists here did have a facepalm-inducing run-in with the cops when they tried to put up a tipi in Montreal. F

There’s also supposed to be another multi-million dollar building going up on the lower Main, an area that doesn’t need it. But, believe it or not, it’s not all more of the same locally, there were…

A few pleasant surprises

We’re getting new metro cars! And we’re not talking about a few tweaks, this is actually a new design! Who would have thought such a thing was possible?

new-metro-exterior

Also, Projet Montreal did end up doing quite well in the municipal election. They held on to two boroughs, nearly added a third, became the official opposition and held Coderre to a minority on council. Melanie Joly also had an impact on our municipal scene and will be someone to watch in the years to come.

Most of the pleasant surprises this year happened in Ottawa (David DesBaillets goes through some of them) and internationally (Niall Clapham Ricardo takes a look at socialism on the rise). For me, the biggest standouts are how Canada just decriminalized prostitution, the courage of Edward Snowden and the fact that the US somehow managed to bungle its way out of a war that nobody wanted or needed in Syria, but most (including me) thought was inevitable.

So that’s just a brief look at how I saw 2013. I do hope that in 2014, we can do away with the distractions and the status quo. That would be a pleasant surprise, but not an impossible one.

* Top image by Jay Manafest

It that time of year again, folks! That time of year when lazy scribes get busy putting together their top stories of the year for their retrospective end-of-year piece. In this case, it’s the stories, people, laws, scandals, senatorial or otherwise (with the retirement of former Conservative Minister Vic “Vickie-Leaks” Toews, sex scandals are in short supply, sadly!), that made the corridors of power in O-Town buzz and the publicists, spin-doctors and high-paid hacks that now run our political system wring their proverbial hands with worry!

2013 is destined to be remembered for arguably the biggest crisis that the Harper government has experienced since it came to power back in ’06. Prior to revelations involving the expense fraud of Duff Man, the Brazman, Pammy “The Honourable Senator for Manhattan” Wallin and Mac “Seal hugger” Harb, Harper and his government had managed to avoid many of the fiscal and criminal scandals that recent federal governments invariably suffer during their mandate (i.e. Airbus, Sponsorship, etc.). Though, for those of us paying attention, there were others that set off alarm bells, including the In-Out election spending scheme of the 2006 and the robocall voter suppression scandal of the last elections, to mention a couple.

duffy-harper_1

But with the growing problem of an inexplicably absent Prime Minister at the heart of a major criminal investigation into the actions of his inner circle of advisors and hatchet men (i.e. Nigel Wright) by the men in red, Harper appears to be bearing the brunt of the public outrage over this mess. Make no mistake, the federal Tories and their previously Teflon leader are in way over their heads this time and will wear this one into the 2015 elections and possibly beyond.

In a related story, Tom Mulcair, the leader of the Federal NDP, established himself as the king of Question Period with his brilliant prosecutorial style and his blunt line of questioning on the connections between the Prime Minister’s Office and the cover-up of Senator Duffy’s illegal transaction with Nigel Wright. It has been noted by many a cynic in the media and elsewhere that such performances do not score many points with the general public who usually tune out the House of Commons.

It remains to be seen whether this will translate into greater support for the NDP in the next election. But, if nothing else, this has distinguished him very nicely from Justin Trudeau who has been lagging behind his main rival on challenging the government in the House, preferring to concentrate on the kind of retail politics outside the Ottawa bubble that are rapidly becoming his trademark.

Speaking of the current golden boy of Canadian politics (these things typically don’t last, if you don’t believe me look at the sorry state of Gerard Kennedy’s career), you’ve got to admit that Trudeau’s mojo has been growing ever since he crushed his opponents in the farcical Liberal leadership race back in April. He stumped for his candidates in recent by-elections and the results indicated that the Trudeau effect has helped the Liberals gain some inroads in Brandon-Souris (Manitoba) and retain their current number of seats by fending off strong campaigns by the NDP in Bourassa and Toronto-Centre (and then promptly rubbing their noses in it, in very classy fashion). If the current favourable polling trends continue, expect Trudeau Junior to go from strength to strength in the next couple of years, leading up to the general election in 2015.

freeland mcquaig buttons

Remember the Bloc? The separatist party that dominated Quebec Federal politics since 1993. Well, in case you didn’t notice, they’re in a severe tailspin with zero hope of recovery at the moment. At the risk of dancing on the grave of the still barely alive political party, the death of the party in the next election (if not sooner) is now inevitable.

They lost Maria Mourani, one of a rump caucus that used to count  48 Members, over their decision to back Pauline Marois and the Quebec government’s ever controversial Quebec Values Charter. They registered a pitiful 13% of the vote in Bourassa, and just last week came the coup de grâce: their leader, Daniel Paillé, resigned suddenly for health reasons (not that many noticed), seemingly without any credible replacement lined up.

rob ford

No end of the year list would be complete without a nod to the Fordzilla fiasco in Toronto. The monster that is reportedly running amok in a crack and alcohol fueled rage at Nathan Phillips square downtown, is devouring everything in his path. He appears to be headed for Ottawa next, where he is expected to do even more damage to the Conservative spin-doctor frankensteins that helped unleash this twisted creature on and unsuspecting public in 2007 and defended him until it became apparent he was becoming a major political liability.

Here’s hoping that next year’s federal political stories, be they good, bad or ugly, keep us all half as enthralled, as this year’s did. Amen!

Never a dull moment in Toronto’s City Hall these days, is there? By now everyone knows that Rob Ford’s career is quite possibly the worst train wreck in Canadian political history. What is perhaps less understood by the general public are the ties between the Harper gang running the country and the Ford brothers in Hog town (somehow the old nickname just seems that much more fitting right now).

Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty nearly broke down in tears last week at a press conference when a journalist asked him whether he had any advice for this old friend of the family. He said simply that he hoped the man got help ( I think we’re past the point of AA meetings here, Jimbo).

Of course, Tories are all heart when it comes to their own. Whereas when we’re talking about the unfortunate souls addicted to heroin who count on safe injection sites all over the country, they have no patience and will again try and thwart any attempt to provide this type of harm reduction during this session of Parliament.

Other members of the Harper government were less sympathetic towards Ford, but none of them were willing to go as far as to call for the Mayor to turn in his official necklace and do the city, country and office he’s repeatedly disgraced with his various drunken shenanigans, a massive favour by quitting. This is a far cry from Harper’s infamous 2011 BBQ footage in which he praised Ford for cleaning up the previous administration’s “mess” created by Mayor David Miller, loosely affiliated with the NDP (Ah yes. Remember when Toronto’s biggest problem was a garbage strike?) .

The reasons for the measured criticisms are clear: “Ford Nation” suburbanites, many of whom inexplicably still back the Mayor, are largely found in the same 905 area code ridings that are critical to any Conservative victory in the next Federal Election. The Fords were staunch Harper allies in the last election and the Mayor’s shady brother Doug Ford has mused openly about running for the Tories in the upcoming election (presumably on some sort of tough on drug crime platform).

Obvious political and personal hypocrisy notwithstanding, there is also the fact that “Fordzilla”(as one wag on twitter dubbed him) is currently a lame duck Mayor whose personal problems are preventing him from governing the most populous and still most economically important city in Canada. This is as much a crisis in leadership and administration as it is a tragicomedy media circus playing out before an international audience.

Although the solution to the current crisis in Toronto is being debated, the answer may lie in the resolution reached by the Quebec government during the Vaillancourt scandal in which the gangster (this is the technical term used in his indictment) Mayor of Laval was removed from office. In that instance, the city was effectively run by a panel of three technocrats appointed by the provincial government until municipal elections were held, on November 3rd. This might not be the most democratic option for the Wynn government in Ontario but it remains a viable path forward.

It’s time for Federal Tories (especially those representing the Greater Toronto Area) to set aside their talking points and their election strategy book, grow some spine and join the rest of their fellow elected representatives of all stripes in denouncing the Mayor and calling for his immediate resignation.

* Top image by designwallah via Flickr, used under Creative Commons

Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, smokes crack when he’s hammered. He admitted as much and after doing so, his approval rating went up.

It’s not a surprise, really. Admitting you’ve done probably the most stigmatized drug out there, using a drunken stupor as your excuse and then announcing that not only are you not stepping down but plan to run again for mayor of Canada’s largest city takes not only balls but but a certain amount of political genius.

Politics are far too scandal-driven and I think people are sick of it. I’m sick of it. When I see surveillance photos of Ford pissing discretely by a bush, I remember that on more than one occasion, when, say, drinking with friends in a park, I too have temporarily excused myself from the group and taken a discreet leak against a tree.

It’s true that I wasn’t waiting for a crack dealer at the time nor was I the mayor of anything. The first difference is important, the second shouldn’t be, but it is.

rob-ford-protest

Politicians are people and people have failings. If those failings affect their ability to carry out the job they were hired to do, then the public has a right to know them and judge them accordingly. If not, then they don’t, aside from cases of murder, rape or physical violence.

Until now, that hasn’t been the case. Any personal transgression, such as drug use, excessive alcohol use, cheating on a spouse or sleeping with a sex worker have been grounds for resignation or the kind of stuff opponents dig up during a campaign to prevent a candidate from being elected.

Now all that may change. If Ford sticks with his plan to run again and makes it to the election (let’s be honest, he’s not in the best health), then there’s really nothing his opponents could dig up on him. Anything they do find would most likely pale in comparison to what’s already out there and admitted to.

He may win. Hell, if I lived in Toronto, I might even vote for him. Not because he smokes crack, but because he’s planning to run in spite of scandal.

He’s the litmus test for the elimination of the power of scandal in politics. Unfortunately, he’s also Rob Ford.

He’s the mayor who thinks it’s okay to divert city busses for the football team he coaches. That’s a problem, falling over while throwing a football isn’t.

He’s the mayor who wants to make things as difficult for cyclists (and even joggers) as possible. That’s a problem, having a physique that doesn’t lend itself to those activities isn’t.

He’s also the mayor who gropes his former opponents at public functions when he’s loaded. The groping is a problem, so is his being drunk at a public function, alcoholism on his own time is a personal issue and not the public’s concern.

His hypocrisy is. He was elected as a Harper-loving, law and order anti-gang, anti-drug candidate, but apparently what’s good for others isn’t good for him. If you want to hang with drug dealers in your spare time, don’t try to jail them when at work and not just because some of them may have cameras.

support rob ford billboard
Billboards supporting Ford have been popping up around Toronto (photo by Stephanie Smyth via Twitter)

I wish the crackhead mayor was someone else, someone whose politics I could get behind. Then eliminating the politics of personal scandal would be a truly positive change.

Defeating Rob Ford should be about defeating what he stands for politically. Unfortunately, if he does lose or resign, almost everyone will think it’s because of the crack and drinking and nothing else.

If Ford wins, it will deal a blow to personal identity scandal politics, which is a good thing, but it will also reinforce his lousy policies. If he loses or resigns, almost everyone will think it’s about the crack and drinking and nothing else, what he stood for politically will still be viable and personal scandal will still be a way to defeat political opponents.

Rob Ford should lose or resign, but not because of crack or drinking, but rather in spite of them.

John Cook has succeeded in raising $200 000. The Gawker editor’s worldwide campaign to raise funds to obtain the supposed video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack from Somali drug dealers reached its target earlier this week. But is Gawker tossing more mud than there already is?

True, the scandal surrounding Ford’s supposed crack use has not only springboarded Canada, or at least Toronto, onto the world stage, but it has brought us into the realm of The Running Man‘s dystopian reality. Canadian politics has long been insulated from the vulgarities of US style vice scandals. But it would appear death by media for public amusement has now arrived.

Further investigation into the Ford clan’s sordid history uncovered the operation of a high stakes narcotics trafficking ring in “Etobi-’coke’ North.” The report sheds light on associates including Klan leaders, a black belt martial artist and a Caribbean drug dealer involved in a bizarre foiled coup of the Dominican government, details so sensational it makes the Charbonneau Commission seem like a search for lost pocket change.

Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford, Brother of Rob Ford, speaks to the media.

Ford’s improprieties may have hoisted Canada into the political hall of shame, an arena typically occupied by American politicians like Elliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner, but is Gawker’s campaign is human degradation profiteering pure and simple.

Their campaign drive fancies itself a crusade for “truth” and an exercise of “democracy.” Since Gawker cannot afford it themselves, Cook asked people to take money from their own pockets to give to drug dealers.

Cook asserts that if people wish to view the video, by paying for it, they are exercising their rights as consumers. In other words, contributing money translates into a “vote.”

After taking money from the public, instead of submitting the alleged video to the authorities, Gawker intends to charge users a member’s fee at Gawker.com and at private screening parties they plan to host, with popcorn and swag to boot. Gawker will directly profit from the Ford video, meaning Cook will have  completely corrupted the “democratic” process. Those without money are without a voice, they are excluded from so-called “voting” which proliferates a perverse US notions that money equals speech.

It seems that Gawker can no longer reach their original source for the video, but even if the footage can be obtained, what does it mean besides profits for the website?

Under Toronto’s system, City Council cannot eject Ford from office nor could it force an early election. The video could, at best, be damning circumstantial evidence at trial. It would hardly be hard proof guaranteeing Ford’s conviction.

Toronto City Council, Council Chambers, City Hall, The Clamshell, Toronto Ontario.

Until the next municipal election, true democracy in action, only Rob Ford can remove Rob Ford. And if the mayor’s profile history is any indication, Ford would not resign under any circumstances.

If definitive proof indeed can be presented that Mayor Ford inhaled crack, Ford should not be tried at the hands of the media with the pubic circus acting as judge, jury and executioner.

Partisanship, pre-determined and emotional disdain of Ford would best be checked. Vigilantism with its non-transparent and potentially unaccountable wrongful actions cannot suffice as substitute justice.

Critics espousing public accountability and transparency in executive, legislative and municipal government cannot exclude themselves. One cannot have their cake and eat it too.

There is no inherit benefit in viewing smut footage only to confirm minds already made up. Like the Jun Lin snuff video, we are all degraded just from watching it.

Ford may have diminished Toronto public office and Canadian politics but watching the alleged video, even just demanding to see it, makes us, along with Ford, unclean and corrupt.

* This post originally appeared on QuietMike.org, republished with permission from the author

With all the scandals going on south of the border, it only makes sense that we have our own up here in Canada. After all, our conservatives have a knack for coping whatever it is our American friends do.

Two Conservative senators have been in the news of late and are believed to have claimed living expenses they weren’t entitled to. Pamela Wallin and Mike Duffy (both ex-reporters for CTV) have quit the Conservative Caucus in the un-elected Canadian senate, but will still sit as independents.

Now it appears that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Chief of Staff has quit. Nigel Wright had secretly given a $90 000 gift to Sen. Duffy back in March to help him cover the repayment of improper housing expenses and stop an audit.

Canadian tax payers don’t tolerate politicians who take advantage of their positions for financial gain (or an attempted cover up). What makes me furious is the fact that Stephen Harper was first elected in the wake of a Liberal scandal promising to reform the senate and clean up Ottawa – neither happened.

wallin-duffy

With the scandals plaguing the Democrats in the US and the Conservatives in Canada, it looks as if fate decided to step in to provide us with a little levity. Right on cue, in steps conservative Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

A cellphone video has emerged allegedly showing Mayor Ford smoking crack-cocaine and making offensive slurs. Ford’s crack smoking scandal has taken over Canadian media and has made international news; it even made it into Bill Maher’s monologue on Friday.

If it were any other mayor in the country, people would be shocked and horrified, but that’s what makes Rob Ford so special. It’s almost as if people were quietly expecting it. It seems every time he opens his mouth the vilest waste spews out, second hand crack smoke is almost on par with the rest of it. This time around he’s kept his mouth shut, all he’s had to say about the crack allegation is “ridiculous”.

Rob Ford could be best described as a cross between New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and hockey commentator Don Cherry. These gentlemen tend to say what’s on their mind for better or worse, but what separates Ford is that he tends to do things whether they’re right or wrong.

Mayor Ford assumed office at the end of 2010. Since then he has walked into scandal after scandal and been the butt of many jokes.

Last November, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ordered Rob Ford to be removed from office for violating Toronto’s Conflict-of-Interest Act. Ford solicited donations for his private football foundation using official City of Toronto stationary. He then participated in a city council vote that recommend he repay the donations. The mayor got his job back following an appeal.

In March, former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson accused Rob Ford of grabbing her behind. She later suggested the mayor was so out of it that she wondered if he was on cocaine. Ford has denied the accusations.

In 2011, Mayor Ford called the police after Marg Delahunty (Mary Walsh) of CBC’s comedy show “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” showed up at his home. Politicians usually have a positive reaction and a smile on when approached by Marg, but Ford had none of that saying the “ambush” at his family home crossed the line.

marg delahuntey rob ford

He has posed for a photo with a neo-Nazi, gained weight in a very public weight loss campaign, has twice skipped out on tradition by refusing to attend the gay pride parade, has repeatedly gotten into trouble over his role as a high school football coach and famously raised his fist at a reporter.

If you were to ask Ford about these past controversies I’m sure he would blame the media. Perhaps they do pay more attention to him than they should, but he is the mayor of Canada’s biggest city. I don’t remember New York’s Mayor Bloomberg doing anything that resembles Ford’s actions.

Being from out of the province and having no love for Toronto, I’ve often been amused by Ford’s follies rather than angered by them. However, the crack allegation is now proving to be a national embarrassment which in turn shames us all. If the crack video is proven to be authentic, I hope he’ll be easier to remove from office than our corrupt senators.