* 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.
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.
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.