By TOM GODFREY
Mayor Rob Ford’s drunken rants against visible minorities may have come back to haunt him.
Ford was blindsided last week when a Toronto activist filed papers against him for his alleged foul-mouthed slurs against immigrants, visible minorities and homosexuals.
Samuel Getachew, an Ethiopian community journalist, said he’s had enough of Ford’s drunken insults against minorities and is taking the Mayor to task.
Getachew filed a complaint against Ford last week alleging the Mayor broke City Council’s Code of Conduct rules in regards to “discreditable conduct” and “improper use of influence”.
Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, is probing the complaint and has given Ford until July 31 to respond to the allegations.
The July 8 complaint focuses on racial slurs the Mayor allegedly uttered in 2012 and earlier this year, according to the complaint that cites media reports and interviews with former Ford staff members and Toronto Police.
“This has to stop,” a frustrated Getachew told Share. “Like many people, I have had enough. The mayor cannot go around embarrassing the City and its residents.”
He is asking Ford to apologize and attend anti-racism training.
“I am hurt when he uses the N-word to describe African-Canadians and calls our youth “f—— minorities,” Getachew wrote on his blog. “His former staff members have allegedly told detectives how the Mayorused the derogatory word ‘Paki’ to describe a taxi driver.”
Also mentioned is a Toronto Star report that alleges the Mayor used derogatory language to describe members of the Italian and Black communities.
Getachew accuses Ford of homophobic behaviour by not standing up with Councillors at City Hall to recognize World Pride Day organizers. He has not attended Pride events in the past.
The Mayor, for his part, is being treated as a celebrity on the campaign trail as he claims to be drug and alcohol free. He has since apologized to those whom his words might have hurt.
The apologies will not stop Getachew, who has declared upfront to being a supporter of John Tory, currently engaged with Ford and Olivia Chow in a tough race for the Mayor’s job in October.
“I intend to vote for John Tory,” Getachew wrote. “I have attended a few events of his and written a Huffington Post blog endorsing him.”
Most of us by now have heard some of the alleged insults blurted out by Ford. And even though this complaint may be politically driven, it is about time someone from the community went after Ford and his hurtful ways.
Getachew himself is no slouch and knows his way around City Hall. He ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for Ward 43 to represent Scarborough East on City Council, and also in 2006 to become an Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee.
He also spent a large part of 2008 campaigning in the U.S. for Barack Obama, who was sworn in as that country’s first Black president in January 2009.
Getachew was a recipient of a City of Toronto William P. Hubbard Award for race relations in 2013.
The award was established in 1989 to honour Toronto’s first Black councillor, who successfully ran for public office in the late 1890s and served as deputy and then acting mayor.
A visionary, Hubbard led the charge for publicly-owned water supply and electricity power that resulted in the creation of Ontario and Toronto Hydro. He also persuaded the city to acquire the Toronto Islands.
Getachew may have ulterior motives for filing the complaint, but at least he is doing something to try and stop the Mayor’s vile mouth, as many of us continue to sit idle on the sidelines.