By TOM GODFREY
Mayor Rob Ford is fresh out of rehab and not answering questions about his racist, sexist and homophobic comments which he attributes to his “disease”.
Ford is blaming substance abuse for many of his shortcomings and is ducking hard questions about his questionable behaviour that has offended many residents.
The City of Toronto prides itself as being one of the most diversified places in the world, where more than 140 languages are spoken. We pride ourselves in having a Newcomer Strategy and providing help to struggling new immigrants.
And it is not surprising that most residents do not want a Mayor who is accused of bigotry, racism and homophobia while in office.
Calls for the Mayor to step down grew louder ever since his return last week when he decided not to grant access to certain newspapers and broadcasters for interviews.
Ford is Mayor in name only and lacks real power to move a single motion in Council. He is ignored by many councillors and is relegated to attending picnics, fairs and posing with residents for photo ops.
His main rivals for the City’s top office, Olivia Chow and John Tory, have repeatedly called for him to quit the race for the betterment of our city.
But Ford has refused to budge and many are hoping he does not relapse to his dark pre-rehab days. Ford has claimed his alcoholism was behind the bum-patting and sexist comments made against rival Karen Stintz. The Mayor was also heard on tape cursing in Jamaican patois and bad talking Chief Bill Blair. His rivals are also taking him to task over his refusal to attend World Pride Day events.
“Mr. Ford is dragging our City’s reputation through the mud,” Chow said, adding he should apologize to women and visible minorities for his derogatory words.
Tory accused Ford of not talking to Toronto Police about his criminal associations and allegations that he used his office to benefit his family business. He accused the Mayor of offending many residents with his racist, sexist and homophobic outbursts.
“Toronto needs someone who can lead,” Tory said. “Ford’s continuing refusal to answer basic questions means that he is unfit to govern.”
The City is functioning fine under acting mayor Norm Kelly with decisions being made without Ford.
Ford is not thinking of the people of Toronto, as he claims. He has had his more than 15 minutes on the global stage and should withdraw from the Mayor’s race to heal himself, while at the same time leaving his “sober coach” at home.
He should go the way of Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak who quietly disappeared after being defeated last month by the Liberals under Kathleen Wynne.
There were many good people who went down with Hudak and one was former Etobicoke MPP Doug Holyday, who had racked up almost 30 years of public service.
Holyday, a penny-pinching former Mayor of Etobicoke before amalgamation, was one of the more decent and likable elected officials to serve Toronto.
He began his career as an Etobicoke councillor and Mayor before amalgamation. He then ran for Toronto council and became acting mayor, before being elected as an MPP last year.
He was defeated by Peter Milczyn during the Liberal sweep last June 12.
Holyday remains bitter that the Liberals went “unpunished” in the polls after wasting $1 billion to halt the construction of a gas plant in Mississauga.
“Kathleen Wynne got away with it,” he said. “Her government mismanaged the most money ever in Ontario history and she got away with it.”
Holyday believes the Tory loss stemmed from an election plan by Hudak to cut 100,000 public sector jobs.
“We went from a high in the polls to a steady decrease,” he explained. “We just did not explain it properly to the public.”
Holyday is proud to have obtained the City’s last collective agreement with employees without a strike or work disruption as in previous years.
Perhaps Ford should follow in the footsteps of his buddies Holyday and Hudak and also walk quietly into the night.