Bye Mr. Ford. See you in the funny papers.

There is an unsavoury anger in Toronto these days. It is directed at Mayor Rob Ford. It has to do with the fact that the city appears to be stuck with that guy until the municipal election planned for October next year. He has dragged the city through the muck of world-wide derision. It has caused an anger that might only be alleviated by the police gathering enough evidence to arrest him. And few believe that is going to happen.

But this anger people are expressing is serious. It has to have an outlet. It can drive wedges between families and friends as people take sides. Yes, there are still people who think Ford makes a good mayor. They seem to be simple folk but they can be vocal. They seem to represent a selfish and mean-spirited underbelly of the city. This is not the metropolis in which most of us believe.

Toronto is no small-potatoes backwater. It is no longer hog butcher to the nation. It is a thriving city that is the financial and business headquarters of Canada. It is a cosmopolitan centre that attracts émigrés from around the world. It speaks the manifold languages of factors, faculties, fashion, finance, film, food and fame. It is a centre of liberalism in culture, the arts, in life style, in tolerance and in politics.

It grates on Torontonians to be the butt of jibes by late night entertainers. We are appalled by the innocent questions of contacts in other parts of the world. Why are these troubles the source of questions from afar? How can this gross individual, with his rudeness and vulgarity wear the chain of office of mayor of the city? How can he represent the caring, the diverse, the liberals, the devout and intelligenstia of Toronto?

Toronto is home to two illustrious universities, a prestigious art gallery and a world-renowned museum, a thriving theatre district, world famous hospitals—and to Ford Nation. In our openness and acceptance, we let anybody in.

But even in our pit of despair the pendulum still swings. The laws of physics say that an equal and opposite reaction is possible. The concern is that the Ford debacle does not result in a victory for the downtown left wing of the city council. There is no leadership there. And without fresh, forward looking leadership in Toronto, the city will gridlock into an unmanageable quagmire of old and broken infrastructure. The city will no longer be capable of repairing and renewing itself. And we will deserve the depths of degradation to which Rob Ford has delivered us.


Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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