This is one of my more difficult posts to write: it is always difficult to be critical of someone who has had a major physical setback in his life. Let me start out by saying that I hope that Rob Ford will be okay and that his health issues are not sufficiently serious to be life threatening or even work threatening. It is no secret that I think he’s the worst thing to happen to Toronto since… well, nothing pops to mind that has been “worse”… but that doesn’t mean I wish him any ill will regarding his health. I hope he can run in the election and be beaten fair & square.
One thing I think should be noted in this regard, however. I did not initially want to comment on anything related to Mr. Ford’s illness (CBC, 2014) for fear of being seen as heartless or opportunistic. But the fact is, he’s been “experiencing stomach pain for the past three months” (Huffington Post, 2014), and only recently took notice. Now I know that many will try to spin this to say that Mr. Ford was so wrapped up in city politics that he didn’t take the time to deal with his physical pain…but we know that’s not true. Ford was removed from most of his duties, except for the most ceremonial, some months ago (Toronto Star, 2013). The last Council meeting was over a week ago. All Mr. Ford has been doing has been campaigning for re-election and trying to look good.
I think this says a lot about Mr. Ford’s capacity to notice problems and to solve them… and by extension, his capacity to lead the city. He’s been physically in pain for <I>months</I>, and yet did not go to a doctor until the pain became “unbearable” (Globe and Mail, 2014). He gets an idea in his head, and even if it’s wrong will ignore anything else unless and until it becomes “unbearable” not to look. He was convinced that there was waste happening in the city: and continued to believe it until his own consultants, KPMG (hired at quite the cost) came back and said that there was little they could find (The Grid, 2011). He keeps harping on the same tired old bandwagon today. He kept trying to get libraries to cut costs, even though they were models of efficiency (FordForToronto, 2012). He’s determined to see what he wants to see, even if it’s not there… even if he’s ignoring things that ARE there.
As with his own health.
The Toronto Transit Commission is a good example. He’ll continue to fight for his own plans and his subways, whether or not we really want them: even though all we really care about is something that gets us across the city. He never uses the subway: except for photo-ops. He never uses anything “public”. But he’s determined to drag us all through more transit “pain” until things become “unbearable”: though I personally think we’re well beyond that point now. Hopefully our next mayor can motivate Council to decide something quickly: Mr. Ford has shown that he can’t even talk to them, never mind persuade them to vote with him.