Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto is likely the most well known politician in Canada. Conceivably the most well known ever. Everyone, everywhere has heard someone make fun of Rob Ford. It is easy to do because he creates the material. Probably not on purpose.
“If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.” John Kenneth Galbraith may have written Rob’s epitaph.
Mr. Ford has never been popular among the intellectuals nor among the other politicians. He is different. There are interesting conflicts in Mr. Ford. Among them:
For his supporters, notice that there is a downside. He is a weak executive. Executives cannot afford to use their time on minutia. Like personally helping individuals. Or maybe he is the exception. It did not seem to distract him from more strategic objectives.
Should we forgive the behavior or should it cause the end of him?
I believe character is important because people of character are more predictable. Up until recently I would have thought his behavior would disqualify him forever. Now I am conflicted. I cannot condone drunkenness and the use of mind altering drugs. It is a poor example and exposes him and the office to possible problems. He should resolve this issue for his own good if nothing else.
Nonetheless, his character regarding city government, respect for the taxpayers and for their money and his efforts to make Toronto a vibrant and growing city, cannot be overlooked. He is consistent on this.
I think people realize that governments are no longer of much assistance and it is not only in Toronto. A recent article (you should read it) by Brit, James Delingpole in the Financial Post is interesting. One of many statements makes it clear that Ford may in fact be good for us.
“Across the world we are governed by pygmies — spineless; intellectually and often morally corrupt; opportunistic; craven; concerned less with doing the right thing than simply preserving their electoral skins.”
“…… it’s in this context that I find myself weirdly unbothered by the Rob Ford affair.”
Perhaps we should prefer a polished, articulate, less flamboyant mayor, but would that necessarily be better for us?
We live in interesting times.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.
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