“Kind of makes you nostalgic for the crack now, doesn’t it Toronto?” So asked Stephen Colbert of the popular satirical news program The Colbert Show about what was the latest embarrassing statement by Rob Ford. Much of the world is laughing at Toronto’s mayor and, by extension, they’re laughing at Toronto. For many of us, this is all well and good. The Centre of the Universe deserves it, we might say. To borrow the words of documentarians Albert Nerenberg and Robert Spence, let’s all hate Toronto.
Things aren’t so funny in Toronto. No one wants there mayor to be a Saturday Night Live punchline, regardless of how well-deserved. The scorn is bleeding onto the city as a whole, and it is understandable that the citizenry wants it to stop. How long must Canada’s largest city be a victim of the Ford follies?
But there’s the rub. Toronto isn’t a victim in this. The people of Toronto are co-conspirators, having voted for a man who was clearly unfit for the job. It is easy to point out all the gaffes Ford has made during his time as mayor; there have been so many, it may be hard to remember a time that he wasn’t Toronto’s intoxicated, antagonistic, profanity-spewing mayor. But there was such a time, and before he was mayor, he was dropping racial epithets during council meetings and getting arrested for drunk driving. Yet, still, Torontonians decided this was their guy. Continue reading