Rob Ford and the Criminals, continued

Rob Ford

HERE’S A USEFUL piece of reporting for your consideration. It was written by Renata D’Aliesio and published in the March 13, 2014 edition of the Globe and Mail, under the headline “Ford knew of football coach’s criminal past, court documents show”:

Rob Ford penned a character reference for his assistant football coach’s sentencing for dangerous driving and assaulting a police officer, court documents reveal, marking at least the third time he has written a letter of support for a convict while in public office. The letter, composed on behalf of Payman Aboodowleh in 2009, confirms Mr. Ford knew of the volunteer coach’s violent history when he invited him to work with high-school athletes. As with his other letters, Mr. Ford’s acclamation of Mr. Aboodowleh was written on official City of Toronto stationery, sparking concern from a veteran Ontario Court judge who questioned whether the then-councillor may have misused his position of authority.

Let’s pause a moment. Read that passage again, this time slowly. It says at least three times Rob Ford has supported a convict. Did you get that? That’s not the Star saying this, it’s the courts.

Support is a weak term, a euphemism. What Rob Ford has done “at least three times” is actively recruited convicts. He’s brought them into his inner circle, and he’s put them on the city payroll, and he’s completely pissed all over every notion and standard of conflict of interest and the integrity of public office. He’s worked with these convicts by day (insofar as he works), and at night he’s gone out with them to places like Steak Queen, where together they collaborate on YouTube videos. And he’s done this recently, too.

Now imagine that you know a guy who has a bunch of good friends. Through a series of accidents, the fact surfaces that all the friends of this guy are really into something. It could be a band or a kind of dancing or a sport. Whatever it is, imagine it’s something a guy wouldn’t normally want to admit. Let’s say you’ve found out that all the friends of the guy you know love to get together on the weekend to listen to Jane Siberry.

The guy that you know says, No way, I’ve never listened to a Jane Siberry album. Do you believe him, when you know who he’s spending his weekends with? At the very least you ought to suspect he’s a closeted Jane Siberry fan. (Apologies to all the Jane Siberry fans for this analogy.)

Think about all the thugs, abusers of women and convicted criminals closely associated with Rob Ford. Think about how Doug speaks. For him, politics is breaking kneecaps and beating your opponents until they fall bloodied to the ground. When Olivia Chow announced she was running for the office of mayor, Doug Ford went all Mel Gibson and said it was going to be like the scene in Braveheart where the warriors come over the hill for the attack. Go watch that movie and think about what might be going on in Doug Ford’s neanderthal brain. I’m 100% serious. Actually do it, then come back.

There’s credible reason to suspect Rob Ford ordered a prison hit on his sister’s former partner (the charming guy who killed her subsequent partner). That could well be the subject of one of the YouTube videos, where Rob is giving a drunken performance of a beat-down. And while we’re on the topic, think about the Ford siblings and their lives of drug addiction and crime. The Ford family has had more than its share of murder, death and violence. Their world looks to me like a dark, ugly and tormented place.

“Oh, but Rob Ford keeps taxes low! Dougie is a great guy! Sure, the mayor smoked a little crack and likes to have a drink on the weekend, but at least his vices and crimes are private and only hurt himself.” This is how almost 40% of the committed GTA electorate see Rob Ford – and they’ve had years to reconsider this. Nothing will turn them against Rob Ford now, except maybe if he starts funding downtown social programs for trans-gendered youth and shows up at Pride parades, waving a rainbow flag.

Here’s what I think – and you should be thinking it too. The Ford brothers have been “listening to” a lot of “Jane Siberry.” By listening to I mean engaging in, and by Jane Siberry I mean crime. I suspect that the reason so many of Rob Ford’s friends belong to the criminal elements of society is that Rob belongs to that element too, and has since his youth. And I am willing to bet that we only know about 10% of what he’s up to – not just been up to: up to right now.

Rob and Doug Ford are bottled rage, plain and simple. I agree with Rob Ford’s supporters that he is self-destructive. (Doug, not so much. He’s plain old destructive.) How that makes him a better candidate for mayor than, say, Olivia Chow is beyond my depth. If you think that Lowtax Raging Drunken Stuporman trumps a liberal (and you do, Ford Nation), then I guess that’s what you’ll choose. But you should understand that decision better than you apparently do.

The Fords are not everyday joes, they are up-to-no-good joes. They are unique in politics, to be sure, but for all the wrong reasons. Rob Ford is the subject of several police investigations. Are you? Both his personal and professional lives are the subject of the courts. How about you? The mayor’s closest aides, associates and friends threaten and attack women, engage in drug turf wars and – in the case of the lowlife Sandro Lisi – use the deliberate spreading of bedbugs as a terror tactic. Hows about y’alls, Ford Nation? If you still think Rob Ford is one of you on account of his drinking of Molson Canadian, and if you think a little crack is the extent of Rob Ford’s involvement with naughty behaviour, you’re a total idiot, and you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Addendum (15 March): Many thousands of people have now read this article, and I’ve got email, almost all of it about Jane Siberry. Thanks for reading and commenting and tweeting. Maybe I’ll write a Jane Siberry post, or encourage her to run for Mayor of Toronto. I’d even consider voting for her. Cheers.

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16 responses to “Rob Ford and the Criminals, continued

  1. Thank-you for your good words!

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  2. Enjoyed your article. You hit the nail right on the head. I would not hang around with criminals. So, why would I want one for a mayor? Addicts & criminals are self centered, as well as being good liars.

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  3. He absolutely deserves the media “pile on,” and he has no one to blame for it but himself. Stop whining about the media. If you want to live somewhere you’ll be untroubled by a free and vigorous press, move to a Communist nation where politicians do as they please, unmolested by reporters. (I recommend North Korea: based on your comments, I think you’d like it.)

    “Dangerous cameras?” Are you even serious? A camera takes a photo of reality. You blame the people who are reporting the reality, while making excuses for the man responsible for it. I’m so glad you left a comment here, because I cherish every delicious opportunity to tell a Ford Nation member to his face what a fool and a sucker he is.

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  4. Nobody, not even Ford deserves the kind of a media pile-on that he’s undergone. The actions of the media, especially the electronic version with their dangerous cameras has done more to get Ford’s chances at getting re-elected in October than anything else. I’ll bet there isn’t a single taxpayer among the bunch of sycophants in this list of replies. I see it as people living in their parents’ basements who don’t even know what it’s like to pay the tax, hydro or gas bills. You’ve made Rob Ford into a folk hero. Congratulations.

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  5. Michael Caplan

    Thank you, Wayne – I just discovered your blog and shared your latest Ford piece on Facebook. You’re an excellent writer and a clear thinker, and your anger is on the money, eloquent, and very necessary. Thank you again.

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  6. There’s no redemption without contrition first, and Rob Ford is not admitting to either his addictions or the havoc he’s causing. Until he does, he’s a danger to himself and to Toronto.

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  7. Great article and well reasoned. Watch for homonyms. In the third last paragraph, “here’s what I think, and you should be thinking it TOO”, not to. I know that seems pedantic, but a bit of proof reading goes a long way toward deflecting criticism from your adversaries.

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  8. Well reasoned…but of course Ford Nation refuses to listen to anything reasonable.

    I have written a novel you may be interested in, Me and the Crack Mayor. It is available at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.
    I’d be happy to discuss it with you at any time.

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  9. Appreciating your point about seeing the good in all people and the value of rehabilitation. I used to have the same kind of faith that you do. However my own experience of criminally fluid families, racked with addiction has made me cautious.

    The desire to rehabilitate is a personal one, and must be totally held with conviction by the individual, and while it’s not anybody’s business to judge them personally, people do have the right to set boundaries on those afflicted. In this case I’d never vote for someone to represent me or my loved ones, who is badly behaved, no matter what the cause.

    Having faith in others, in this case our elected representatives, is another point of concern in your discussion. Trusting someone broadly relies on two aspects of reality: Good behaviour and real remorse, both of which are lacking for the Ford brothers. Having faith in them is straight up denial. Simple as that. I dearly hope that you can see through what your “hoping for” for the Ford brothers, to what really is the reality of their motivations.

    While I applaud the goodness of your heartfelt dissertation, it concerns me that you, and others, haven’t been able to sort out the difference between good hopes and good results that have positive effects on all concerned. Toronto deserves better.

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  10. Oh god, you are so right. I gather both of them have federal aspirations. I know Doug came close to running provincially, and I think Robyn Doolittle has suggested in her book that they consider themselves pretty much destined for the highest offices. What a thought.

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  11. Thank-you for the comment. Do consider that the Fords have no use for redemption and have not asked for your forgiveness. To what crime have they even admitted? What they want from you is a free pass, and you seem to be quite willing to give it. I’m not.

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  12. My sincere hope is that, if (I would like to believe, WHEN) he is not elected next October that he doesn’t march into Federal or even Provincial politics. The results of his election in either of those two scenarios would be disastrous for us all. (Dougie’s plan to do so not withstanding)

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  13. The premise that anyone who has been convicted of a crime, has no redeeming qualities, is beyond the limited trust necessary to act as a functioning and safe member of society, is flawed.

    We have a legal system based on the concept of rehabilitation. We believe in redemption.

    Without opportunity for redemption, we would trap offenders into a position of limited scope of direction, limited choice of action. If we are not supportive of our fellow humans who have made mistakes, we increase the probability that they will error again.

    I, for one, applaud the person who rises above their fears and need to distrust, accepts everyone for who they are, hopes for the best to rise out of them, without tainting that by assuming the worst.

    But that is probably because I believe in the positiveness of the human spirit when given the chance.

    When one goes a step farther than would make some people comfortable, and befriend a person whose past is troubled, every minute you spend with them is a positive influence on their life, is an act of teaching through demonstration, is the opportunity to take a negative and make it a positive. And that act is just as valid as taking a positive, and making it more positive.

    It is easy to “judge” another persons character. Harder to try to truly “see” it. Impossible to “know” whether you are right. But you get to live in a happier world, when you “believe” in the best.

    Judgement is a negative, righteous, ego-centric emotion.

    We should be careful in it’s use and application.

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  14. Thank-you for your comment. I guess at this point I don’t believe there’s anything I could do or say to change the minds that have absorbed all the statements and actions and behaviours of these brothers, day upon day, and still think they are “better than Miller.” I’d love to hear the argument that could do that (I’m not being ironic: I really would). You seem like a nice, polite person. I’m glad there are people who can still be nice about this topic at this point. Sorry, but I’m just not one of them. I live here in TO and I’m not happy about this. They want a war and I think every Ford opponent should give it to them, because they are NOT going to be nice or fair or even-handed or even truthful and rational in this election. I think I wrote this to make that point as much as any other.

    Mostly I hope Toronto comes out, votes, and does the city proud. Cheers, and thanks again. Hope you come back.

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  15. I’m not convinced that Ford supporters are “total idiots.” I think that among other important reasons, one reason people support Ford is because of a sentiment that all politicians are generally crooks but at least Ford is a loveable crook (I don’t share this view). For people who are opposed to Ford’s re-election, I think the best way to proceed is to understand why folks support Ford, and then work on convincing them otherwise. The charge that they are “total idiots” isn’t going to change very many minds.

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