I've been thinking about this a lot since the decision came down to oust Rob Ford over a "conflict of interest" technicality a couple of weeks ago. I have a feeling that this might be controversial or get me into trouble so let me just start by saying that I'd love to see Rob Ford ousted. In fact, when I first heard the news, as I was working in a local coffeeshop, it improved my mood immeasurably. But, like a night on the town, eventually the hangover sets in and sobriety replaces the joy of intoxication. Of course Ford's terrible in pretty much every sense - he's a bigot, he's a neo-liberal service slashing bastard, a corrupt influence-peddler and he's incompetent. I could go on.
But the problem with Rob Ford being ousted for what is, really, a stupid technicality that doesn't begin to touch on his real crimes, is that he can portray himself as a victim. He could use that, horror of horror, to be re-elected. I mean, look at what they got him for - voting in a council meeting to reverse a fine of a few thousand dollars.
Now, he probably should have paid the fine. He has gone totally unpunished for his cavalier attitude to using his office for personal projects and for personal convenience - whether for his high school football team or getting landscaping done around the family business. But the vote of council was clearly and unequivocally in his favour, with or without Ford's vote. And nailing him for raising money - even on City Hall letterhead - for his football team is such small potatoes, with potentially politically damaging blowback, that it's a no-brainer to let it slide.
No, Rob Ford should be ousted by the people of Toronto - in an election or through mass mobilizations that force him to resign. And he should be exposed for the corrupt, dishonest, hypocritical and incompetent git that he is. Sadly, part of the problem has been a weak-kneed left on council - who only started to stand up to Ford when a right-wing liberal like Karen Stintz made a stand against Ford's hare-brained transit schemes (following him and brother Doug's hare-brained waterfront ferris wheel scheme). Prior to that they were cowed by bluster about Ford Nation.
Nor have most of the unions taken the opportunity to stand up to fight Ford. Garbage collection in the west end of the city was privatized without a peep by CUPE.
A stronger political opposition would easily expose Ford for what he is. A decision by a judge on a silly and petty side-issue won't. It will strengthen him. There, now I've said it: Support Rob Ford. With a better rope.