Toronto is an interesting city. Among other things, it’s the hub of Canadian moviemaking which explains why we’ve been here the past week. Paul is currently making a movie in Toronto with James Caan and Louis Gossett, Jr.
The city is also home to Rob Ford who was once known internationally as its embattled mayor. Paul and I met him this weekend through a business contact. He is truly a fascinating fellow and very nice.
Rob Ford’s story provided front page tabloid fodder not long ago. That’s the result of his admitted drug use, an unpleasant encounter with a fellow City Council member, and the Toronto City Council’s subsequent decision to strip him of all his power. Ford didn’t back down and remains on the City Council as a City Councillor.
As the drama unfolded during his tenure as mayor, I often spoke out in support of Ford on television. I felt the City Council’s decision was over the top and an abuse of power. At the very least, it was a serious overreach.
Despite his flaws, Ford was a great mayor. He made sure snow was removed in a timely manner and that the city ran in a fiscally sound manner. Still, despite his effectiveness in that job, the City Council made their harsh decision.
Rob Ford didn’t back down. Instead of resigning after the City Council pulled his powers, he stayed anyway and showed up everyone. In the end, it left his job as largely ceremonial, but who cares? He didn’t let them beat him. Afterwards, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and various other shows to talk about his time as mayor. Along the way he found himself fighting both drug addiction and the City Council. The biggest blow came later when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Meeting Rob Ford we found him polite and charming. He’s now drug and cancer free, and he’s planning to run again for office.
I find Rob Ford to be quite impressive. Who knows what will happen in his reelection bid, but I think you have to admire his tenacity and not letting his adversaries get him down. He appears more determined than ever. Talking to people in Toronto you find that Ford is loved, hated, or misunderstood. Everyone has an opinion about Rob Ford.
One thing is clear. His enemies can’t attack him for his job performance or his policies. They just attack him personally. Any negative issues they bring up always focus on his personal behavior resulting from his drug use. Now that he’s clean and sober, that appears to be a moot point.
What they’ll see now is a candidate more determined than ever. They’ll also find a loyal band of supporters . . . the Ford Nation . . . that is angry for what’s happened to him and willing to do whatever it takes to support him. The City Council made him a martyr, and he’s made himself a hero.
Visiting Canada, we were happy to meet this Toronto elected official. Even though I’m not Canadian, as a Rob Ford supporter, I’m looking forward to seeing the next chapter of the Rob Ford Story.
I’ll be pulling for Rob Ford and the Ford Nation!