Tuesday, December 3, 2013

High Times at City Hall

Toronto's mayor smokes crack. Kind of reads like fiction, right?
I live on the west coast, but Toronto is my hometown, so I couldn't help but be drawn into following the roller coaster saga that has been Rob Ford's mayoral career.
The left wing press has been hating on Ford since before he was elected. And fair enough: he's right wing. He's also easy to demonize because he makes outrageous statements and alienates people he doesn't like.
But I liked Ford's policy.
When we lived in Toronto, my husband owned a bar. At the time, we had a left wing mayor, a left and corrupt premier of the province, and a leftish prime minister of Canada. During the same period, Toronto was rated the worst city in North America in which to own a business because of the high taxes and overregulation from all levels of government.
So even though we were already in Vancouver when Ford was elected, I was happy for Toronto when he won. He ran on a platform he adhered to (strange, right?), and from what I could see (and hear from my friends and family back home) he tightened Toronto's way-too-loose budget and saved taxpayers money.
Good stuff.
Then he was caught smoking crack.
Like anyone else, I look for the benefit of the doubt when it comes to someone I like. So Toronto's liberal downtown core pounced on Ford and wanted him out. I ignored their protests because they already hated Ford.
I saw him as a modern day Winston Churchill, someone who drank too much and spoke his mind too freely to be accepted by the politically correct set. But since I'm not a member of that set, I continued to like him as mayor.
And then I started writing Rob Ford fan fiction, free on Wattpad. [Click here to go there.]
I wanted to explore who he could be if the entire benefit of the doubt swings his way. I know that's unlikely. The more research I do into him reveals darker layers and less doubt to place him on the good side of.
But that's fine. It's fiction. It's fun. And I enjoyed the hell out of watching The Sopranos even though Tony's a cold-blooded killer.
My friend John McFetridge has a different take on Ford. His is kind of Sopranos-meets-The Wire, and his writing kicks ass. [Click here to read HIS Ford fanfic.]

Kind of fun when our polite, boring city gets international attention. Even if it's for all the wrong reasons.


Barry Knister said...

As you say, it's hard to acknowledge a mistake, especially when it relates to someone you like. Trey Radel is a first-year, right-wing Congressman from what used to be my district in Florida. Like the liberals you speak of, as such I detested this guy. But he was elected and went off to Washington--where he just got himself busted for buying cocaine. What's fascinating is to read the letters to the editor of the local paper--the creativity his supporters are bringing to bear to defend their man is a real hoot. It isn't because they love Trey Radel; it's because having been wrong about him--and admitting it--is just unthinkable.

Susan C Shea said...

Robin, It must be enjoyable in a masochistic fashion to watch the Toronto craziness. Frankly, liberals who crow today could be cowering tomorrow, so I try to remember that all politicians are vulnerable to bouts of weird and self-immolating behavior! Good post.

Meredith Cole said...

I lived in DC when the first crack smoking mayor (Mayor-for-life Marion Barry) was caught. It was rather surreal to see him make a comeback. I'm sure the fun times aren't over in Toronto, either!