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For anyone watching the Rob Ford saga unfold, even for us, here, in a nation we love, it’s all become a little ridiculous. And not only the, “Ha-ha that was a hilarious skit Jimmy Kimmel did last night!” ridiculous, but the, “How is this happening in the country I live in?” kind of riciculous.
We nuts have ties to Toronto, big ones. Kaylee and Jess call it their home. Meghan is a die-hard Leafs fan. My soon-to-be niece will be a native Torontonian.
So, simply put, we have more than an allegiance to Canada’s largest city. Even as an Ottawan, I’ll pledge that Toronto is a beautiful city, contagiously bustling with excitement – and – it houses some of the people I love the most. So how can it be so bad?
Well, world, it’s not. It’s not bad at all.
If you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll bring you up to speed real quick. The Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was accused in May of being caught on video smoking crack cocaine. Again, CRACK cocaine. Allegations which he vehemently denied.
Council asked him to step down, he didn’t.
On Halloween, Toronto Police announced they were in possession of said video and just last week, Rob Ford actually admitted to smoking crack cocaine but with this iron-clad excuse that he was in “a drunken stupor”.
Oh ya, later that day, he also held a press conference to say he would stay on as mayor.
Over the last few days, other allegations have come forth: drunk driving, sexual harassment, prostitutes, etc. etc. etc.
And today, Mayor Ford said something on live television that was so heinous I won’t repeat it here on this blog. Google it. It’s awful.
Remember folks, that’s what’s been going on “in a nutshell”. There’s so much more to the story, accused gang affiliations among the rest of it.
But, he’s still the mayor. Why you ask, citizens of the world? Because in Canada it’s really, really hard to get a mayor to step down if he doesn’t want to. And Ford, clearly, doesn’t want to.
But, you probably knew all of that already. This post is not designed to keep you informed on the stories, breaking daily, about the latest jaw-dropping antics of Rob Ford. The rest of the Canadian and international media is doing a great job of that.
No, what I wanted to do today is just speak to anyone who’s not a Canadian citizen, has maybe never visited Toronto and is asking themselves ‘wtf’ is going on in the Great North. For those people, and for anyone else, hear me out when I say: we don’t know either, but it’s not a good reflection of a great country.
I know that Canada’s not the first country to have the spotlight shone on a politician under fire. There have been many, many before Ford who brought disgrace to their homeland, let’s not forget. Even I wrote a piece on what I believed to be a laughable disgrace as the United States Republican candidates jockeyed for a spot back in 2011.
So while the Rob Ford scandal will, eventually, go away – with headlines being replaced by the next political mis-step by God knows who, for God knows what – let’s, for now, dear readers, try to remember that almost 80 per cent of Torontonians don’t want to see him in office anymore.
That, this year, The Economist magazine ranked Toronto the 4th most liveable city in the world.
That Canada was named the 6th happiest country on the planet by the United Nations, in 2013.
That the UN also tossed us the title as the 5th best country to grow old.
And, as shocking as it may seem as of late, that, in 2013, Canada was named, for the THIRD year in a row, the country with the BEST overall reputation in the world via the Reputation Institute’s annual Country RepTrak™ report.
So, just like every great person makes mistakes, has regrets and periods of time they look back on with less than fond memories – I think I speak for most when I say: Rob Ford is ours.
Not just for Toronto, but for all Canadians hoping to hold our rank as a reputable place.
And, to be honest, there are far worse things that could garner a country negative media attention. At the end of the day, we are still very, very lucky that a story like Rob Ford’s is one of our biggest national disgraces.
So, if there’s anything these five fiercely patriotic females want you to know, it’s that we live in a truly beautiful country, one that makes us thankful to be in each and every day.
And, crack-cocaine smoking mayors aside, I couldn’t be prouder to live anywhere else.
(Top photo credit Jess Huddleston)