When Jean Chretien was Prime Minister of Canada he famously told his advisors that if he ever became a liability in his party’s fight again Quebec independence, he should be told and he would step down as leader of the party and Prime Minister. It takes a person of real integrity to put the interests of the country above their own personal ambition and politicians like this are all too rare a breed these days.
No matter your political perspective, Rob Ford has, without question, become a major impediment to the proper governing of Toronto, the city for which he is Mayor. The allegations against him – that he has bought and smoked crack and other drugs, that he has a nasty drug and alcohol habit, that his staff possible have been linked to extortion – while not proven, have certainly been substantiated. The most recent ‘blunders’ – that his staffer may be being charged with extortion in order to suppress a video showing Ford smoking crack and a radio talk show host claiming that Ford himself called into his radio show under a false name and tried to defend his own reputation – is the stuff of 80’s soap operas.
Ford’s defenders are saying (i) nothing is proven; which is not altogether true and (ii) these allegation are unconnected from his ability to be mayor; a recent poll showed that if an election were called tomorrow, he would be elected.
His defenders are wrong. Ford’s inability to clear himself of these very serious allegations, while not definitive proof he is guilty, have made governing Toronto impossible. Politics in Toronto have become the Rob Ford Gong Show. An already divided city council is shattered and Ford’s ability to lead is non-existent.
Ford was elected, and is admired by many in Toronto, because he is a politician with integrity. If this is true, he will resign, if for no other reason, than because his very presence is impairing Toronto’s ability to be governed. Jean Chretien would have.