Wednesday, May 7 Commentary
Welcome back to the bizarro world of Rob Ford.
Our infamous mayor supposedly went into rehab last Thursday for in-house treatment. I don't know if its from watching too much reality TV such as Doctor Drew's rehab program in California but I was of the impression that when you first go in you are cutoff from the outside world for a time. No calls in, no calls out and no cellphone.
So it came up strange yesterday when Doug Ford was on the phone with Rob Ford behind the city council chamber. Doug then handed the phone to Denzil Minnan Wong and he had a chat with the mayor who told them he was in rehab.
NewsTalk 1010 host and Sun columnist Joe Warmington was on Moore in the Morning explaining that he figured, why not give it a shot.
So he called Rob Ford's cellphone yesterday and Ford picked up.
During the call Ford says to Warmington "rehab is amazing." It's only been what, 6 days in, and the Mayor says rehab feels like football camp, like the Washington Redskins camp he attended as a kid.
I know of people who come out of rehab and feel much better and glad they did the program but its hard to imagine coming off an addiction so soon thinking "rehab is amazing."
I must say the tone set by Warmington's column says to me that Rob Ford is in rehab and he is getting treatment. I don't think the media or the public has any right to know where he is specifically and it could be a long time before we can accurately assess whether this particular program, for this man, did any good at all.
During election campaigns, image is crucial. It's why politicians and their handlers are so careful about where their candidates go and who they are photographed with.
It seems to me that someone on the Tim Hudak team is failing.
The PC leader has long vowed that if he becomes Premier he would scrap "corporate welfare", the system of government grants to corporations to hire people or to keep the companies in Ontario.
On the first day of the campaign, Hudak did a photo-op at MetalWorks recording studio in Mississauga. As the Tory leader pitched his million jobs message and his opposition to corporate bailouts, the founder of the recording studio was talking about how provincial government fundign for the music industry was vital. Ok. Day one. Fail. Fine.
Yesterday Hudak was off to Automatic Coating in Scarborough talking about his million jobs. Automatic Coating also has received government grants.
How difficult is it for the campaign team to find places where the leader doesn't come off like a stumbler and bumbler?
Hudak has a photo op in Brantford this afternoon at Mott Manufacturing. I did a quick Google and found that Mott has received some federal grant money. I was not able to determine if it has provincial grant money but it wouldn't surprise me.
In the total scheme of an election campaign this is not really a big deal but it sets the tone, establishes the patina for the campaign and raises doubts about the so-called "laser focus" Hudak claims to have.
As for Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, she publicly bleated the name Dalton McGuinty yesterday at the huge hole of the Eglinton Crosstown construction. She was regaling she was McGuinty's transportation minister and got this project going. It's bad enough publicly reminding voters of her ties to Dalton McGuinty but to add insult to injury she called the traffic chaos at Eglinton and Allen, the chaos caused by the Crosstown construction", she called it a "beautiful disruption." There is nothing beautiful about uprooting an entire neighbourhood. Nothing attractive about costing local businesses untold revenue losses.
And NDP leader Andrea Horwath, she is on a road to nowhere with this claim that Kathleen Wynne plans to privatize the TTC. There is no evidence of that anywhere. Yes, the Liberals are into private, public partnerships, 3-P deals, but those deals involve government which by their very nature means not private.
The election is June 12th and the handlers for all three leaders better smarten up. The leaders themselves should smarten up.