The "Rob Ford Experiment" is over
Rob Ford is evidence that anger can win an election. He is also evidence that anger alone cannot lead or grow a city.
Ford’s win-some/lose-some attitude to Justice Charles Hackland’s decision also shows that he sees municipal politics as a game. The ruling states that Ford was guilty, not that he “lost.” But in his two years on the job, this is how Ford has approached most issues: You're either on his team or you're on the wrong team. It’s hardly consistent with the need to compromise and build consensus for the good of taxpayers and the city.
On that note, Ford failed to view residents of this city as anything more than taxpayers. He failed to realize that Torontonians are also pedestrians, cyclists, community-centre users, house owners, condo owners, parents and children. He spent so much time and effort focusing on the bottom line that he never bothered to look at the value of what we’re paying for.
When elected, Ford and his supporters believed they had a mandate to end a “gravy train” and build subways. It’s as clear now as it was when the promises were made that the city's gravy supply is not as plentiful as some would have us believe. We also know that promises such as subways were not attainable without a valid plan of action to make them a reality.
Despite Rob Ford's failings, both personal and professional, he still has his supporters. To them, I ask: “Why?” Ford is being removed from office because he broke the law. He has also failed to acknowledge his responsibility for doing so.
Both he and his supporters have cited “politics” as the reason for losing this “battle.” While politics may be behind the case, it has nothing to do with the ruling. This is a mayor and a group of supporters who want to win at any cost. Yet they still can't wrap their heads around the fact that you can't win at any game if you haven't read the rule book. Now, this approach of not learning the rules, not understanding the rules or just breaking the rules when it suits has failed.
This is a good day for the city. Not because Rob Ford is gone, but because his demise was inevitable. This ruling just hastens Toronto’s return to evolution and growth.
When asked about his victory two years ago, I predicted Ford wouldn’t last the entire term. I was thinking of a resignation due to something more along the lines of health issues or frustration over council. But in the end, it was Ford's own hand plunging the dagger into his back.
In the ruling, Justice Hackland described a stubborn sense of entitlement, and a dismissive and confrontational attitude. That will also go down in the books as Rob Ford's MO during his tenure as mayor of Toronto.