Rob Ford, Mayor of all Torontonians
I'm glad I decided to join John Tory at City Hall today because I got a chance to witness a dramatic moment in the life of our city. We had already been told Mayor Rob Ford would not attend the raising of the rainbow flag in honour of International Day Against Homophobia. We even engaged in a few minutes of "what the heck is he thinking?" on Free For All Round One at 7:47 this morning. After all, it's common knowledge that the mayor has been at odds with every single member of his staff and even his brother on the matter of snubbing Pride.
John and I were chatting with some of about two hundred of the people who turned out for the flag raising at 12:30 when I glanced behind me and spotted none other than Rob Ford emerging through a second story door. I tapped John on the back and said "we're about to witness a bit of history". Ford pushed forward and you could hear a murmur spreading like a wave "He's here. Rob Ford is here". Soon, the crowd burst into applause and then cheers. Rob Ford had gone from zero to hero in thirty seconds.
Good on him. Rob Ford behaved like a mayor today. And just as many of us had predicted this time last year when he first revealed that he would boycott pride, there was nothing but good will for him when he made his presence felt. I've heard that Ford has been reticent to have anything official to do with the gay community because he's afraid of alienating his base. We'll if you're afraid of offending bigots then you've got some serious problems. Ford showed genuine leadership today, demonstrating to those who don't like gays and lesbians that they have no cover when it comes to the mayor of one of North America’s great cities. More importantly he showed solidarity with an often marginalized segment of the city's population some of whom may have even voted for him in the first place.