Now that Rob Ford has left rehab and says he is facing his demons, one thing he still refuses to face is questions about his behaviour, actions and his ability to govern. And he appears to be doing so by demonizing those who ask them.
After refusing to answer any questions upon his return to city hall on Monday, Ford continued to ignore questions on Canada Day when confronted by an East York resident who demanded Ford address his past.
Ford made headlines on Tuesday after facing jeers, and some cheers, after hitching himself onto the caboose of a Canada Day parade. It was during this appearance that Joe Killoran jogged past and confronted the mayor.
"Answer one of the million questions people have for you," Killoran said according to CBC News. "People have a million questions about your lying and your corruption."
Killoran, a teacher, has since been cast as a hero and a villain in equal measure, as some residents rally behind the man on the street while Ford supporters cast him as an agent in the grand conspiracy against Ford.
In a video of the confrontation with Ford, someone in the mayor's entourage can be heard asking Killoran who he worked for, alleging he was a plant from a rival campaign. Killoran can also be seen reacting to the mayor's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, who appeared to accuse Killoran of having anger management issues.
The campaign didn't stop there. On Twitter, some began pointing to a Toronto Star opinion article on education, apparently written by Killoran last year, as evidence he was somehow linked to the newspaper that Ford has previously accused of mounting a personal vendetta against him.
The Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington further noted that he spoke to a student of Killoran's who said the teacher had previously made anti-Ford comments while teaching a politics class.
At the heart of the accusations is the belief that it is impossible that a civically-engaged resident can demand answers from a mayor who has held Toronto under his thumb with years of offensive behaviour, police investigations and allegations of corruption without having ulterior motives. Killoran must be a political agent of some sort.
In a fulsome interview with the National Post, Killoran stated, "You don’t have to be some partisan maniac to be angry with this mayor."
Despite these attacks, Killoran was also celebrated as a man of the people – and congratulated for standing up for his city. Some even mounted a “Joe for Mayor” campaign, claiming the articulate teacher may be the best person for the job.
We can all have our Joe Killoran moment...casting our ballots on October 27th and speaking up until then. #TOpoli
— Monika Moravan (@MonikaMoravan25) July 2, 2014
hey toronto conservative media: attempts to smear Joe Killoran will backfire on you spectacularly. Hatred of the mayor is a movement not man — Karen Geier (@karengeier) July 2, 2014
I sort of get it, in delusional right wing Ford land, Killoran writing an anti-poverty/education op-ed makes him the enemy. #topoli
— Daniel (@DanFmTo) July 2, 2014
Killoran did a great thing! Many others have spoken the truth too. Let's not pretend he is the first person to protest Ford. — yours_truly (@DufferinRider) July 2, 2014
Despite his aversion to answering questions, Ford is scheduled to speak with select members of the press on Wednesday. In the meantime, however, he continued to duck questions.
Ford was back at city hall on Wednesday to attend an executive committee meeting. Not only did he reportedly avoid answering questions, but several extra security guards had been positioned to help ensure the media could not approach him.
City spokesperson Wynna Brown told the Sun's Don Peat that she could not confirm how many taxpayer-funded guards were being used to keep the media away from Ford, but that the city did not consider the media a “safety concern”.
City Hall security's job is to protect council members, the public & the building. Not to prevent media from asking questions of the mayor.
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) July 2, 2014
One supposes it doesn't matter how much to Ford how much taxpayer money is spent making sure he doesn't have to answer questions. After all, he’s a changed man. Just don’t ask him to address his past moral failings, take stock of his shortcomings or make amends.
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