How will the Rob Ford scandal end? Could ‘Slurpy Ford’ be our saviour?
Despite being embroiled in a controversy that continues to swirl and grow and swell and expand, there is a solid chance Toronto remains the terrain of embattled Mayor Rob Ford for a long time to come.
Save from an unlikely edict coming down from the province or a Trading Places-esque scenario in which Ford is swapped out for a doppelganger named Slurpy, it seems the man at the heart of an alleged crack video scandal could finish out his term.
As his office staff flees and daily allegations of impropriety rain down, the populist mayor continues to ignore what seemed could be a career-ending controversy.
"I'm not stepping aside," Ford told reporters on Thursday, after two more staffers tendered resignations. "I'm running in the next election. Things are doing great and we're doing fine."
[ Related: 'Not stepping aside,' Rob Ford says, as scandal rages ]
Ford's career has survived laughable headlines dating back to well before he became mayor. He has been caught lying, photographed in every professionally-suicidal way imaginable and even mandated out of office briefly, but Don Cherry's Teflon friend continues to stand.
A recent Forum Research poll taken during the most damaging controversy to hit Ford yet suggests his popularity remains unchanged (although the poll says he'd still lose the next election if went against NPD MP Olivia Chow).
Polling president Lorne Bozinoff told the Toronto Star that his troubles have not affected his support base, known as Ford Nation.
“Rob Ford is really both the Teflon and Kevlar Mayor – nothing sticks to him and nothing penetrates his armour,” he said in an interview.
Interestingly, while Ford remains untouched by all of this, his allies are not protected by the same impenetrable shield. A separate poll done by Forum found that Ford's exploits have hurt the Ontario Progressive Conservatives while helping the governing Ontario Liberals.
Which is likely why the Ontario PCs came out yesterday and clarified that they are not currently supporting brother/councillor Doug Ford as a provincial candidate in the next election.
“I don’t even know the guy. Personally, I’ve never even met him,” PC House Leader Jim Wilson told reporters.
And since we are talking about Queen's Park, let's address what appears to be the only way Ford will be removed from office before the next election. The provincial government has rarely, if ever, used powers to intervene in a municipal government.
[ More Brew: Two more resign from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s office ]
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she would rather not, but would step in if necessary. "The mayor needs to deal with his personal issues," she said. "The lack of having dealt with them is creating a lot of that confusion."
It has already been determined that while city council has call for an inquest, it has no authority to remove Ford from office. As long as he keeps showing up for work, government will have to work with or without him.
This brings us to our final potential solution. The National Post has an interesting story today in which a reporter speaks to a resident of a Dixon Road apartment complex – where video of the mayor smoking from a crack pipe is said to have been held.
The man told the Post he has seen the video, but that the community was upset with those trying to sell it because they support the mayor. He said he briefly considered making a fake video in an attempt to discredit the real one.
His friend "Slurpy" is apparently a dead ringer for Ford and would have played him in the video.
There is a solution there, and those who are fans of Eddie Murphy movies are likely one step ahead. Why don't we find this Slurpy and, in the dead of night, switch him for the real Ford. Let Slurpy (under the guise of being Ford) run the city and let Ford run off and do... whatever. Coach football?
Anyone has seen the 1980's classic Trading Places knows this can have hilarious and heart-warming results. In that case, they didn’t even use a lookalike. But this is a well-known mayor we are talking about. Better safe than sorry.
Under Slurpy Ford, Ford Nation will have its champion, city hall will be absent its most self-destructive force and perhaps Rob Ford will even find some inner peace.
The only real question is: Will a guy named Slurpy, who has distant ties to gun-toting drug dealers and apparently no real name, deign to participate in municipal politics?