Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scandal spreads globally, condemned locally

Matthew Coutts
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scandal spreads globally, condemned locally

The New York Post reported on it, so did Time Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter. The BBC covered the latest controversy in Toronto, and you know Gawker wasn’t going to ignore this most recent chapter in the slow, uncomfortable fall of Mayor Rob Ford.

That's right, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is again making headlines across the globe. And not for his fiscally-conservative approach to city management or his fact-finding missions to Chicago or Austin, Tex., but for his troubling personal life and his connection to an underground world of drug dealers and gun-running thugs.

Toronto police confirmed on Thursday the existence of a video previously reported to show Ford smoking what appears to be drugs in the company of unsavory characters. On top of that, hundreds of pages of police documents from an investigation that left his friend Sandro Lisi charged with drug trafficking tied back to Ford again and again. And again.

A few headlines from around the globe:

As the latest blow to Ford's credibility spreads across the world, the mayor maintained he had no reason to resign his position. The city's four mayor newspapers, however, are unanimous. It is time for Ford to go. Even those supportive of Ford's style of government, and previously supportive of Ford personally, called for him to step down.

Here is a quick take on what city columnists and newspaper editorial boards had to say on Thursday.

Toronto has had enough. Rob Ford must resign, by the Globe and Mail's Marcus Gee:

That video he said does not exist? It exists, its reality confirmed by no less than the chief of police. This was not the invention of media “maggots,” in the mayor’s words. A video allegedly showing the mayor of Canada’s largest city smoking crack cocaine is in the possession of the authorities.

If that were not enough, the police have compiled a staggering trove of information showing the mayor consorting with a cast of shady characters that includes Alessandro Lisi, a man who stands accused of drug offences and, now, extortion. Whether the mayor himself ends up facing criminal charges, the information in this document places a stain on his office that cannot be removed except by his speedy departure.

Mayor Rob Ford has nowhere left to hide, by the Toronto Star editorial board:

All Ford’s efforts to mislead the public — all his self-serving denials and desperate accusations of a media witch-hunt — stand revealed as the unprincipled actions of someone who does not deserve to hold public office. ...

Under these circumstances, having Ford at the helm badly undermines Toronto’s reputation. If Ford possesses even a scintilla of respect and concern for the city he is supposed to lead, he will step down as mayor.

Mayor Rob Ford is finished, via the Star's Royson James:

Too many city councillors looked the other way when it was clear the mayor had some kind of substance abuse problem.

Too many council colleagues joined forces with the mayor when they knew the proper thing to do was to shun him and insist he get help before sitting in his camp. They did so because of the intoxicating effects of power. They wanted to be players.

Too many citizens, hoping to save a few tax dollars, were willing to forgive the mayor of any and all indiscretions. They didn’t want to hear about the train wreck of his personal life. They were willing to sell out the city for a few dollars of perceived city hall “gravy.”

Ford Must Step Down, by the Toronto Sun editorial board:

Torontonians have a right to expect a higher standard of conduct from their mayor than that he is not charged with any crimes.

They have a right to expect him to be honest with them.

And unless Ford has some convincing and credible explanation for what Blair told reporters, he has not been honest with us.

Scandal will be Rob Ford's legacy, by the Sun's Adrienne Batra:

[T]he mayor has misled not only those who are closest to him and have worked endless hours, he has misled the residents of Toronto.

To be clear, the mayor has not been charged with or convicted of anything at this point. That said, this is what he will be remembered for. This will be his legacy. And that is much of the tragedy in all of this, because as far as some policies go, he made positive change.

For that reason, and for the good of Toronto, Ford needs to step down, both to address the whirlwind of questions now surrounding his credibility and to get his own life in order.

For the good of Toronto, Rob Ford must step aside, by the National Post editorial board:

Mayor Rob Ford has not, as his supporters had hoped, kept his personal life free of embarrassing incidents. Though we believe a public official has a right to a private life, even a complicated or troubled one, serious questions suggesting Mr. Ford’s possible involvement in criminal behaviour can no longer be dismissed on this basis. Pending a resolution to this latest crisis in Mr. Ford’s private affairs, he should step aside from his duties as mayor of Canada’s largest city.