As everyone in the know now knows, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The outcome remains far from certain. However, his run for re-election to the Mayor’s office is over. So… Should we stop making fun of him, strike up the mournful theme music and say that he was not such as bad guy after all?
“Not on your life!” says Ottawa Mayoralty Candidate Darrell Duck. “Laying off Ford politically just because he’s got a dread disease would be the stereotypically Canadian thing to do. But Christie Blatchford got it right in her column a couple of weeks back: It’s essential to separate the issue and implications of his unfortunate illness from the facts of his outrageous conduct and political china-shop-bullishness!
“Okay. We all expect our politicians to put their careers and their wallets first, from time to time, and to lie and cheat and misappropriate and so on, a little, now and then, in pursuit of their personal goals. We just look the other way and say, ‘Well, it could be worse…’ That’s another Canadian behavioural stereotype. Sometimes, however, it gets out of hand and folks just can’t look the other way any more. Take Montréal, for example. But, most of the time, the traditional Canadian Municipal Political System purrs along just fine.”
“It’s just that Ford’s antics crossed the line from simply jumping up and down in his own living room threatening to kill people to frolicking frantically to the tune of his own racist rant in an Etobicoke ethnic eatery. In the middle of the night. As the Brits say, that’s just not on! I believe that a responsible politician must draw a hard line between his or her private and public personae. What happens in my living room stays in my living room. What happens in public usually isn’t embarrassing, immoral or illegal.”
Duck maintains there are hard and fast rules any public figure should follow if he or she wants to maintain that all-important veneer of respectability in the eyes of his or her followers:
- Never party with drug dealers. Even if they are some of your closest friends. You know they all have cell phones with cameras in them! And you never can tell what they might do after three or four heavy hits…
- Wait until you get home from personal or public engagements before dipping into the sauce. After a long day, one shot leads to another. And another. And, maybe, seven or eight. The papers don’t put their morning editions to bed until about 8:30 p.m. and you want to be coherent if some night desk reporter calls on deadline looking for a comment.
- Never do anything personal, like practicing naturism or teasing the dog in front of un-draped windows. Certainly not in your back yard. Even in the middle of the night. The neighbours are watching! And so is the paparazzo who’s just signed a long-term lease on the tree house across your back fence.
- Finally, as Bill Clinton can attest, steer clear of women half your age who prefer the colour blue and profess a penetrating interest in fine cigars. No good can come of this.