Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
Rob Ford has said some remarkably stupid things during his tenure as a City Councillor. We could harp upon the stupid things he said when he got drunk at a hockey game, or we could focus on the stupid things he has said in the heat of debate at Council. But then, we can all say things we regret while drunk or in the heat of the moment. These errors in judgment are unfortunate, but not unfathomable.
What is unfathomable is that of all the stupid statements Rob Ford makes, the stupidest occur not when he’s drunk or even in the heat of battle, but only after what we can assume is long, sober reflection.
Here’s his position on why we shouldn’t fund an AIDS prevention program: “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you won’t get AIDS probably. That’s bottom line.” Of course, when it was pointed out that heterosexual women are the fastest-growing group of AIDS patients, Ford postulated “How are women getting it? Maybe they are sleeping with bisexual men.”
Then there was this gem from March of 2007, on the issue of bicycle lanes and cyclists who are killed trying to get to work in a green way: “I can’t support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day.”
This year, while other councillors were working to find real ways to raise revenue or cut expenses in the midst of a budget crisis, Ford chose instead to grandstand over petty expenditures upon which he thought he could score political points. One of his suggestions was to cut a $59,000 program that helps keep alcoholic men at Seaton House from chugging mouthwash or antifreeze by providing them with a limited amount of wine. Perhaps to replace this program, Ford could dispense advice on how to deal with alcoholism over a few brews at a Leafs game.
The sad thing is that Council could actually benefit from having more representatives from a conservative mindset. Councillors should indeed lead by example in a time of fiscal crisis and give up more of their perks. The problem with Rob Ford leading this movement is that he is such an idiot so much of the time, it’s easy to ignore him when he happens to be right about something. Toronto deserves better conservatives than Rob Ford.
Illustration by Marc Lostracco.