With the passing of councillor and former-Mayor Rob Ford last week many Torontonians have taken the opportunity to look back on his life and assess it’s very many aspects.
In Ford Nation and in many homes across the GTA, Ford was loved as a non-politician, dedicated to his constituents, direct and honest, a champion of the common citizen fighting their cause against bureaucracy and special interests. They saw a great man who cared about his family, coached at his old school and loved the City.
In some sectors, Rob Ford was truly hated. They saw selfish, narcissistic rich kid fighting to retain the privilege for himself and people like him. To them he was a bully who dominated with language and power, an ignoramus who obstructed city government for petty motives and a sad, reckless addict bringing Toronto into mocking and disrepute.
Each side sees the other’s opinions as a conspiracy. Now, in the days after his death, the race is on to sanctify or to vilify. Where will Rob Ford’s place in history lie?
1. What is your opinion of Rob Ford? Challenge yourself to take up an opinion counter to your current one by thinking where went wrong or, conversely, where he excelled.
2. In two elections Rob Ford and Doug Ford got over 713,000 votes. What factors were Ford voters responding to? How did the conservative Fords get so many votes in traditionally liberal Toronto?
3. Was Rob Ford, on balance, a “good person”? Did he have positive ethics? Good Morals? Strong character? Wisdom? Good Judgement? Caring? Empathy?
4. Did Ford exhibit the characteristics of “a good mayor”?
5. The Ford Effect: Total number of Voters in 2010 and 2014 jumped up 114K and 166K respectively, election over election, increases far ahead of mere population growth. Can we all credit the Fords for this stimulating effect on Toronto’s democracy?
6. On a related issue, tradition holds that we don’t “speak ill of the dead”. How do you think and feel about the regard and abeyance of this tradition in the case of Rob Ford?