Rob Ford: Politician or Parody?

Rob Ford

Rob Ford’s antics have often called into question his fitness for the office he holds as mayor of Toronto, Canada. His latest actions have potentially sealed his political fate as new video footage has once again surfaced showing the politician with a crack pipe and ranting obscenities. After months of criticism, the Toronto mayor has now stated he will take a hiatus from the job and his election campaign to seek help for substance abuse. Moreover, the Canadian’s continued erratic behavior begs the question–is he a politician or a parody?

The embattled politician admitted last year to smoking crack cocaine. His admission came after months of denials and after police confirmed they had obtained a video that appeared to show him taking the illegal drug. The admitted crack smoker and heavy drinker has faced many months of criticism and repeated calls for him to resign or go to drug rehab. He finally capitulated Wednesday after a video, which was shot on Saturday morning at his sister’s home, shows him reportedly smoking illicit drugs yet again. Additionally, an audio clip was released, which supposedly depicts Ford during a bender and making offensive remarks about other politicians, as well as his wife at a bar recorded on Monday night. It is being reported that the drug dealer responsible for the video footage is attempting to sell the material for a large sum of money.

Rob Ford, the Toronto mayor who could be a politician or a parody, has now stated he will take a leave of absence from his election campaign and job to seek help for substance abuse. The Saturday morning video, which would be the second showing Ford smoking crack cocaine, was allegedly filmed in the basement of the mayor’s sister, Kathy, who is an admitted drug addict, and shows Ford, his sister, as well as a man identified as the mayor’s former driver in the room at the time of the indiscretion.

Although Ford has managed to hang on to the mayor’s job, Toronto’s city council had stripped him of most powers last year and he currently serves in the capacity of a figurehead only. So, in effect, he has managed to maintain his title but not much else. Ford has resisted pressure to quit and contends voters will decide whether to keep him in office in the October election. The Toronto mayor faces a tough re-election and serious challenges from other candidates including center-right candidate and broadcaster John Tory, who is also a former member of the provincial parliament, as well as former New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Olivia Chow. Additionally, Tory has released a “Code of Conduct” in which he vows to “respect and defend our laws, not break them” and “show up for work each day” in a clear rebuke to Ford’s recent behavior. Moreover, Tory has called on the mayor to resign “for the good of the city.”

Rob Ford, the Toronto mayor who could be a politician or a parody, contends one of the reasons he has delayed taking action regarding his substance abuse issues is due to the fact he was being urged to not leave the mayoral race by his advisers. Ford kicked off his re-election bid two weeks ago and thanked the crowd for sticking with him through the ups and downs of his first four-year term. Whether or not the Toronto mayor’s decision to take a hiatus from his job and suspend his election campaign to seek help for substance abuse will benefit him politically remains unclear. Whether or not Ford will win re-election and is revealed to be a politician or parody also remains in question. However, an answer is imminent as Toronto residents will vote for their mayor on October 27.

Opinion by Leigh Haugh

New York Daily News

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