In our world bullies generally skate by as most people are afraid to take them on. This coupled with the reality that effective mechanisms do not exist to hold bullies accountable for their behavior. Without any real consequences, bullies begin to think they are invincible and that the rules are not made for them. Today all that has changed in the City of Toronto. A court has ruled that Rob Ford must vacate his position of Mayor as he has violated conflict of interest rules. I am sure for most thinking Torontonians this must come as a huge relief.
Toronto has had some interesting mayors over the years. But none of them have created so much controversy and derision than Rob Ford. Even Mel Lastman, who tried to call out the army when Toronto had a bad snowstorm, was not as universally hated. In fact, Rob Ford makes Mel Lastman look like a scholar and a statesman in comparison.
What is even more disturbing about Rob Ford is the fact that he works with children as a coach of a football team. I can only imagine the things these young people have learned from him. Part of Ford’s defense was that he never read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Whether he read it or not is immaterial, as we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse. Ford believes the rules do not apply to him regardless of what they are and who makes them. To him all of this comes down to a battle against right and left and the left is persecuting him.
Judge Hackland saw it differently. In his ruling he stated: “it is difficult to accept an error in judgment defence based essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude to the integrity commissioner and the [council] code of conduct.” In short, Ford bullied his way to this decision. Instead of heeding professional advice that he needed to do things correctly he believed he was above it all.
Of course, being the bully he is, he will not go away. He has vowed to fight this ruling and run again if he is actually made to step down. People like Ford never learn from their mistakes because they believe themselves to be above it all. And if they don’t get their own way they stamp their feet, yell and scream and bully those who are disagreeing with them. I think Rob Ford needs a big time out.