The Toronto Region Board of Trade uninvites Rob Ford to dinner; he shows up anyway

The Toronto Region Board of Trade uninvites Rob Ford to dinner; he shows up anyway

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The Toronto Region Board of Trade, which represents the interests of Toronto’s business community, usually tries to stay above the fray when it comes to city politics, but Rob Ford has been making it difficult for the organization to stick to that policy. Ford-Board relations hit an all-time low on Monday night when the mayor showed up to an annual business dinner uninvited.

The Star reports that Ford showed up at the dinner unexpectedly and was given a seat near the back of the room, even though he wasn’t on the invite list. He stayed long enough to hear Board of Trade president Carol Wilding give a speech about Toronto’s “distractions” and “negative international attention,” among other veiled references to the mayoral crack scandal. He left before the food was served.

Ford certainly believed that he had been invited to the event, and took to his official Twitter account to post a picture of a written invitation, signed by Wilding herself. The Board of Trade’s side of the story is that the invitation was sent out by mistake, and that Ford’s office was informed by phone that he wasn’t invited to the event. Deputy mayor Norm Kelly was invited in his place. This is what is known, in politics, as a “burn.”

This passive aggression is a major step for the Toronto Region Board of Trade, which has seemed to struggle with the Ford question ever since November, when it joined in the call for the mayor to take a leave of absence until his crack scandal had been resolved. The organization came close to rebuking Ford at a media event earlier this month, but has yet to call explicitly for his electoral defeat.